By Mary Gulino
Representation matters. As we roll into a new decade with new possibility, it’s important that women everywhere advocate for themselves and their voices—especially in the workplace, where microaggressions can snowball into more serious problems like unequal pay. It can feel isolating to be the only woman at work who’s cognizant of these structural problems. It’s even difficult when you’re the only person, total, in your office. (Because it’s also your bedroom. Because you work from home.)
Having female allies at work can increase your likelihood of being heard and allowing your ideas to rise to the top. Unfortunately, you don’t have any allies at all because you don’t see sunlight or talk to anyone until 6pm, at which point you rip yourself from your couch and force yourself to move your joints for the first time all day. Wouldn’t it be so much better if you had a few gal pals to chit chat with between assignments? Or pals, period? Or hey, at this point, not even pals—enemies would do. You miss human interaction.
Subtle gendered things can also really affect a professional woman’s morale and make her feel like she’s on an island. If you’re the only woman in your workplace, maybe the bathroom is insufficiently stocked with feminine hygiene products, which makes you feel unwelcome in the space. In your case, the bathroom is the one in your apartment, and it’s insufficiently stocked because you haven’t bought tampons in way too long. That’s your bad. But your morale, as a woman, is affected all the same.
So many fields are male dominated. And even in fields where the number of women graduating with degrees in those fields are increasing, the work force isn’t seeing that same influx of female high earners. For instance, when you graduated with a degree in comparative literature with a focus in Latin translations, you were one of forty women in your department. That’s a pretty big chunk! But now, all forty of those women live at home without any job prospects. (So do all of the male graduates, because that degree is highly unmarketable.)
Just because you work in your PJs doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a voice in social issues that affect us all. So let your opinions be known, and maybe one day you’ll work up the courage to ask your boss to implement some change. (That is, ask yourself to get your shit together and fork up the money for a WeWork membership or something.)
Image: The Self Employed