Is gender equality in the workplace men’s responsibility?


BY Tess O'Callaghan

{Project Manager, Designer, Developer}

14 November 2017

Reading Time: 2 minutes

So, you were born female. That means, therefore, that you will get paid less than your male counterparts, and will have a harder time getting into a leadership position. I don’t know…sure, I have had to work very hard to get to where I am today, but I think I’m more in my way than any people of a specific gender.

These days, I work as a project manager. I help make decisions about the business as a whole and run the large web development projects at Digital Noir. Here’s what I’ve noticed about the gender equality climate on my way here.

If you are always on the lookout for sexist comments, you can find them anywhere. Don’t make it a thing if it isn’t one. And just because a male colleague says you look nice, doesn’t always mean they are coming on to you. That said, it might…

When you notice sexism, say something. This is a tough one. Confide in a colleague if it is too hard in the heat of the moment. I once noticed a guy in a meeting would not look me in the eye. They looked only at Sam (our Director), even when the question or response was for me. Sam stepped away from the project and I liaised with him one on one. No need to embrace that sexism if you see it. He was then in a position where he had to speak directly to me. To be honest, I don’t think he even noticed.

Men are more comfortable poking fun at each other than women. If it doesn’t bother you, join in! We definitely have a culture of cheeky put-downs in our office and the boys do tend to be harder on other boys than us girls. I guess for some reason it does feel weirder for them to point out me wearing really short shorts than Matt. Would that be sexual harassment if it was directed at a female? Is it sexual harassment either way? Or are we too sensitive?

It’s up to everyone to be inclusive, not just the men and not just the women. There’s no reason differing genders should be relevant in a workplace. This is in terms of both treatment and salary. If I have the same training and experience as a colleague that is male, we should receive the same respect and the same wage.

Mel and I went to a talk a little while ago by Amy Cuddy. It was all about body language and confidence, and I think her advice applies to men as well as women. Some of us go to work each day feeling like we’re pretending to be adults, pretending to know things. Amy talked about using open, confident gestures and poses. Yeah, some of them were a bit silly, but don’t you agree, you’ll get more attention and feel more confident while you’re talking if you make eye contact and use your hands rather than looking at the ground and folding your arms?

Have a confident word with yourself, ladies. It may seem intimidating being in a boardroom full of men, but you deserve to be there. You are a qualified professional and your opinion counts as much as theirs.

It feels weird to write that down, because surely it should be a given.

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Tess O'Callaghan

With experience in all of the elements required to build an outstanding website (plus organisation, creativity and great communication skills!), Tess oversees all of our web projects. Never taking her finger off the pulse, she will be your guiding star during your time working with Digital Noir.