Tuesday, October 11, 2016

On Working With Women

It comes from Ruth Bader Ginsburg*, via the book Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking on the importance of women entering professions in more than token numbers:
"Men need to learn, and they do when a women show in their midst in numbers, not as one-at-a-time curiosities. Men need the experience of working with women who demonstrate a wide range of personality characteristics, they need to become working friends with women."
One, it kills me that RBG was made to express regret over her critique of Donald Trump. Although, at the same time, her expression of regret was limited and reserved. She didn't so much say that the content of her remarks were wrong, just that someone in her position should not have made such remarks.

I won't comment on that propriety.

But, two, the intent of RBG's quote, above, is how working with a wide variety of oft-stereotyped people is a really important way to break down those stereotypes (although, of course, there are exceptions, where they'll view every behavior of a stereotyped group as confirming those stereotypes).

As a BONUS for today, I will note some ways I have learned to tell when a male leader isn't used to viewing women as intellectual and business peers, likely because he hasn't surrounded himself with many (or, any):
  • His commentary about women suggests that he views women as disposable if he deems them not fuckable. If you're a woman, you/we often know when this type of man dismisses us because the thought of engaging a woman as a peer doesn't really occur to him. The thought of losing to a woman in a business or work endeavor would be an unimaginable humiliation. That's Donald Trump-level misogyny.
  • But, there's also a type of man who, say, has a wife or daughter, so he feels uncomfortable thinking of them being treated disrespectfully. It's as though 100% of his context for the behavior known as "interacting with women" is limited to familial and sexual relationships, and so if he sees another man being sexist, he might say:

  • Another indication? Ask a man who he reads. An almost surefire sign that you're dealing with a man who doesn't view women as peers is if almost all of what he reads is written by men and he doesn't even realize it. 

[*Ugh. I drafted this post before news broke of RBG calling athletes' protests (of police violence) during the national anthem "dumb." I disagree with her there. And, I'm disappointed that she'd give such a lazy critique to the protests. She's a careful, master wordsmith on the bench and, if she truly disagrees with the protests, could render a more fair, intellectual argument than calling them "dumb." However, I also don't require feminists (or anyone) to have ideological purity in order for me to acknowledge if/when they have made important progressive contributions to society elsewhere.]

No comments: