When I started working and building my career in real estate, hell, even when I was in college, there was always this talk about women pushing their careers and fighting for equality in the workplace. There were women’s groups and women’s networking events to help us get our foot in the door. They would talk about women’s empowerment topics and how women would be grow in leadership
I envisioned myself being seen as a capable, smart and reliable professional. I would be able to prove myself and be respected in the field of my choice.
Now, nearly 10 years later, it’s time to talk about the reality.
Statistics about women at work
- More women are graduating college than ever. Now more women than men.
- 47% of the US workforce are women.
- Women are not well represented at the executive level of business.
On one hand, I think women dominate in roles that fit the qualities of a “stereotypical woman,” such as caretaker, support staff, beauty and talent positions. This is why women are seen in roles such as: secretary, teachers, beauty bloggers, nurses, paralegal, and fashion assistants in an overwhelmingly disproportionate amount to men.
But does that result in equality? When we are given a majority of supporting roles? We’re still not the decision makers or shot callers in a majority of industries.
But, what about jobs that are equally men/women or dominantly men?
From my own experience, we’re not faring so well. I work in real estate and it’s a mans world out here.
Yet, when I was told at my job that a man would take the position of manager, a position I was never even considered for, I was relieved. Let it not be a woman, I thought.
My previous manager was a woman and if you haven’t had a chance to read all the horrible things she did to me and put me through, you can do so through my post, I Survived A Toxic Manager.
I felt that way because, throughout my whole career in real estate, I’ve rarely had another women help me. I’ve also never felt like I was in a position to help other women, though I still tried. I don’t know why but there was always this underlying level of competition with other women. A type of, “If I’m not on top, then she’ll be” mentality. In this way, I’ve always been let down by women in leadership.
And that’s kind of how we differ from men. Men are capable of building camaraderie upon meeting each other. They help eachother out. They see other men in the workplace and see opportunity rather than competition.
My she-devil manager used to make all types of requests to Upper Management. “Let’s get an extra pair of keys,” “Let’s get an intern for summer season,” “Let’s get a shred-box so client information will be better protected.” Nope. Never happened under her. But as soon as my male manager made the same requests to our male directors, it was like “why didn’t we think of this sooner, done.” It was like night and day, how the two managers worked.
She would come up with detailed, fact based reports for her suggestions, Upper Management would usually critique the work or diminish it with other reports they had access to. My male manager slaps together a report with half the effort, no one says a word.
In some ways I understood why my previous manager was so horrible. She had to develop a really callous attitude in order to get as far as she did.
But how much farther would women get if we supported each-other? When she left I asked her to recommend me for one of the opening positions. She replied, “I’ve just never seen you in that type of role.” Not even a NO, just some type of passive comment to absolve her of why she couldn’t recommend me.
C’mon, as women we can do better.
Don’t believe me? The same story played out in public between two female Rappers. Rap and hip hop in general is a male dominated genre.
The brawl that recently happened between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B occurred over perceived slights from Nicki trying to keep Cardi out of opportunities. I know, I know, the whole story is absolutely ridiculous. But think about it…if women in leadership at the top of a male dominated industry are pushing each other down in public, what are women doing to each other in private, behind closed doors?
We really need to do better. All these women’s empowerment topics and discussion isn’t going to get us far if she can’t implement teamwork.
Men are generally automatically assumed to be capable. Women need to prove it.
When we hired our Intern, A, our receptionist, B, had just gotten her real estate license. All she needed was to be sponsored by a brokerage and she could start showing apartments.
I mentioned the possibility of our company sponsoring B to my Asst. Director, she brought it up to her male superiors, who passed on it. There just wasn’t a position available. (A position would eventually open up later, but it was quickly filled by another male “admin” who could show apartments).
In the meantime, our new male manager F was allowing our male intern A to tour his clients unlicensed.
I wish I could do more for B, it’s essentially just as much of a dead-end job for her as it is for me, but we need our receptionist. F could really care less if she grows professionally, he needs her in her current role.
It’s messed up because I’m not in a place to make a difference in her career, though I’d like to, and the person who is doesn’t care.
Another example would the most recent “outburst” by Serena Williams at the US Open. I watched the match where Serena Williams was yelling at the umpire. It’s crazy that the match ended over that and she lost for confronting what she thought was an unfair call. Men in tennis have admitted they have done worst in matches with no reprimand. Shit like that gets me. Like if Serena Williams, an all time great of tennis, can’t get equal treatment on the courts, how can any of us ordinary folk even stand a chance? Apparently bad behavior from male tennis players isn’t as serious as female tennis players.
There’s no doubt that women are still falling behind in treatment in the workplace. Here are some women’s empowerment topics and issues I wish we could change:
1. The fact that women are against each other in environments where we need to stick together and lift each other up. Women in leadership need to view other women as team members, not competition.
2. That women aren’t being treated as capable or assumed as capable as men.
3. Women are being penalized for infractions at work or in sports that men aren’t penalized for. (Ex, Joe can take 3 cigarettes breaks while Mary gets scolded if she’s more than 10 minutes late.)
We’d like to think that women have gone farther than this or even that $.90 for every $1.00 is worth more than it is. But it’s not. I encourage everyone reading to think about their own assumptions at the workplace. Enough people making preferences and assumptions about someone based on gender can create an environment of sexism at work. It’s never just one person. So my recommendation is start with change of mind and change of thought to keep sexist assumptions and behavior out of the workplace.
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