I was surprised recently and I’m not often surprised about what goes on in business. Just imagine you were working in an organization and you were being discriminated against. Only you didn’t know it. Here’s what shocked me so it hopefully won’t happen to you.
I was meeting with a prospect. He mentioned that the ways that men disenfranchise women at work are subtle.
He told me that as a manager his subordinates would often suggest that he golf with them. Not wanting to show any favoritism, he would suggest that the group golf together. In his group, most of the women didn’t golf. So even though he invited them, they were not likely to attend.
That meant the guys had a weekend outing of bonding and building friendships all without the women. I’ve seen all too often in business how promotions are given. Of all the employees whose work is good, the promotion goes to the one who is known, liked and trusted. Weekend golf games are the perfect venue to get known, liked and trusted.
Women who don’t golf lose.
Golf can be a real business issue for women. If you find that your team golfs regularly, I would take up the sport. You can’t miss the opportunity to build relationships with your manager. It’s different if golf is just an occasional team building activity.
Another situation that sidelines women is when managers take the group to lunch. You would think that managers would be sensitive to women with their choice of restaurant. Often it’s not the case. There are many business groups of males and females who are eating at Hooters. Hooters is a restaurant that makes some women uncomfortable.
If your manager takes the group to Hooters, you really have to decide how to speak up. If you can suggest an alternative restaurant, I would certainly be ready to suggest one. If not, you can privately tell your manager that you’re uncomfortable eating there if that’s the case. Either way, managers should pick more neutral restaurants.
Discrimination at work can be a subtle activity. Knowing what to look for is the first step to stop it. The next step is making sure that you’re involved so you can end it.