Sexism at work has occurred in workplaces since women began working and it’s about time it was stamped out completely.
The definition of sexism is the everyday discrimination against one sex within an institution. While there are more and more policies being brought in to combat this, there are small things that you and work colleagues can do to minimise the impact of sexism in your workplace.
We are usually so quick to criticise ourselves and that, accompanied with an already difficult workplace environment, can be a toxic place to thrive in.
However, combating workplace insecurities can improve work performance, as well as give you the confidence to trust your instincts and to speak up when you feel it appropriate.
Having the ability to hold your own in the office is an invaluable weapon in the fight against institutional sexism. Being able to stick to your guns and present a solid argument can help you work towards being seen as more of an equal in the office.
Back Each Other
Finding other women and men in the workplace who can help foster a supportive and inclusive environment, can bolster a culture that fosters the advancement and voice of women. Finding ways to ensure that your voice is heard, your opinions valued by having others recognise and seek out your contribution can go a long way to boosting your self confidence.
It’s not your fault
It’s too easy to take the issues that workplace sexism highlights and assume that they apply to you as an individual i.e that unacceptable behaviour is due to something that you are doing or not doing as the case maybe. It’s important to remember that as wrong as it is, this is how it sadly a reflection of a bygone time, that needs to change. Thankfully the idea of the ‘Big Boys Club’ is one that is dying out, but more work needs to be done to start levelling out the playing field in our workplaces. Noticing sexism and reporting it to management can help; It’s impossible to tackle the issue, if we remain reticent to calling it out. Letting your colleagues know that their behaviour is not acceptable or tolerated is critical to changing the culture of a company and it begins by recognising that everyone deserves the right to be treated fairly and equitably in an organisation
Call It Out
We all want to fit in at work, but if someone’s making a ‘joke’ that’s discriminative and you don’t agree with it, don’t laugh along, instead call them out or a minimum ignore it completely. If you are comfortable taking direct action, discuss the issue with the colleague making the joke, explain why it’s not amusing and not appropriate. With any luck, it may be the wake-up call they needed to stop making comments like that. If confrontation is something you’re not comfortable with doing, ask a colleague or manager that you trust to talk to them.
You don’t have to tolerate it just because workplace sexism has always existed. Everyone deserves a workplace they feel comfortable in – let’s help support each other to thrive professionally and reach our potential.
About the author
A business transformation expert and founder of Dare Worldwide consultancy, Rita has over 20 years’ experience helping CEO’s with their business strategy and is a self-confessed workaholic and ideas junkie.