You would think most people use common sense in the workplace. Not so. Which is why Diversity Inc.is kind enough to clue people in by providing a list of eight things you should never say to a women executiveve or co-worker. Hard to imagine in today's business world that these seemingly obvious reminders are still so relevant but speaking from experience, they are.
- Avoid any kind of sexual comment. Karen Brown, chief diversity officer for Rockwell Collins,one of Diversity Inc's 25 Noteworthy Companies, says she once was asked to join a co-worker alone in the copy room. "The best way to deal with these things is to consider it as a perfect awareness opportunity to teach that individual something that they never would have had the chance to learn before then."
- "You don't really want that promotion. You'll never see your kids." Don't assume that a woman's career isn't as important to her because she has children at home. Her children may be what's driving her to excel to her highest potential.
- You'll get the job because you're a woman" or "You must be the token woman" Suggesting to a female coworker or executivee that she is where she is because of gender is nothing short of disrespectful. It demeans that woman's experience in the field and expertise as a leader. It also indicates, to a woman from an underrepresented group, that she was selected not only because she is a female but also because she is Black, Latina or Asian.
- What's the matter, is it that time of the month?" (This one is infuriating!) When a female executive is forceful or aggressive, she is often received in a negative way, while a man in the same position is perceived as doing his job. One of the ways that negativity can be expressed is by attributing the behavior to hormonal changes.
- You're very attractive [or pretty, or beautiful, etc.]" Athough women as well as men may enjoy a compliment on their looks, saying this to a female coworker or executive can leave the coworker feeling marginalized--as if her looks are more important than her skills or what she has to say. (Better to compliment her suit or new purse)
- "You look great for your age" or "Do you use Botox?" Especially inappropriate in the workplace, a woman's age should never be discussed unless she brings it up first. And if you suspect her great look is the result of a surgical procedure, keep it to yourself, unless your coworker volunteers that information to you.
- "You do that so well … for a girl." Even if said in a joking way, the phrase implies that women are inferior to men, and the recipient may not receive it with the best of humor.
- "When are you due?" If you are not absolutely certain that a woman is expecting, do not, I repeat, do not ask this question.
- Why did they give YOU that assignment? This is my addition to the list. Said in a condescending way, this is one of the most obnoxious comments I hear made to women in workplaces.
If you have anything to add to the list, let me hear it!