I am so tired of accommodating men in life! I can’t walk at night because men, I can’t go out alone because men, I can’t wear whatever I want because men, I can’t work because men, I can’t do anything because men have some weird problem with it! There are so many men out there who do not acknowledge the level of privilege they have. Instead of accommodating women, the women have to accommodate men in every step of the way! In any relationship, women have to make the most sacrifices, whether it’s’ a familial, professional, friendly, or romantic relationship. This not only impacts them psychologically and physically but also professionally!
Women do not have access to as many opportunities already to pursue their passion and careers. That is also why I founded Environmental Watch Trust (EWT). I completed my Undergraduate from a university known for its sexist standards. While men had the best labs and professors, the women weren’t allowed to have the same standards because women don’t need to work, right? I created EWT because I wanted women to have that safe space to work, express themselves and contribute to this field at a professional level.
It is such a bizarre logic when men on purpose exclude women from working with them because I suppose they don’t want to be held responsible for their actions! If there is workplace harassment, it’s’ better to not have women in your team rather than punishing those who might be making the place unsafe? Someone I know got rejected from a job because she is a woman and the place only had men working there. It was almost like saying, ‘hey, I might have hired a potential rapists/harasser/abuser in my current team of men, and I would rather give them a job than you, regardless of your qualifications, because well, I don’t want to be held liable for a woman’s safety in the workplace.’
I know so many amazing qualified professionals, who happen to be women, and they are unable to perform their best because, guess what? Men. They have to give up their professional dreams because men refuse to show them the respect they deserve as fellow humans! Again, the men are not being held accountable for their actions and women have to tiptoe around men accommodating THEM and their actions.
I have been getting constant messages from creepy guys who want to have some creepy ‘frandship’. A male colleague asked for my number to call and I told him he needs to send me a text message because I avoid attending calls from numbers I don’t know because of creeps calling me. His suggestion was that I should constantly change MY professional contact number! So I would have to change my number on my business card constantly because I have to accommodate some disgusting men? Again, no man is being held accountable for their actions and I, being a woman, have to accommodate for men?
During my a networking session, a man was notoriously known among women for his unwanted advances towards them and our ‘good’ male friends didn’t believe a word we said in the beginning. Instead, they told us how they didn’t think he was like that because he was good to them. Well, I’m sorry to break it to those ‘good’ men, but these predators don’t treat men the same way! Men generally can’t remotely comprehend how unsafe that one man’s unnecessary comments and actions made us women feel!
Gender discrimination and harassment are a constant impediment for professional women and you can see all these major organizations being run by men who think they own the public spaces and organizations. They don’t let women come forward and nor do they encourage them to be professional and contribute to their field. They don’t hold their own fellow male colleagues, friends, and relatives accountable for their actions!
Yeah, I know not all men, but you know what, maybe it is all men! The sad part is that those ‘good’ men who don’t even mean to do any harm to women don’t want to assist us or accommodate us in any way! They mean well for us women and they constantly tell us how we need to modify our behavior to accommodate for their fellow gender! I am sick of accommodating men who refuse to extend the same level of courtesy to women! So I call out on all these ‘good’ men, that instead of asking your female friend, colleague, or relative to not do her job, tell your fellow men, who are harassing those women, to start behaving! This fight against gender discrimination cannot be fought alone and the biggest role to play here for those ‘good’ men to come forward in support for making places safe for women!
It’s a sad state of affair. I wonder if there will be a day where we are truly able to get over this gender-based discrimination and sexism especially at the workplace. I also understand the fact that this change isn’t possible overnight! I also commend the amazing strides that women have taken in Pakistan for gender equality in the workplace as more women are joining the workforce! However, there is still so much that needs to be done!
Disclaimer: I acknowledge the fact that there are situations where women harass and make it unsafe for men. No one is denying that. However, it is important to acknowledge the fact that women get harassed far more in day-to-day life than men and this article focuses on how women face harassment from men, especially in their professional life.