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Women Are Talking About The "Female Duties" They've Been Asked To Do At Work, And I Have Literal Steam Coming Out Of My Ears

"I'm the one with the uterus, so guess who they asked..."

Who handles things like events, housekeeping, and administrative duties in your workplace? Chances are it's a woman, and these duties may not even be an actual part of her job — she's probably not getting paid extra to do them, either. And this combo of extra work with little-to-no reward, plus a side of global pandemic, means she's at a greater risk of burning out.

business woman screaming in rage and throwing papers at her desk

So we asked women in the BuzzFeed Community to share the extra stuff they've been asked to do at work that their male colleagues never have to even think about. Here's what they had to say:

1. "I was the lead project manager reporting directly to the CEO for a male-dominated digital marketing firm. If our admin wasn't there, I was expected to make coffee, deliver coffee to clients, clean up the office, etc. Every other person in that particular office (all male) was my subordinate, yet I was not permitted to delegate those tasks to them because they were 'too busy.'"

2. "We have a Christmas party in the office every year, and everyone can bring their families if they want. Only the women get asked to take babysitting shifts, no one else. Yes, the moms are there, but they usually go off with their husbands to see what 'they do' in the office, so the workers are left to watch the rug rats, and only women."

"I never signed up, ever. My manager had asked me to, saying that no one else was available. I said, 'What about Joe in billing? Have you checked with HIM? Or the other male manager?' The look on her face was priceless. I said I have never done it and not about to start now. She went off about me being a team player, and I said my job description didn't include watching children."


3. "LAUNDRY!!!! I work in a veterinary clinic that uses towels for the kennels and cloth coveralls for the vets. Guess which gender were all sent an email about remembering to switch the laundry."


4. "At a new job, my older male supervisor called me 'honey' while requesting I make coffee. First, I am not an executive assistant. Second, I do not drink coffee. Third, I replied by calling him 'sweetheart.' He never called me 'honey' or asked me to make coffee again."

5. "This has happened in a couple of jobs at different companies. Big Boss assigns me to gather data from team members for a project (yet another thing women tend to get assigned instead of men). Even though Boss told everyone about it, there were still men I had to chase down and remind multiple times."

"One project required weekly data from some contributors; project ran for more than two years. Two men had to be reminded each and every week that they needed to do this. No one had to remind the female contributors, and no one had to remind me to get the data."


6. "Appear happy or cheery at all times. I once had someone approach me after a meeting that went absolutely fine and say, 'You seemed upset; what’s wrong?' And I had NO idea what she was talking about, so I said, 'No? Everything is fine; I thought the meeting went well.' And she would not let up, until finally she asked me again, 'You really seem upset,' and I said, 'That’s just my face.' And that finally seemed to get through to her."


7. "When I was working as a waitress, I was told I should wear makeup to work. I never wear makeup, and the male waiters were NOT told the same thing."

8. "Anything that might fall under 'housekeeping' or typically female duties (eyeroll) like organizing social functions, general tidying, baking, and organizing gifts. Apparently we 'like doing those things'… Over the years, I’ve had to learn to be explicitly clear about what I’m happy to do or not do; otherwise it just magically becomes your job because you’re female."


9. "In the middle of a technical conversation about a high-priority project, my coworker told me, 'If you ever see dishes in the sink, you should just do them. We have to take pride in our office,' while staring at a sink full of dishes leftover from HIS meeting. I told him we are responsible for our own dishes here. He said, 'Of course, but sometimes people get distracted and are too busy to come back.' I asked him if he planned on doing the dishes in the sink."

10. "I was taking part in a research project in my uni, and our team was led by an old and pretty 'traditional' professor. We had a shared Google doc in which we would write our results, and eventually the doc became a huge mess. During one of our meetings, the professor said, 'OK, someone has to get the data in the doc organized properly. We need a girl for that; girls are always tidy and neat.'"

"I felt like saying, 'Dear professor, please come to our dorm and have a look at our girls' room, which can stay filthy for weeks and no one gives a damn, and then at the boys' room next door, which gets cleaned every week!'"


11. "I worked at the local hospital cafeteria as a cashier when I was 20. One of the male managers grabbed my shirt sleeve, yanked it a couple times, and told me my shirt was too wrinkly and not to come to work looking like that. Mind you, the shirt they gave me went down to almost my knees, and the shirt sleeves were to my elbow. Not easy keeping it crisp when it was bunched and folded on me. Later on, I noticed how disheveled most of the guys looked."


12. "Suggesting a solution and being met with blank stares — only to have a man say the same thing later and be met with praise and atta-boys from the other men in the room. I called it out several times before I stopped speaking in meetings and let them crash and burn — then I will provide a solution."

13. "I worked in a male-dominated field as a safety and compliance officer for over a decade. My boss expected me and the other woman (an accountant) to clean up EVERYONE'S offices, bathrooms, and reception areas. None of the male employees were ever asked to help, let alone clean their own offices."


14. "Whenever I start dating a new guy, my male coworkers would immediately say, 'You better not get pregnant. We can't afford to have you leave for 15 months.'"


15. "Decorating for parties and cutting the goddamned birthday cake for everyone. Why is it always me? There are like five dads at the party — why does the rando girl have to cut it?"

16. "I am expected to book all offsite meetings, get everyone’s lunch order, and make sure the room has water, coffee, etc. I take meeting notes and make the agenda for all of our leadership meetings. If someone wants to present in a meeting, I’m expected to pull out my laptop and move my mouse around the screen instead of the man just doing it by himself. I'm the head of our marketing department, by the way."

"I’m a member of the leadership team. We have administrative assistants whose role is to support the leadership team, but I’m still expected to do their duties too."


17. "Tomorrow, one of my team is going on maternity leave. Of the three managers in the department, I'm the only one without children. I don't have any experience with babies. I don't have any interest in babies. I don't have any idea what new mothers want or need. But I'm the one with a uterus, so guess who was asked to organize the collection and went shopping for baby gifts?"


18. "Meeting notes. Apparently men are incapable of taking, transcribing, and distributing them. However, doing them makes me look 'disengaged,' so I get removed from the email chain, project, and team. All because not one man can track a meeting."

19. "When I was 14, I worked in my local fish and chip shop. During a particularly slow shift, the duty manager got me to iron his shirt he was going to wear out that evening."


20. "I've been asked to get coffee for random people, not like for a meeting or special event. I'll get a message that says, 'Hey, I am busy. Would you get me some coffee?'"


21. "The head of sales thought that I was his new assistant, despite being the only marketer at the company and having my hands full. He would constantly come into my office and ask me to do admin tasks for him and got more rude as I told him no. I finally hit my limit when he came into my cube abruptly during a hectic day and said, 'Make this a PDF for me.'"

22. "I worked at a retreat facility that invited local schools out for field trips right after I graduated college. I had to teach various classes to the students and their chaperones. For a few weeks, I was the only female on staff, and every male chaperone that critiqued me would say things like, 'She doesn’t smile enough,' 'She takes things too seriously,' 'Her demeanor isn’t gentle,' and so on. None of the male instructors ever received criticism like that. My male boss even wrote me up for it after the third school this happened with."

"He told me that claiming the critiques were sexist was a cop out for my bad attitude. So he decided to sit in on one of my classes to tell me how to improve. When the class was over, he said I was fine. He didn’t notice anything wrong, and when the critiques came in, as negative as they had been, I got written up again! Three years later, this man is now a father to a baby girl. I hope he learns his lesson before she’s old enough to realize what a misogynistic ass her father is."


23. "I work in public health and was in charge of a team of nurses and infection preventionists tasked with keeping our most vulnerable residents safe from COVID. It's highly technical work that requires a lot of infection prevention knowledge and a deep understanding of state/federal regulations that guide each one of the facilities we work with. My male co-worker demanded that I explain what 'close-contact' meant to him so he could be sure I understood it."

"The work I was doing was leagues beyond understanding that, but it didn't matter. I was a woman; he had to check. He also asked the women in my position before me to schedule meetings for him. I hope his wife is OK."


24. "I work in a building where everyone has offices except the front desk administrators. When they have to step away from the front, only the women are asked to 'watch the door' to greet and assist people entering the building. I've called this out, but it still happens."

25. "Inevitably the women are asked where the tissues are (same place they were last time you asked!) or if we have Tylenol. These were all grown, college-educated, professional men who acted as if they were helpless. Not your mother, not your wife. If you tsk-tsk’d them, you were looked at like YOU were the problem or a harpy."


26. "I work in an agency that hosts a lot of events for local people. Our boss almost always assigns the four women in my office the task of making baskets and calling prospective guests and clients, which mind you can be done by anyone. Even on the day of the event, the men in the office aren’t assigned any of the difficult work. To justify it, our boss says that women are more 'nurturing' and that, 'We’d do a great job with it,' and every once in a while he’ll refer to us as 'the females.' No matter how often I try to allude to how sexist it is, it doesn’t seem to change."


27. And finally, "Plan parties and buy birthday cakes with the assumption that I know everyone’s birthday. I’m a supervisor, and I’ve been asked what I’m doing for an employee's birthday that isn’t on my team. I was asked to plan a Mother’s Day party for the moms at work the week after I returned from my mother's funeral."

Women, has anything like this ever happened to you? Share your experiences in the comments.

And for more stories about work and money, like how millennials are paying off their student loans for good, check out the rest of our personal finance posts