When reality television star and fashion blogger Lauren Conrad was asked what her “favorite position” was on a live radio program a while back, the women listening held their breath. Although we take great pride in the work that we do, most of us could relate to being undermined and belittled publicly at work. When Conrad cleverly retorted “CEO,” it was hard not to aggressively high five our laptop and mobile devices. The words “hell” and “yeah” could be heard all across the nation.
You don’t need to be famous (or work for former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney) to put up with sexually charged work environments. Whether it’s the Iowa dental assistant who was fired because her boss found her too “attractive” and felt like she was a “threat to his marriage” (which the Iowa Supreme Court agreed was totally legal) or a Citibank employee who was fired for being “too distracting” for her male colleagues, there’s no shortage of cases of women being treated differently because they are women.
Indeed, the phenomenon isn’t an exception anymore; as these examples show, it’s becoming too often the rule. According to a recent poll, one in three women has experienced some form of sex discrimination at work. The more elevated women are in the corporate hierarchy, the more likely they are to report feeling belittled. Being high on the totem pole makes women forty five percent more likely to perceive discriminatory treatment.
So, what can we do about it? In an effort to break the cycle somewhat, Mic spoke to women across the career spectrum. While the job descriptions vary, these women are united in their desire to send a powerful message to all those who would belittle them. American workers deserve better, America’s female workers most of all. It’s about time all employees are judged on their ability to kick butt, not their gender.
The following are some of their best responses to that now-infamous question. But what about you? What’s your favorite position? Use the hashtag #MyFavoritePositionIs and post your own thoughts and photos online.