Today’s question: “Does discrimination still exist in the workplace based on the color of one’s skin, gender, schools attended, and even age?”
It’s almost a straight-cut yes! But there’s more to this. There’s a web of lies underpinning our attitudes and behaviors towards people in the workplace. I’ll be covering this on the blog! (Stay tuned!).Today is the International Day of the Girl Child so we’ll be looking at sexism in the workplace.
In my short career span, I’ve had the privilege of working in different places—both SMEs and multinationals. But I’ve been so naive. Naive enough not to see that the workplace is actually skewed, and some human males see themselves as the Alpha, while females are just an afterthought.
I had spent a couple of months in one of such places, before I noticed an underlying attitude around me. The same attitude you see in some African homes where kids are not allowed to speak because the adults are talking. Where respect is one-way with young people bending over backwards to please the old, who may just be wrong. Where women are ‘supposed to’ serve the men like docile animals. It was that same debilitating thinking I could see around.
I could not believe it! I was naive to think that workplaces were populated by professionals who understood the place of mutual respect, equality, and for more forward-thinking organizations; the place of diversity and inclusion. Boy, was I wrong!
The workplace wasn’t a meeting of the minds, as I had thought. It was a place where your ideas and actions were seen through the stained lenses of ‘how old is that girl?’ ‘Does she know who I am?’ ‘How dare she?’ A place where a woman would receive condescending remarks for the same thing a man would receive a pat on the back for.
I have never been much of a feminist—I don’t believe in the two extremes. I still believe in guys helping with chores such as hammering stuff, and changing oil and tires. Unfortunately, I’m also a lazy cook, so maybe the modern male stereotype who doesn’t think his manliness is reduced when he enters the kitchen, is my perfect match. I believe in being able to do anything and be absolutely good at it. So what if there are female mechanics? Or male chefs? Or female CEOs? Or male daycare owners? I don’t care! As far as everyone is working in his or her area of strength and specialization, please let them be.
This whole retarded thinking where others frown upon another person’s progress because their line of work isn’t what society before now had found acceptable, is total cow’s dung! 🤭
Can we actually learn to drop our biases just before we go into the workplace? So what if your boss is a young female? Uphold mutual respect and professionalism and just get your work done. Business is a transaction, a payment for value added. But in stifling people’s creativity based on the color of their skin, or their age, or even their gender, you stand to lose out on all the value that person had to offer.
This may be the strongest post on social issues that you’ve seen on this blog, but sometimes one has to speak out. As a follower of Jesus, I understand the place of broken systems, which are preventing people from living a life of freedom and victory in Christ. Why heal on the sabbath day? Why go for dinner in a tax collector’s home? Why allow a woman pour perfume on his feet? Why speak to a Samaritan woman when Jews were not supposed to? And many more! Jesus refused to allow his society limit him, and you too shouldn’t!
If there’s some injustice where you are, speak up. And if you can’t speak, by all means write about it.
I don’t know who else out there is struggling with some bias or the other, but I need to remind you that God doesn’t see color, age, gender etc. And we ought to extend that same love towards others.
Happy International Day of the Girl Child!
See you next time.
3 thoughts on “NEW: Web of Lies Series”
Thank you for this amazing read, and for pointing out one of the serious issues that women face in the workplace, which has been ignored over time. Coming from the HR viewpoint, it is sad to note that the HR factor has not made any effort to curb the sexism mentality, and as you rightly noted, the influence of the ‘alpha male’ mentality parading itself among male employees further complicates the issue. We see sexism playing out through insults masquerading as jokes, devaluing women’s views, unending stereotyping (she’s too soft, she can’t handle this task), harsh words on physical appearance, gender labeling, to mention a few. The fact is that employers are aware of this, yet, too few are doing anything to end it and these sexist cultures only serve to hold women back.
My solution? Employers must root out sexism in their organizations and give women an equal chance to succeed. It can be particularly tough in male-dominated workplaces, especially within the Nigerian setting, but where employers should help to bring more women in and change the narrative. Women also need to take a stand by addressing sexist issues on the spot and calling out such employees who feel they can act or do as they like. Also, the HR department needs to represent women by ensuring that sexist motives are not entertained. What we see today is that the HR department in trying to curry favor with the CEO shoves such issues under the table with no option of addressing said issues in the future. Like all other issues, it starts with the individual, and if every individual can take a stand towards sexism, it will definitely be rooted out completely from every organization.
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Wow!! Thank you for this 360 degree view. I think I agree with you that the HR people who should champion this change often times drop it because of a conflict of interests. And yeah, it also comes down to the individuals involved to try and stand up to the system. Fingers crossed. Lol. Thanks again CB!
Thank you so much M!
Sexism, discrimination, biases, prejudices … all poison are rife in our society, and of course present in the workplace which is made up of members of this same society.
I want to state clearly here that ‘beta females’ are part of the problem. Workplace bullying is gender neutral.
As in every situation where the victim has no defence, the oppressed do not have many safe places to push back in without fear of rejection or retaliation.
Sometimes the best position is not to fight with the same weapons of the enemy. Like David, each woman, youth, etc needs to find her/his place of strength on the inside keeping their eyes on their goals.
I have been in situations where ‘alpha males’ and ‘beta females’ have tried to put me in a box: ‘not cool enough,’ ‘not connected enough,’ ‘not qualified enough,’ ‘small girl,’ ‘older woman,’ ‘mama,’ ‘stubborn woman,’ ‘feminist.’ I had to make a personal choice not to dwell on these things.
Your opinion of me is yours, your expectations of me are yours … nothing to do with me at all 😁
There are battles and there are wars. Yes we speak when someone is ‘willing’ to listen and stay calm in the midst of biases, strong in the knowledge of who we are. Nothing anyone says or does or imagines or demands can change you if you do not permit it.
Yes we are not afraid to speak up or defend those who are being bullied. We cannot fight for every woman because some are happy in ‘their place.’ What you consider servitude, they take pride in. So long as women continue to be enablers, there is nothing anyone can do. Many recoil at the thought of being labelled ‘a feminist.’ Every one is living in the shadows of their perception and mentality. We have to try to understand and accommodate.
Yes, we will speak for the voiceless oppressed and bullied … we will not engage in unproductive wars. We will hold our own in dignity and grace. As the bible enjoins us, in quietness and confidence lies our strength.