Recently, a story went viral about a man accidentally sending emails as his woman co-worker. The person he emailed argued with him about recommendations. However, when he clarified that he was actually sending them email, not the woman, they immediately changed their tune and began to comply with what was asked.
To see if the issue was a fluke, he kept sending emails as his woman co-worker for several more days. He learned it wasn’t a fluke. Clients and other co-workers gave him all kinds of push-back on issues when they normally would not. He found his advice was not followed. His recommendations were challenged. His data was questioned.
Meanwhile, his woman co-worker was having the best week of her career. Clients were more responsive. They accepted her recommendations almost immediately. She was not questioned or challenged on anything.
Because they thought she was a man.
Her co-worker thought she was less productive and effective because he had more experience than she did. He assumed she was less organized and not as strong at communicating.
He was wrong.
Women in workplaces all over the world are facing this same challenge every day. And it is a shame that it takes a man to experience the behaviors for society at large to believe it.
But now that the truth is out, what are we going to do about it?
Hiring women and promoting them isn’t enough if you’re not willing to support them in overcoming the hindrances and obstacles that impact their effectiveness and productivity. Make sure they are given the respect they deserve.