july 27th, 2014
“Pregnable women are flight risks, and it's better not to hire them,” say lunching IBM execs. Mmf. Discouraging, infuriating. Yes.
But also: I'm pleased that their argument against hiring women is “it's a drag to accommodate their family choices” and not “women are hysterical, not good at their jobs, unfunny airheads with distracting boobs” kai, ta, loipa.
Like: it comes across to me as “we hire quality people, and then they get pregnant and leave us! And then who are we stuck with? These assholes!! [gestures at typing pool of men]”
That's a very generous read on it. Yah. I am a generous woman.
Like: it's possible that those middle-aged male IBM execs still do think all those shitty things about women, but know better than to say such things in public. So they bitch about maternity leave instead. Like: they believe this is a very masked, very understated, very subtle sexism.
Still. It's cool to me that they even feel like they have to mask it. And cooler still to believe that they sexistly prefer lady hires but for having to accommodate family realities.
I've heard before that the discrepancy in pay between men and women can mostly be explained by maternity leave, and also that women don't like to negotiate pay the way men do.
About a year ago I raised rates on two male clients to reflect market value for my skills. I notified both using a boilerplate email template from a male colleague who reported 100% success using it with his own clients.
One of my clients went alpha-dominant and wrote a mean little email asking if he needed to “hire someone else” or could I “be reasonable.” The other client went submissive-emotionally manipulative and asked me to think of his mortgage and his children and accept a significantly lower rate.
Difficult to make scientifically valid conjectures from only two data points, but in both cases I wondered: would I be getting either of these treatments if I were a dude?