If you have ever worked in an office, you know how indispensable Administrative Staff is.
I get up early every morning, put on professional business clothes, comb my short hair, and drive to the office just like everyone else. I unlock the doors and turn on the lights, make the coffee and turn on the phones. I spend 8 to 10 hours at the office every day. I keep the office supplied, I do all the vital paperwork, I pay the office bills, and interact with all our clients.
A job like mine usually requires a minimum 2 year degree and experience. My profession is not easy. It is not fun. It is not a joke. But every day I go into the office to do my job, I am dismissed, talked down to, and marginalized.
My boss consistently refers to the admin staff as “The Girls.” The other two women on our team of three are middle aged mothers. When do they earn the title of “Woman?” What do we have to do to be taken seriously as business people?
Am I the only one who cares about this?
I met a male Administrator once. He was a 20-year-old student who worked part time as a Receptionist. He did nothing but answer phones and browse Facebook. All. Day. Long. His boss (an older man) called him “Sir” and often praised his accomplishment of being a student and employee at the same time. He used words like “young” and “ambitious” and “smart” when he talked about his Receptionist.
But I’m just a girl. Married, going to school 10 hours a week, working full time, indispensable team member, but just one of “The Girls.” It disgusts me.
I mentioned my frustration to a fellow administrator once, and she called me “a crazy feminist.” I asked her to define “feminist” and her only response was that she “doesn’t have a fit when a man holds the door open.” Are American women so ignorant that they don’t see the oppression and discrimination going on before their very eyes? How can I demand the respect I deserve when the women around me don’t mind being marginalized?
I have news for you America: sexism is alive and well. I see it every single day. I just wish there was something I could do about it.