A Woman Who Works In An Office Full Of Men (In Equal Roles) Is Always Asked To Get Them Coffee, And 23 More Frustrating Stories Of Women Being Belittled At Work

    #4: "I have walked into a courtroom in a suit, checked in for a case, and overheard the judge say to the other side, 'counsel for so and so is here,' and had the other (male) attorney look around the room, right past me, and go, 'Where is he?'"

    Last week, BuzzFeed featured a story about Delta Airlines pilot Laura Haynor, who was speaking at an amendment hearing on Minnesota's sick and safe time law when Republican Sen. Gene Dornink referred to her as a "stewardess."

    “I’m a Minneapolis based pilot for Delta airlines.”

    “Tell me what a typical workweek is like for you as a stewardess.” pic.twitter.com/ty7fWeNTYH

    — Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) March 14, 2024
    CBS Minnesota / Via Twitter: @yashar

    The event spurred tons of outage and, unsurprisingly, a lot of women could relate to their profession being belittled. Here are their personal stories:

    1. "I’m an engineer, and I grew up with parents in construction. I purchased a foreclosure and remodeled it. My baby boomer, caucasian HVAC repairman was shocked by my remodeling work and told me at least 60 times that I should have been a boy."

    "He could not stop saying it. I told him my dad was very proud I am a girl with these talents."

    Late July

    2. "I am a woman and lawyer. I got to a deposition early and was talking with one of the other attorneys in the room, a man. The third attorney, a man, walked in and threw his business card at me, thinking I was the court reporter."

    "1. No one should treat court reporters that way. 2. I threw his card back at him and told him I am an attorney. He looked sheepish and mumbled what I assume was a half-hearted apology. This is only one of many stories I and my fellow women lawyers I know have. It’s infuriating."


    3. "Shoutout to every man who saw my DAV tag and asked me which branch my father/husband served in, then went on to balk in disbelief when I told them I’m the veteran, full stop."

    "Special shoutout to men who saw me in uniform and straightaway accused me of stolen valor."


    4. "I have walked into a courtroom in a suit and checked in for a case and overheard the judge say to the other side, 'counsel for so and so is here,' and had the other (male) attorney look around the room, right past me, and go, 'Where is he?'"

    "I also do initial screener calls for intake clients. They get an email telling them the attorney will be contacting them at such and such time. Several times a week, however, I call an intake client, and they answer, disappointed, and go, 'Wait, they told me I was going to meet with a lawyer,' thinking I am a secretary. I'm always like, 'Yup. You are. And here I am, calling you at the very time of your lawyer appointment.' My male paralegal is regularly assumed to be the attorney when he contacts people on my cases, even when they know my female identifiable name."


    5. "I was a carpenter…and a female. I was up in the rafters of a house and adding joist hangers. A man in a BUSINESS SUIT walks in, looks up at me, and says, 'Can I help you?'"

    "I look down and say, 'Do you know how to do what I am doing?' He says, 'No,' and I pause, and then say, 'Then why do you think you can help me?'"


    6. "I'm a mortician. Of the four other morticians I work with, only one is male; he works at the same location as me. I have been working in this industry for nearly 10 years, and served countless families multiple times. They know me."

    "But since he returned from retirement, I have been confused as the secretary more times than I care to count. He was retired through COVID-19, and he didn't have a clue what it was like to care for (prep, arrange, and service set) five [or more] families in a day, six days a week, but I'm the secretary."


    7. "I work in a hospital. EVERY time I tell someone where I work, the ONLY response I get is, 'Oh, so you’re a nurse.'"

    "Nobody has ever said doctor, or any of the dozens of other positions in healthcare (physical therapist, occupational therapist, respiratory, X-ray tech, phlebotomist, etc.). Even if the only options were doctor and nurse, you'd think at least once in a while someone would say doctor. Nope. Never happens."


    8. "In my early 20s, I was in a management position in a warehouse. Of course, most of my subordinates were men. At first, the major complaint was that I was 'obviously' getting by on my looks and sleeping my way to the top."

    "And when I showed them that I could lift as much, burp as loudly, and curse as eloquently as they could, the new major complaint was that I was 'unladylike.' We can’t fucking win."


    9. "I was a firefighter for 25 years — I worked with structural firefighting, hazmat, confined space, extrication, driving the apparatus, and worked my way up the ranks to be chief of my fire company for six years."

    "I was also a fire instructor, fire inspector, and was on the state fire commission writing state code. When I mention this to people, every single fucking time, to this day, they assume I was an EMT only, because girls are allowed to do first aid and nothing else."


    10. "I drove a monster truck (I am small in stature), and I would put it on display at events."

    "As males, young and old, would come up, they’d ask me who the driver was, and I’d say 'me,' and they’d either go silent or give me an atta’ girl, or they would outright say, 'We need to see you get up in there.' Like I had to PROVE I actually drove the damn truck."


    11. "A long time ago, I was friends with a married couple (male/female), and they were both ministers."

    "They were guest officiants at a church. The woman delivered the message, and the husband assisted with the service. After the service, they stood at the door and greeted people. A couple of people told her she gave a nice 'talk' — heaven forbid they acknowledge it was a sermon. BUT the worst was when a female parishioner came through the line, said nothing to the woman, shook hands with the husband, and told him HE did a good job preaching!! Things like that are why I’m no longer in organized religion."


    12. "I was asked to take notes in a meeting of equals where I was the only woman. I was called 'dear' by an older man in a meeting. I was asked to bring the coffee pot in by a man in a meeting of equals. Older white men, in particular, only know women as wives, daughters, and secretaries. They can become very uncomfortable with businesswomen. They don’t know how to act. They probably feel they have to watch their language, and be careful not to tell off-color jokes, and they don't like it."

    "It’s not different now. Now, 50 years later when I play golf with my husband and his law partners, they act uncomfortable. I can swear like a sailor and laugh at their off-color jokes, but there is still a sense of tension. I believe it's because they know they need to watch themselves in case their jokes take a racial, anti-women, or sexually inappropriate tone. Their guy friends wouldn't diss them for it, but they're pretty sure I would. They are right."


    13. "My sister once got told she was 'not a real lawyer, just an assistant' because this idiot didn't know what Assistant State's Attorney meant."


    14. "I was a financial advisor, the only female out of 60. During a meeting, the president asked me in front of everyone to step out and 'go grab a cup of coffee' because I 'didn’t need to hear this.' I was shocked."

    "All the advisors looked at me as I left confused. I finally asked everyone what the hell they were discussing in the meeting. They said the company harassment policies! So it looked like I had complained, which I didn't; it was a lady in another department. That place was nuts."


    15. "I am a highly experienced (10 years) service advisor at a Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership in the south."

    "I constantly hear 'I want to speak to one of the men in the back,' 'You probably won’t know the answer to this,' or, 'Oh I thought you were the receptionist.' It’s SO frustrating this still happens."


    16. "Back when I worked customer-facing tech support and computer repair, a customer came in needing a computer dropped off for a quote. I was still in the repair room so I hustled out to take care of it. I walk out with the man's computer, find out what happened, and make the quote to him. THIS MAN."

    "He looked me dead in the eye and said, 'I'll wait for the technician.' I looked him dead in the eye and coldly said, 'Sir. I AM the technician. Would you like to leave your computer to be repaired?' It was fun to watch him deflate visibly and quietly say 'Yes, please' to me. Just 'cause I have boobs, doesn't mean I don't also have a brain, asshole!"


    17. "I spent 35+ years as a special education paraprofessional working directly with students who had a wide variety of needs."

    "When people referred to me as 'a teacher's aide,' I eventually started to speak up, letting them know that a teacher's aide is a pencil, computer, library corner, or Smart Board, and such tools. I'm a special education paraprofessional. That’s the title that defines the job."


    18. "I’m a woman in tech who works as a software support engineer, and the countless times a day my solution/idea is questioned/doubted is exhausting."

    "I’ve had clients specifically even ask for a male colleague. Who actually just repeated the info I had given him anyway. I’m the senior most person on the team and have won best in my role awards at work. It just doesn’t matter to a lot of people."


    19. "I’m a retired Air Force Officer (Navigator) and so is my husband. I first entered the military as an Army-enlisted WAC in 1975. After three years, I took a break to use my GI bill benefits for my undergraduate degree and joined the Air Force as an officer."

    "My husband and I both have Air Force license plates. When we are together, people thank my husband for his service and walk past me. No one says a word when I'm alone in my car. They assume the plate is because of my husband's service."


    20. "I once had a doctor refuse to believe I worked as a chef to the point that he put a note in my medical file saying that I will lie to make myself seem important. He kept correcting me when I told him I was a chef and informing me I was a waitress."


    21. "I was a dancer and ran my own dance company."

    "Whenever I brought my boyfriend to shows, people almost always assumed he was my manager. He could've been anything, like an assistant or whatever, but they assumed that he was in charge."


    22. "I was an engineer and a subject matter expert on a login system for our external facing business servers. I was paged to an incident bridge."

    "I told them I was there, and one of the senior VPs said they didn’t need another project manager. I calmly said that is good because I’m the system engineer here to fix LOGIN."


    23. "I owned my own hair salon for 17 years. So many times I was asked, is your husband here? Also from other women. No! I’m the owner! I make the decisions!"

    "I also had an international businessman come in reading a newspaper. I asked what article he was reading and started an intelligent and in-depth conversation with him about it. He was shocked and actually said he was surprised by how intelligent I was and asked why I was doing 'just hair.' Ugh!"


    24. And finally, "In the early 2000s, I worked as head of International Research & Development for a Fortune 500 construction company. I was called a secretary, asked to get coffee, and told to type contracts."

    "One male engineer said I couldn't possibly understand his job requirements. Another asked if I was working because I couldn't find a husband."


    I love that everyone is sticking up for themselves! If you've ever personally experienced something like this, we'd love to hear from you. Please share your story in the comments below.