What is your role at Chemistry and what does that entail?
I’m a consultant here at Chemistry! My role entails managing the delivery of our services to our clients and bringing the insights!
How are you celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day?
Recently I spent some time at the Lesbian Herstory Archives (http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/) and bought a number of books on the politics and philosophy of gender. So this year, I am celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History month by reading all those books and nerding out. I think it’s incredibly important for us to not only work daily to advance the lives of women everywhere, but also to understand where we’ve come from and the roots of the movement.
Has there ever been a time in your career where you felt being a woman has held you back?
The times when I have found the greatest level of discrimination during my career so far have been during job interviews. I am a butch woman. What this means is that I tend not to wear any of the clothes you might find in the “Women’ s” section of your business-casual dress code. This is not to say I don’t look damn good when I need to get my smart on, but instead means that when I walk into your corporate office for an assessment centre, I’m probably going to be the only woman in a suit. The reactions I have experienced really vary, but often I have found the interviewer to seem completely uncomfortable with the person I was, and to treat me very weirdly or with caution, because I don’t conform. The feedback I’ve gotten (when companies have been bothered enough to provide it- another issue in itself!) has always revolved around my professionalism, which I really see as a veiled way of saying “You don’t fit our boxes neatly, so we won’t hire you.”
Gender norms like dress codes, like the words used to describe women in the workplace, like expectations of etiquette, are all harmful as they force you to act out of your natural character, and keeping up this act everyday is tiresome and waste of energy I could spend doing my best work. What needs to change are these expectations that limit women and men and non-binary folks, not what I wear everyday.