Sexist jokes are vile and unacceptable. However, I object to a study that uses this yardstick to understand whether women fit in under these circumstances.
A Melbourne Business School report found that companies lack strategy to tackle "low level sexism" despite having policies in place that target "overt" sexual harassment.
The risk factors of sexism, sexual harassment and gender stereotyping were found to be key characteristics of male-dominated work environments, in industries such as natural sciences, engineering, medicine, police forces, military forces, information technology, law firms and financial services.
I find it curious that the entertainment industry is not included. This reveals how even feministic ideas do not pay attention to what they probably consider a ‘lesser’ profession. Do models and movie actresses permit sexism due to the nature of their jobs, which often objectifies them?
This would be hypothetical. With exceptions, what role do women play in the military and police forces? Besides the jokes, they are discriminated against anyway. In other fields, it depends on societal factors. The manner in which women are expected to perform is itself discriminatory, and many of them are partially to blame when they use terms like being better than men or like men, when they try to mimic men with power dressing.
It is the business of organisations to ensure that all their staff are not the recipients of jibes – be they sexist, racial religious, or physical.
The part about such a study that bothers me is it works as a trap and belittles women while seemingly rationalising how to empower them.
“If women feel they do not fit in or are not accepted as equals they are less likely to stay in their role or in the organisation.”
This gives the impression that women are weak and cannot fit in. The onus is put on them, instead of those who use sexist language. A workplace is not a cocoon. These are professional women who have gone to college, used public transport, interacted at small jobs, and with paternalistic family members and patronising well-wishers. They watch films and television; listen to music, read the papers. They are not ignorant about such slang. It is rather insulting to assume that what men say in passing would make them give up their careers. (I might add here that one is not talking about stalkers or dangerous characters out to destroy a woman.)
And if blonde jokes are so offensive, then why do women go and colour their hair light? Are there no successful blondes, or will someone have the gumption to say it is only because gentlemen prefer them?
By suggesting a “no just joking” policy, the bullying will not stop. Perhaps such studies should try and find out why bosses deny women equal pay and equal opportunities.
Such attempts at bridging the gender gap are merely cosmetic. It is the warts that need to be extricated.