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You know what they say about assumptions… March 29, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, feminism, societal commentary.
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This past week, Mike and I had a meeting with some people on a project that I had run.  One of the people was someone I’d met before as we’d interfaced on another project.  As we all sat down and finished up our introductions, this person faced Mike and started asking him questions about the current project.  After a couple questions, it was pretty clear that he thought Mike was in charge of things.  I sort of inwardly sighed and waited.  I’ve had this happen more times than I care to recall.

After about the third question, Mike said, “Well, Cherish is actually the one who came up with the idea, so I think she’d be better at addressing these issues.”  From that point on, things were a lot more balanced.

I spoke with Mike afterwards, and I asked if he noticed this person focusing on him initially.

“Oh yes, that’s why I turned it over to you as quickly as possible and then left the room for a few minutes.  If I wasn’t there, he’d have to talk to you.”

It was bothering the both of us, however, that we couldn’t tell if this person had focused on him because he knew me from this other project or if it was the stereotypical ‘the guy must be in charge’ assumption.  Either way, I would have preferred if he had asked first which of us was leading the project rather than making assumptions.

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