Re: Sexism in the workplace

Subject: Re: Sexism in the workplace
From: Jacqueline Campana <j -dot- v -dot- campana -at- CCD -dot- HARRIS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1993 18:00:23 EDT


As one of the other females working with Kate, I am very familiar
with what she was asking. Kate was referring to the tendency
of engineers to view us as typist rather than professionals.
The whole thing is about sterotyping. She was asking for advice
on _how to avoid being treated as a typist_ NOT commenting on
sexism in the workplace.

I believe a little more background info is needed.
Due to everyone's helpful advice, I've been able to analyze
our situation a little deeper. Our tech writing team is
composed of three female tech writers still a bit wet
behind the ears without any guidance from a supervisor.
She left us two months ago on an *educational leave of
absence*. We have since discovered that some of our
problems stem from how she dealt with this stereotyping.
I have the impression that she was a bit too aggressive.

We tried being polite and flexible and to work as a team.
We saw results! They were cooperative. But, shortly thereafter
as deadlines approached and documents were due, it was
chaos. The document development plan is so outdated and we can't
get any worthwhile information (we were kept in the dark-we also
followed like sheep :-( . ) Also, very few engineers are familiar
with what we do. That's where our problem begins.

I don't feel that I'm being discriminated against just because
I'm a woman. It's a combination of things. Chris, maybe
it could be a feeling of not belonging. But, we are trying
to belong. They were conditioned to think that it's an
US VS. THEM situation (I believe). Fortunately, not everyone
is like this (only the older engineers). I also don't feel
inferior to an engineer. I'm proud of what I do and I love
being a technical writer. But puuleaz, where does
*sexual insecurity* come into this?!

We just wanted some advice from experienced technical writers
on how to earn respect and what pitfalls to avoid.

Thanks, everyone for your experiences and recommendations.
I've begun using your input, and I've seen excellent results.

Jackie Emard-Campana
jvec -at- ccd -dot- harris -dot- com

> I am just curious, how many of the discriminated against female
> technical writers work in an all-female office?

> I have seen certain departments where I work at Harris that have all
> women technical writers. It is from my limited observations of them
> that lead me to believe they generate feelings of discrimination on
> their own. Because most of the engineers are men and already share
> their gender as a common bond, they tend to associate away from the
> female group of technical writers. I however see no discrimination
> whatsoever.

> In my department there are 4 male writers and 1 female writer. The
> concept of sexism has never been a factor in our proffessonal life.
> In fact it is a great source of levity that even draws us together.

> I used to work at another company where there were about 5 women
> editors and 2 men editors. I would say there was deffinately
> discrimination against us. Whether it was real or just imagined, it
> was a force that affected our work.

> After some thought, I think that the claims of sexism in todays
> workplace is not always true. It is sometimes a cover for the
> feelings of not belonging, of feeling inferior to engineers, or of
> ones own sexual insecurity.

> Just some ramblings for the forum, please let me know if you feel
> otherwise or differently. This is a topic that is worth discussing.

> Chris
> harris,cloris -at- ic1d -dot- harris -dot- com

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