How To Stand Up To Workplace Sexism - My Strategy
Hello hello wonderful people.
It’s so lovely to see you here!
This post is all about standing up to workplace sexism, and I have shared my story in another blog post, which explains my journey with experiencing and standing up to the sexism I have faced at work.
Now, this post is about the strategy I have developed to stand up to sexism.
I am sorry I have to write this at all, I am sorry workplace sexism exists, and I applaud you for taking a stand.
Shall we define the problem? What is workplace sexism?
""Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women,
on the basis of sex, in the workplace.""
I believe that the initial aim of standing up to sexism should be to illuminate the situation for all those involved, and to educate them.
The focus and responsibility lies not with the person facing the sexism, but with those who are exhibiting the sexist behaviour.
So, when a sexist comment is made, 'joke' told, or similar situation presents itself:
take a breath
say "why do you think that's an acceptable comment?"
They will then have to reflect on their own comment, and what lies beneath.
In the best case scenario, they will not have realised the comment was sexist. They will then reconsider, workshop this with whoever is in the conversation, and learn.
Even if that isn't the outcome, in my experience it will give others in the conversation the space, time and courage to speak up and agree with you.
Remember, change might not be immediate. But, you have stood up to sexism. You have been brave - be proud of yourself.
And if that doesn't work?
Firstly, well done for standing up.
Now, find the best path for you and the situation.
The HR and Culture team in the organisation is often the best place to start.
Find someone you are comfortable talking to, and someone you have faith will take the correct action.
There are great organisations and resources out there to help too, including;
"Nevertheless She Persisted"
It takes so much courage to share, and to stand up.
But know this - you are helping to create a world of equality for your friends, colleagues, nieces, daughters and all women.
When channelling the courage to stand up to sexism, the wise words of the wonderful Sarah Fritz - Yes Queen Founder - bring me strength:
"You are never wrong, when you are doing the right thing."
Standing up to sexism is the right thing. We persist.
Why is persisting so important?
How did I feel? Amazed, thrilled, honoured, proud.
I forwarded the email with the award winners to my Mum, to share my win!
Her reply filled me with joy, and simultaneously broke my heart.
Why the joy?
"Fabulous so so proud! Always believe in yourself, and stand up for yourself"
My Mum is the best.
Why the heartbreak?
She also wrote;
"So sorry to see same old stuff I faced all my career still affecting you all these years later."
Over 30 years later.
We have to change this.
How ridiculous would it be if any future daughter I may be blessed with, faced the same workplace sexism her Grandmother did? Over 60 years later.
There will be challenges, so always remember this:
"Nevertheless She Persisted".
And she changed the world.
Thank you beautiful people for spending your time and energy with me here today.
I would love to know your thoughts – let’s connect & chat!
With love, Vari.