#5. Women Get Stuck With “Office Housework” Which They Can’t Refuse Without Damaging Their Careers
Everyone in your department’s gathered for a meeting, when someone points out that there’s no coffee. A meeting without coffee is like a wedding without an open bar, but the secretary’s on the phone with a client and the unpaid intern is out in the woods somewhere looking for leprechaun gold for the amusement of the rest of the office. So the task inevitably falls to whichever woman happens to be closest to the coffeemaker, regardless of whether they’re the newbie or the highest-ranking person in the room.
It’s called office housework, and it also includes meeting preparation and notes, party planning, convincing people that the party won’t be a tedious waste of time, etc.
But if they turn down these extra responsibilities, they’re viewed as selfish by their colleagues, while men can say no and suffer zero consequences.
#4. Women Lose Their Workplace Ambition Much More Rapidly Than Men (Because They Are Constantly Discouraged)
Whether it’s people getting promoted ahead of you, no one appreciating your contributions in last year’s laser tag challenge, or simple burnout, a worker’s ambitions tend to slowly wither as the months and years go by. And assuming you’ve been paying attention, you can probably guess how this varies by gender.
Women with under two years of work experience start out slightly more ambitious than men, but that hopefulness is quickly drained out of them, as if by a sad vampire. After two years, the average women’s aspirations and confidence plummet by 60 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Men, meanwhile, only experience a 10 percent drop, possibly because they see all their female colleagues losing interest in getting promoted and figure that it improves their odds. Senior managers of both genders fare better, but when it comes to upward mobility, men are almost twice as confident.
Why the disparity? It’s not due to women getting married and having kids. It seems to come down to workplace culture. Most companies are run by white men, who tend to celebrate the hard work and achievements of their bros. New workers of both genders say that they fit the model of success for their employer and that their supervisors are supportive of their career goals, but after a few years, women report their feelings of support as having dropped significantly, while men lose almost nothing. Some women are told they’re not cut out for high-level work, or that they “don’t really want it,” because there aren’t already enough examples of women being told what they really want. Two-thirds of male managers don’t even like giving career counselling to younger women because they figure it’s a waste of time.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Companies are run by men, who equate the stereotypical manly traits that got them their jobs with what it takes to be successful. So they focus on promoting men who share those traits, which discourages women, which makes them less ambitious and more likely to lose their loyalty to a company, which reinforces the belief that only men are cut out for the job. Then there’s the still-prevailing attitude that women need to make career sacrifices for their families, whereas men do not. This often ends up being the case — because of the aforementioned wall that women hit in their careers that their husbands don’t experience, they wind up getting put in the housekeeping role by default. Again, cause and effect are backwards.
#3. Women Are Judged Negatively When Taking Credit For Their Work
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Asking workers in group projects who contributed the most will start more controversy than if you ask everyone to share their thoughts on abortion. People are great at overestimating their contributions, so when it comes to figuring out which employees are the most valuable, things are messy from the get-go because of our own biases, and tend to give the woman less credit.
Immodest women are penalized in the workplace. But women who are modest about their contributions get paid more than women who self-advocate, even though the opposite is true for men.
#2. Successful Women Complicate Relationships
Men in relationships still associate masculinity with being the main breadwinner, even though 37 percent of wives now make more than their husbands, men still feel like they need to be the primary providers, and men are much more likely to feel bad about themselves if their female partner outperforms them on a task, and they’re also more likely to cheat on a female partner who’s making more money than them. Because if you can’t provide for your family, then you might as well be having as much sex as humanly possible.
The sweet spot for men is bringing in 70 percent of the household income. More than that, and they start to feel like they have the power to cheat (their wife isn’t going to walk out on a husband they can’t pay the bills without, and affairs committed by high-powered men are so common in the media that it almost seems normal). Women, however, don’t feel any worse when their partner outperforms them. Furthermore, women are less likely to cheat, both when making far less than their husband and when making far more.
So men who make the big bucks feel powerful and virile, while women end up feeling anxious and needing to overcompensate, lest their emasculated husbands stray to another bed. On the bright side, it’s incredibly difficult for women to reach the point of “primary breadwinner” in the first place. So that should be a load off of everyone’s mind.
#1. Yes, The “Wage Gap” Exists
The wage gap exists. A study of almost 10,000 MBA graduates, most of whom were young and childless, found that women were getting starting salaries 15k below what men were offered. This trend holds true for pretty much all professions, even in traditionally female-dominated fields like nursing. Men get more, despite having the same jobs, education, and experience.
The gap begins right when childless young women come out of college. They start off making less, then suffer a “motherhood penalty” if they have kids and continue to work full-time. Employers get cause and effect backwards — they assume that a woman raising a child won’t be as focused on the job and won’t work as hard, so they pay them less, rather than waiting to see if they work fewer hours and then adjusting their salary.
This is, of course, assuming that women even get the job in the first place — male applicants are consistently rated as more hireable than women. Whatever secret magical powers a penis gives you must be impressive, because on average, men also earn raises two and a half times larger than what women get. And that has nothing to do with the myth that men are better negotiators. At best it’s flat-out not true, and at worst the average skill difference isn’t nearly enough to explain the average wage gap, unless women spend every evaluation meeting throwing handfuls of shit at their bosses.
So should women speak up about this?
Sure, as long as they’re not “assertive” — here meaning “as long as they don’t speak in a way that might get attention.” As we alluded to earlier, assertiveness is seen as a negative in women, and their value to their employers plummets accordingly when they demonstrate it. Assertive men can be looked down on too, but not nearly as much. The guy’s just a little too loud, but the woman is letting down her entire gender.
While men tend to be praised or given legitimate constructive criticism, women are called things like “abrasive,” “bossy” and “judgmental.” And of course, if they object to that criticism, they’re labelled “irrational,” which honestly serves them right for getting their dumb vagina emotions all up in a performance review that’s going to determine their financial future. Hey, did we mention that women tend to struggle with poverty more in retirement?