My feed

to access all these features


AIBU to be sick of privileged, older white men - join my tiny rant!

430 replies

windygallows · 04/11/2018 10:29

Yup I'm probably unreasonable but I just want to put out there how sick I am of working with privileged, older white men - 40 plus and often 'posh'.

They dominate the upper echelons of the organization I work in as well as all the organizations I liaise with. Some are very good but many aren't due their seniority nor are they that smart - but they are well spoken and confident so whatever they say comes across as read. Their smuggery is driven by their high self regard and knowledge that they are 'where they belong'.

And despite their seniority they are often mollycoddled and supported by (usually female) PAs and completely enabled by wives at home who have been supporting them for 20+ years to the point that they take all the support for granted. They are so enabled that all they have to do is go to work and everything else is sorted for them - it's kind of a carefree oblivion they hold and thus they are completely oblivious to the challenges that others (e.g. women) face in their day to day lives.

I see this male privilege everywhere and everyday. In my boss who is completely self absorbed and with a family set up that enables and supports the fact that he is Number one. In other work scenarios, like when I was interviewed last week by a panel of important men + one woman from HR brought in to balance out the panel. I see 'important white men' driving fast in their cars, beeping up behind me in the fast lane as they need to go to their important meeting. Male privilege is everywhere and am sick of it.

From age 50 (my age) the number of women in the workforce starts to drop significantly and I'm wondering if it's because they're just sick of working with the men I describe!

I can't be the only person to feel this way. Please join me in this tiny rant!

OP posts:
ZackPizzazz · 06/11/2018 10:52

One simple solution would be to force Eton etc to take in girls..

I don't think this would do a thing. There are already plenty of prestigious mixed-sex and girls' public schools (Cheltenham Ladies anyone?) and the elite universities have taken women for decades if not centuries. It's not that women don't meet influential people or get prestigious educations. Just being a woman is the handicap. As has been repeatedly proved in the studies showing how much more harshly women are judged and how many structural barriers there are.

InertPotato · 06/11/2018 10:54

Are you talking about a stay at home mum with under 5's? I do hope not. It's bloody hard work.

I'm not.

MsLexic · 06/11/2018 11:30

I agree with you about male privilege. But then, women must stop being enablers.
I am fed up with being told stupid things by older men that start with ' Did you know that....?'. Of course I ruddy do. I am middle aged and have led a very difficult life as well as being pretty well read and as someone who loves study.
I went out with a guy older than me and he kept doing that. It was infuriating. My partner is very nice and kind and would never do that.
Patronising .

MsLexic · 06/11/2018 11:31

Mind you some women are very patronising!

InertPotato · 06/11/2018 12:01

One simple solution would be to force Eton etc to take in girls..

As I understand it, that's never going to happen (I've heard admissions speak on the matter). Boys have just as much right to single-sex education as girls, do they not?

Kings and Westminster accept girls at sixth form, incidentally.

downthestrada · 06/11/2018 12:11

I’ve seen it over and over in my industry. Countless people (not only women, but experienced men too) who’ve done the relevant degrees and clawed their way up from entry level, only to get rejected for the top jobs in favour of some slick, privileged man with no knowledge of the industry who gets parachuted in from some kind of miscellaneous leadership role elsewhere. Then the experienced candidate who just got rejected for the promotion is normally expected to deputise for the new guy and help him learn the ropes while he gets paid 20k more than her (or him).

This is my experience too and I’ve seen it happen to both women and men who don’t quite look the part, or are not as privileged. I’ve seen differences in pay between the experienced candidate and the appearing from nowhere new guy being as much as 60k. Even though the new person has no experience, needs trained and continued support from the experienced person. But hey, they look the part and the CEO likes him.

I’ve seen situations where the experienced rejected candidate is pretty much told they now need to do their own job plus the new person’s job. It’s really bad!

RomanyRoots · 06/11/2018 13:00

It's not entirely surprising, given the number of smart women I know who are happy to support their husband's careers and stay at home. It's a pretty nice life, being a SAHM to a high earner.

Tbh it's pretty good being a sahm with a dh who has a low income.
Far better than making somebody else lots of money.
I help my dh and support him which means he can earn more if he wants to.

trudi33 · 06/11/2018 13:20

Still think worth getting girls into the male privileged areas Eton etc this is where all the wee clubs, old boy networks , lifetime
groupings start. Girls need to be around at the foundation phase of these cliques , either break them up or infiltrate and thus become inside the 'advantaged' group.

WitchyMcWitchface · 06/11/2018 13:28

The charities scandal certainly brought to light too many overpriveleged white men.
I don't give to charities that I know are chairedby this type.

MrsPeel · 06/11/2018 13:59

How can it be unreasonable to resent people not only promoted beyond their ability just on account of their gender and background. Unreasonable not to I would say.

TheSmallClangerWhistlesAgain · 06/11/2018 14:01

Someone further up-thread made the point about face to face interviews as a recruitment technique being a factor in this.

Plenty of people who are actually good at their jobs as well as being loyal and principled do not interview as well as Mr Mediocre. Both women and men with disabilities or MH issues or those on the ASD spectrum are disadvantaged by our obsession with first impressions.

A friend of mine is a journalist on a national magazine. They have started recruiting junior reporters and trainees virtually blind through a series of writing assignments, before even meeting them or asking for their full details. It has made their junior staff pool much more diverse but the progressive element is now figuring out how to translate that to a more diverse senior staff.

Holdingonbarely · 06/11/2018 14:19

That’s very interesting. There was a program ages ago about an orchestra employing blind, just listening to the music.
Again it led to a much more diverse or orchestra!

And some people are just really good at bullshitting, telling you what they think you want to hear. And if you’re already feeling comforted because they are the same colour and socio economic background then they stand a bigger chance

OlennasWimple · 06/11/2018 14:30

The civil service has introduced a form of blind recruitment, where hiring managers don't see names (good for both sex and race diversity); place of education (though that can sometimes be worked out, eg if the degree is PPE); or age (though again this can be obvious from work experience or education). There's still an interview stage, where the "face that fits" stuff can still come into play, but it will be interesting to see whether the process makes any difference

cucumbergin · 06/11/2018 14:36

As someone working in a male dominated industry (tech) - the focus is always on finding ways of throwing more young female bodies into the pipeline in the hope that magically things will fucking change. But surprise! They continue to actually get worse.

This is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

There are already women in the industry who have years of experience. Years of doing difficult, challenging work. Years of fucking proof.

Companies need to pull their heads out of their fucking arses and concentrate on:
Who have we already got who we are ignoring?
Who did we lose and how can we win them back and fasttrack them?

If they aren't doing that then they are basically saying "we don't give a shit, let us pay lip service by bringing in young inexperienced women, praising them while junior, then shafting them hard until they give up, and then repeating with the next batch."

Retaining and promoting women who are already there is the key, not shoving more girls through a broken system where they are set up to fail.

CasanovaFrankenstein · 06/11/2018 15:02

And don't get me started on the constant restructures which seem to involve ousting 50/60 something women out of admin jobs - because "they are dead wood," - without any understanding of value and years of knowledge they provide for relatively low pay. But they find money for expensive consultants.

This. And usually they bring in people from another industry to run things, then wonder why it’s all gone tits up.

ResistanceIsNecessary · 06/11/2018 15:35


I've been working in a sector for the last 20 years which is traditionally male-dominated.

Male/Female ratios are fairly evenly split and there is some diversity of ethnic background (location has something to do with it as the area is predominantly rural and white) until you get to the Directorate level, at which point it drops away to one-quarter women. At Executive level there are no women at all - all of them are male, white and middle-aged.

Attitudes towards women and POC are completely entrenched. Point this out and you'll likely be met by bluster and aggressive denials, but when you scratch the surface - such as why promotions are denied (PT and therefore 'not committed'), or who routinely gets the refreshments sorted and takes the minutes ('Oh you're so organised at that kind of thing') - then it's impossible to un-see how deep the problem goes.

I remember being in a meeting a few years ago, where I was one of a number of attendees but the only woman. I hadn't organised it and the chair had already arranged with his junior associate to take the minutes. A Director sat and argued with me because he'd been given an action and I'd declined to write it down and email it to him. No matter that there was already someone else minuting and the chair pointing out that his actions would be managed by the junior associate.
Possession of tits and a vagina meant that I was there to facilitate his work, regardless of the reason why I was actually at the table. I refused to back down and he was arsey with me every time I saw him after that. Fuck you. Take your own notes.

IWriteCode · 06/11/2018 16:03

"we don't give a shit, let us pay lip service by bringing in young inexperienced women, praising them while junior, then shafting them hard until they give up, and then repeating with the next batch."

Yup. Happened to me. Retrained, love my new job but still miss tech and have an aching, aching sense of shame and failure about it all.

thehorseandhisboy · 06/11/2018 16:26

"Retaining and promoting women who are already there is the key, not shoving more girls through a broken system where they are set up to fail."

Exactly this. And the absence of women in senior management sends a clear message out to young women as to where they'll be stopping along the career ladder.

MaybeDoctor · 06/11/2018 16:30

It happens even in female-dominated sectors.

I was previously a primary teacher and one September joined a new school. Ten years before, three NQTs had joined the school. All three were mature applicants and, judging by their ages, must have been 30+ when they joined the school. At the time I met them:

Teacher 1 - female - was teaching full time and had a middle-management position of responsibility, carrying a small uplift in pay. Had older school-age children and a partner who worked evening shifts.

Teacher 2 - female - had pre-school and young school-age children. Worked part-time and had no additional responsibility within the school.

Teacher 3 - male - had no children and a supportive spouse who also worked full-time. Teacher 3 was the headteacher.

Teacher 3 was a hugely hardworking individual and a brilliant HT, but it was quite interesting to see the relative differences in pay and status of three staff who began work in the same organisation, at the same time. Interestingly, Teacher 1 could probably have been a bit more senior but she was lacking in confidence and had a well-developed imposter syndrome.

Yes, it is individual choice. But what causes our choices?

cucumbergin · 06/11/2018 18:07

IWriteCode Sad I'm sorry the fuckers did that to you. Tech was actually my second choice - I burned out and quit my first when I thought "I can't spend the rest of my life with fuckers like this". So I empathise with that sense of loss. There should be no shame/failure but it's hard to shake it off.

I've managed to get lucky with finding a supportive environment, but then of course, you end up staying put instead of climbing the ladder with riskier-for-women job hopping.

blackteasplease · 06/11/2018 18:11

Of course yanbu.

lisasimpsonssaxophone · 06/11/2018 18:18

Me too IWriteCode, also in tech. I was trotted out for every recruitment event and photoshoot (along with the few non-white members of staff) but after a while I just couldn’t hack it any more.

lozster · 06/11/2018 18:27

Similar but different issue working for a global multinational. In developing countries staff are able to buy in significant help to keep house, look after kids, have the tea on. Not so in the UK for all but the very senior senior people.

blackteasplease · 06/11/2018 18:29

olennaswimple I agree that the civil service way of doing it is good, expect I can't for the life of me see why university is blanked out. Kids work hard to get into good unis.

(Disclaimer I work in the civil service and got in with my uni blanked out so not bitter!)

InertPotato · 06/11/2018 19:21

Similar but different issue working for a global multinational. In developing countries staff are able to buy in significant help to keep house, look after kids, have the tea on. Not so in the UK for all but the very senior senior people.

The 'help" is always women, so I'm not sure how this is a great win for women in general.

I think this is way more of a class issue than a gender one.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.