There are a number of great things about being a woman in today’s world–breasts (perhaps the most objectified item in society, and we’ve got ‘em!); birth control pills; the chance to one day own a pair of Louboutins; giving birth (I may rethink this one after it actually happens to me); the ever increasing prospects of a female being the US President. But there are undoubtedly some less-great things that only women go through, perhaps the most obvious and overlooked being the minority of women in the upper echelons of the American workforce.
I encounter situations on a daily basis where I am the only female around, and while I do count as a woman, I am merely a potted plant or decorative wall art at a meeting. Out of the 15 or so offices on my floor, 3 of them are occupied by ladies. And while that may be a reflection of the hiring attitudes 30 years ago, I’m not entirely convinced that a whole lot has changed. The whole issue remains the (big-breasted) elephant in the room.
Anyways, I recently joined an organization to promote the careers of us ladies: Women of ——— ———. (Bleeped out for job security reasons, unfortunately.) Today was the first event that I chose to attend, as my boss was actually a speaker and requested some moral support, and was held at the Canadian Embassy, right downtown on Pennsylvania. (Ironically, right where the Transformers 3 filming took place–I remember thinking that those damn Canadians had the best view of the action.) So coworker Suzannah and I took a car with our boss (and her boss!) to the embassy for the speaker and panel.
First things first–the Canadians know how to do an embassy. The building is gorgeous, with crisp, clean lines and strategically placed windows. It is both imposing and inviting; decorative and functional; American with a foreign twist. We walked in to pure white walls and brilliant red sectional sofa–subliminal psychology if I’ve ever seen it. There was a also a big map emphasizing America’s dependency on Canada, one that should not be taken lightly or for granted.
The talk was fascinating, but I might be prejudiced, as it was given by two of my supervisors. I realized that I work for two people who are semi-superstars in the government, as they were both mobbed by audience members at the events’ conclusion, leaving Suzannah and I with their bags, flowers, coats, and an emphatic zero business cards. We did take the time to snap some quick pictures, and even taught our boss’s boss how to man an iPhone.
After the talks, a swanky reception was held up on the rooftop, complete with Canadian wine (not good), Canadian cheeses (phenomenal), and Canadian art (so-so). Tired of the incessant schmoozing, Suzannah and I wandered outside, where the view was stunning.
The Capitol is RIGHT THERE! Gorgeous. After a little networking and a lot of glam shots, we declared the event a success. We also felt extremely privileged, rubbing elbows with some of the departments top women. It undoubtedly takes a fearless woman to navigate the entrenched opinions and policies of our federal government and come out equal to or on top of the men of the world.
So while being a working woman is sometimes difficult, and you are often alone in a sea full of beer-bellied men with raging testosterone levels, there are some upsides in organizations like Women in ——- ————. And if those upside continue to serve me free merlot and divine bleu cheese, I may just quit complaining all together.
Do you ever feel like you’re a minority at work/school/sports/social gatherings?? Have you found any silver linings?
I have only begun to notice the small number of women in the government recently, but it’s the kind of thing where once you see it, you can’t un-see it. Thank goodness for events that let me sightsee, network, and sample new wines and cheeses ALL AT ONCE!