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The recent women's marches across the country got me thinking.  They seemed to originate from Donald Trump being inaugurated President, but were tied to a number of different issues.  One of the issues that I heard mentioned several times was ‘equal pay'.  It's been well documented that women often receive less pay than do men for the same job.  This gap has narrowed over time but still exists.  The marches got me thinking about my personal experience in this area.  I'd like to share my personal experiences with gender equality in the workplace, and I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments.

There Is Inequality In My Field (But With A Catch)

I'll start off by saying that I know that there is a big skew in my field.  I work in IT, and it's always been that more men than women are employed in the IT profession.  So, looking at sheer numbers doesn't really give a fair comparison.

I will say that I've worked with some amazing women throughout my career.  Just a few examples of the great colleagues I've had:

  • One woman ran the entire web design area of the company when companies were first developing their online presence.  She was fully responsible for developing many companies first appearance in the digital world.  I learned a lot about drive and motivation working with her.
  • I've always been praised for my communication skills.  I've been able to work well with technical teams, but also very well with people who aren't technical at all.  This skill has a lot to do withone woman that I worked with at my first job outside of college.  I started off on a technical help desk, and the woman sitting next to me had a great ability to work with customers.  I picked up a lot from her and morphed a lot of what I learned into my own style.  My communication skills help me to this day, and I know that my random desk assignment next to this awesome woman is a big key.
  • My current cube-mate is a great woman who teaches me new stuff every day.  She's been in the profession for 15 years longer than I have, and is an expert in our online tools.  Any time anybody has a question about this particular tool, they come to her.

Gender Equality In Management

My dad told me a story that I think is crazy, but I know it's true.  Someone he was close with once worked side by side with a woman.  When a management position became available, they both vied for it.  When the woman got the promotion, his colleague was so incensed that he quit.

That's right, he actually left a job because he couldn't take the thought of having to work for a woman.

The only type of glass ceiling we should see.
Image from morguefile courtesy krosseel

This was a long time ago, probably back in the 1970's or thereabouts, and while I'd like to think that this was more a sign of those times, you have to wonder how much of that exists today.  It'd be nice to say ‘none' but even 40 more years isn't all that much time.

For this post, I sat down and looked at my experience with my managers.  In the roughly 20 years in my professional career, I've had 13 managers (when we've both been in our position for six months or more).  The breakdown is:

  • 7 women manager, 6 male managers
  • Approximately 10 years under each

It doesn't get much more equal than that.

I've had some great managers and some awful managers across both genders.  There's not one particular gender that I prefer or that prefers me, if I look at things objectively.

I'm Lucky

I think that I've been pretty lucky as to my experience.  I never really sat down and thought about the numbers I just listed.  For me, I've just looked at each experience as part of my career.  But, to realize that I've had equal management opportunity both genders shows that I really haven't seen inequality.  I would say that I've seen fairly equal gender opportunities during my time.

I also know that I'm very lucky to have been able to say that.

What Are Your Experiences On Gender Equality In The Workplace?

I would really love to see what the experiences of others are out there.  Have you had both male and female managers?  If you've been promoted, what are your experiences?  I'd love to hear from both men and women.  Please let me know your experiences and any thoughts in the comments below.