I gave up. I gave up on the battle and maybe the war. I’m not sure about the war.
I looked at my boss and I told him I was done. I give up. I’m exhausted. I have no more fight left in me. I don’t want to document. I don’t want to talk to HR. They can say what they want. Don’t hurt my body and I’ll throw my hands over my head to try and protect my mind.
I can quote you the stats. I went and researched them for a presentation I gave. In Canada 36% of women will even start a degree in STEM. 12 out of 100 women who start a STEM degree will finish that degree. Of those 12, only 3 will still be in a STEM field 10 years later. We have a pipeline issue – not enough women in STEM. We don’t get the degrees and those who do, they don’t stay. 35% of women in STEM report being sexually harassed. 56% have been called “too aggressive”.
It’s the death of a thousand cuts. It’s not a guy cornering me and raping me. It’s being told to smile for clients, it’s being called darling. It’s the times that men talk over me, it’s the times that they introduce me by my appearance. It’s the jokes about my sex life. And I object. I object – sometimes in the room. Sometimes after. I send emails, I talk to my boss.
And then the moment when my junior comes to me. My lovely, brilliant and capable junior. And she tells me what’s happening. It’s the same old. And we could debate over whether the guy is doing it deliberately or if he’s just clueless, but it doesn’t matter, does it?
Because it’s happening. And she’s telling me that she has a problem. And I am powerless to stop it. I tell her she needs to go to her boss and that I’ll go to mine. She asked a simple question – whether or not I’ve ever seen this change anything.