Michelle: I would agree with Patrice, for sure. I think women in the workplace may struggle between being seen first as a leader or professional before they’re seen as “the woman at the table, or the woman in the group.” As an HR professional, I feel it’s part of my job to point it out if I think it’s happening and say, “Would you respond this way if this question were being posed by a man, or would you look at this scenario differently if the genders were reversed?” Sometimes people will take a step back, reflect, and realize that yes, maybe they would interpret something differently strictly because of the gender. That’s always something that I think companies have to be aware of and educate their employees on since it continues to be a struggle for women.
Patrice: Yes. When I’m going to meetings sometimes, I would purposely not bring a notepad because I’m automatically the notetaker. Why am I taking notes?
Michelle: Right. It shouldn’t be assumed that you are the minute taker.
Tami: Thinking about what everybody said, I think the one thing that came to mind and I think has been talked about is the gender bias, and unfortunately, that’s still very prevalent. I just saw on social media yesterday that a female now has a lead role within the Medical Institution for Emergency Medicine. It took 2,021 years for that to happen. I think it is getting better. Sometimes sitting in meetings or at corporate dinners, there are only two women in the room. But I think it’s getting better slowly.
Sara: For me, and I think for most people, barriers are always there, but I work hard not to see them as impediments – I see road bumps as a part of life. Of course, there are barriers and biases that cannot be overcome with a mindset, but in my case, perseverance has been engrained, probably from my father who’s a West Point grad. He taught me perseverance, accountability, mental toughness, and the importance of your mindset. I have been fortunate to not experience significant barriers in my professional career due to gender; however, as a woman in a male dominated field, I have always felt I had to work extra hard to prove myself.