Everyday sexism

16 Feb

I work in a traditionally male-dominated industry, the law, but in the twenty-odd years I have been a part of it, I would say I have not suffered or witnessed any overt sexism. Although I have in my time probably not been offered the same salary as a male counterpart, which is always hard to tell because there is no set wage structure, I have obviously heard stories over the years.

But recently I have been subject to outwardly sexist comments from male clients. Perhaps those who work within the industry are more covert than those we serve.

The first example was an older man who was disputing my costs (yawn) and during our conversation he implied that the women who had worked in my team surely did not have as high a charge out rate as the man. In his opinion, the women’s work was not as worthy as the man’s and so surely cost less.  

But by the same token he disliked having a man working on the team because he considered that they cost more and he didn’t want to pay so much. Go figure!

Then today I was explaining the set-up of my team to another male client and it happened to consist of three women. So he asked if there was a partner in charge, and it dawned on me that he meant a man in charge, because in his words,  “with all these young women…” implying that a man had to be in charge of us all or surely we would all run riot. In actual fact ‘us women’ are all in our 40s and, young or old, we are all qualified solicitors perfectly equipped and sensible enough to conduct the business we do without male supervision.

Perhaps it is because I am much more educated on sexism and feminism, having taken much more of an interest over the years with the changing mood of the world post-Brexit and now Trump, that I have noticed these recent incidents. The world is becoming more fascist and the new normal is to be sexist and racist with impunity. It makes me very, very sad but also more alert. Sometimes though, ignorance can be bliss. 


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