“Public and private organizations all over the world have studied the mechanics of sexism within science and have concluded that they are complex and multifactorial. In my own small experience, sexism has been something very simple: the cumulative weight of constantly being told that you can’t possibly be what you are.” Lab Girl, The Story of Trees, Science and Love by Hope Jahren
There isn’t any acceptable excuse for sexism. It’s all emotional stuff. It’s imposed from the outside, learned on the inside. It affects even the most successful woman and the kindest, most inclusive man. Hope Jahren, has paid her dues and has written a testament to her struggle that is an excellent read.
Her story isn’t a roadmap to succeeding in a male-dominated field (hers is botany), but it will reinforce your own feeling of exclusion and disappointment. There is a loneliness in traveling this long road without sympathy or understanding. While, as Jahren says, sexism is complex and multifactorial, it is a weight that is exhausting to carry. No matter your brilliance or your toughness, you will always be judged by your chromosomes. And that is crazy-making.
Overcome Sexism or at Least Understand It
There are ways to overcome sexism, but to recognize it for what it is and understand that you are not at fault is a good first step. It is my hope that you will stay tuned for more ideas about overcoming sexism and succeeding in your workplace. Meanwhile, take a moment to dive into Lab Girl. The first section, Roots and Leaves describes the growth of a tree and how it serves as a metaphor for her life. I was amazed at her ideas at every turning. A great read.
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