It’s 2016, and sexism should be a thing of the past. Even if you know, however, that the gender balance isn’t completely equal, you may not be aware just how prevalent small biases continue to be, especially in the workplace. These little biases may appear in the form of gendered insults in the workplace, often against women. They happen every day, with a frequency that makes them seem “normal,” and undermines to need to eliminate prejudiced talk. Below are four top common gendered insults to be aware of, and to eliminate from your workplace today:
1. Girl: It’s second nature to refer to female coworkers as “girls,” and yet it’s demoralizing in a subtle and easy-to-miss way, referring to grown women on the level of children. Men aren’t “boys.” So, women aren’t, and shouldn’t be, “girls.”
2. Bossy: Women get this more than men–how often have you heard a man described as “bossy”? And yet, it’s looked upon as a negative way to say “assertive.” When the same term, with the same meaning, isn’t used for both sexes, it’s demeaning and unfair. And, it’s inaccurate as a description for someone who takes charge.
3. Bitch: Do we even need to explain this? The word has evolved to change meaning depending on the speaker’s intent. But its original intent and ties to a biting insult specially meant for a female only are still grounds enough to be considered sexual harassment. That’s a serious reason to avoid it at all costs.
4. For a woman: This goes hand-in-hand with “how do you do it?” Seemingly innocuous, telling someone she’s great at something “for a woman” or that you don’t understand “how” she balances multiple things (like children) puts her on a different playing field from everyone else. This implies that her success is a surprise rather than a given, like anyone else. Eliminate it.
By avoiding the above gendered insults, and any phrases you may not be sure of, you can help to begin the move toward a more supportive workplace environment overall. Want to know about evolving in the workplace? Contact us today for more information and details.