Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's always the woman's fault...

A reader sent me a link from The Slum Post the heading said: Don't want to be harassed? Stop acting like a man

The blurb said

Behaving like "one of the boys" to get ahead at work may not be the best strategy for women. A study had found that alpha-females are more likely to suffer sexual harassment.
The actual research said:
"The more women deviated from traditional gender roles - by occupying a 'man's' job or having a 'masculine' personality - the more they were targeted," Dr Berdahl said. "Although having a masculine personality would seem to help employees fit into male-dominated work environments, having such a personality appears to have hurt the women in this study."

She said the study supported the theory that sexual harassment was motivated by a desire to punish "gender-role deviants" rather than by sexual desire.


  1. Anonymous1:18 pm

    Plonkers. That's a bloody significant bit of research, but whoever came up with that title can kiss my arse.

    ..oh, "SMH". That explains a lot.

    FWIW I qualify as a "gender-role deviant" both in career choice (software developer) and some personality attributes, but I've never had any problems at work. I have couple of friends that've told me about problems in slightly different male-dominated careers, and they're both very feminine.

    Actually, I've noticed that gender discrimination seems to have worked in my favour - guys might start out by being a little aloof until they see my work, or I say something smart at a meeting, and after that they'll think I'm awesome. I'm good at my job, above average, but certainly no genius. Basically I'm still not sure whether I just have l33t ppl skillz, or they just think higher of me because their expectations were lower. I don't know if I should be complaining or not.

  2. Thanks for highlighting this Maia, it reminds me of a post I wrote back in 2005 on a similar topic which I am going to now shamelessly blogwhore:

    I know what you mean heather about sometimes wondering if people think higher of you because you exceeded their expectations - I get a bit fed up with the "surprised you could do that" look myself.

  3. There is a fair bit of research on student evaluation of lecturers which suggests that students expect female lecturers to be more nurturing and maternal than male lecturers. And they'll punish female lecturers who deviate from their expectation by poor assessment.