RE: Gender Issues in Technical Communication

Subject: RE: Gender Issues in Technical Communication
From: Heather Hacker <HHacker -at- dtechdirect -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 16:54:41 -0400

Yes, I have definitely noticed women who discriminate against women
as well. I have worked in several companies where I am the only female that
is not part of Human Resources, Marketing or an Administrative Assistant.
At one of those companies I was constantly being treated as though I were an
administrative assistant - rather than the MIS - which is what I was hired
to do. I'm a pretty nice person and I don't mind taking on responsibility -
but, I was floored when I was asked to be in charge of ordering food for the
kitchen and then assigned the task of organizing the annual conference. The
conference sounded like a fun thing to do - I would've been able to stay in
a nice hotel for a weekend and eat lots of great food... but, ordering
supplies and food for the kitchen was insulting when I was busy keeping the
network up and running. That was a combination of men and women who were
placing those expectations on me.
Anyway... I could go on again... but, I disagree with Dick saying
that it is just how we are perceiving these situations (he said: "...the
participants... might take away a variety of conclusions, regardless of sex.
One might assume I shaped my explanataion in simple terms because I'm a
sexist pig...") I don't know if that was aimed at one person in particular -
or to the whole thread - but, I know sexism when I encounter it. My
judgement is not always based on how the person treats only me - but how the
person treats others differently than me - or how that person treats all
I also have to agree that usually the men who are talking to me as
though I'm not technically knowledgeable, also talk to me as though I (and
other females) am not knowledgeable about anything. I can't begin to count
how many times I have had men tell me exactly how to do something, when I
never asked for their input. This has happened in the workplace and outside
of the workplace. It always floors me when men do this about a subject they
know absolutely nothing about... as if being male makes them an authority on
everything. Before I get hate mail about saying this - I am not trying to
over generalize and say that all men do this... but, in my life and all of
my female sisters' and friends' lives... I have witnessed this behavior over
and over.


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