Young Graduates Shocked at Sexism in Workplace

Weightofworldonshoulder I found this piece from a young writer, Hannah Seligman, author of the new book "New Girl in the Job: Advice from the Trenches" who describes in the New York Times how her equal education led her to believe she would have equality in the workplace, and the shock that came from discovering she did not. I thought it was an important piece as I have more than once met bright young women, usually university age, who tell me that they think things will be fine for them once they begin working and that feminism is no longer necessary.…as more girls are getting better scores at A -level and in University, right? Seligman was born in 1982, part of that generation, and while there undoubtedly has been gains made in the education system, I do wonder what these women will find when they begin work and even perhaps more tellingly, when they decide to combine having families with a career. Have you been shocked leaving the fairly egalitarian system of education for the world of work? What was your transition like?

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  • mhairi

    I very thought-provoking piece.
    I’m pleased – but somewhat amazed – that any woman feels they’ve had an “equal education”. I feel sexism is still rife, although there have been improvements.
    Sometimes I’m concerned that younger women have actually grown-up in a context of increasing sexism. One example of this from the UK, is the increasing acceptance of so-called soft p*rnography in general media.

  • Nancy

    As a college graduate, that’s been in the business world for 4 years now, I can say sexism is still alive and well. I always knew that in most cases women had to work harder to get where the men are at and a study I just read recently confirmed that, saying that in some cases a woman has to finish graduate school to make what a four year college graduate male coworker makes. 

  • hmp

    I have just finished a position as a PA in a male dominated, technology company in London. I cant believe the attitude towards a twenty something year old, female graduate with 3 years experience in the work place. I was called a “kitten” by management and had my cv ripped apart even after working in the company for a year. University did not prepare me for this work environment.

  • Jeff

    Ladies, Hang in there and keep fighting! There are many men who eschew male chauvinism and support advancing women into upper management. I didn’t qualify for graduate school due to low test scores, but I know several women who have scored much higher than I did and have earned their Master’s degrees in business and other fields. So, yes, you may have to get a graduate degree or some other additional credentials. Good Luck!

  • Lisa

    I am a 36 year old with a Bachelor Degree who has been chronically unemployed or underemployed for years because my manager in my first year of work told me I would just have to put up with sexual harassment (he was the sexual harassment fficer also for the company as well as manager of the all male dpartment with me as the only female. )
    So I stayed, putting up with daily harassment for a month before nt coming back after lunch and taking sick days.
    I “voluntarily” left. Then when I decded to go back to the wrkrce three years later (and hundreds f cigarettes later) I had panic attacks. I had changed careers now. I lost two jobs in a rw because I coukd not relax at work. Then fell into a major depression.
    I got better after antidepressants and an easy jub ceaning for elderly.
    But in this economy I cannot even get basic admin work.
    My resume is barely looked at. It is even hard now getting a crappy cleaning or factory job.

    This is what this company and manager did. They set up a snow ball effect of anxiety, depression and then further job discrimination. I got no protection whatsoever, even though I was in my first year of work alone with six other men. My degree is useless, even after I forked out to pay for and study an extra revision subject.