The Little Woman July 23, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, feminism, societal commentary, work.
Tags: introductions, invisibility, sexism
Recently, we were in a situation where we ran into a colleague we’ve known for a while. This colleague (whom I shall call Colleague #1) had someone with him (Colleague #2). (I know…I’m boring. Maybe I should call them Bert and Ernie?) When Colleague #1 (Bert?) introduced us to Colleague #2 (Ernie?), Mike was introduced first with a mention about his work position. And I…I was introduced as his wife. There was absolutely no comparable mention of my professional attributes.
This is beyond annoying, especially when this person is someone with whom I only interact in professional settings. I don’t mind so much when we are introduced professionally and then, as note afterwards, someone will mention we are married (although I’m not sure why this is necessary). I even seem to vaguely recall one time when Mike was introduced as my husband, which was a bit amusing. At least I can’t say it’s never happened.
However, the situation where I am introduced strictly as his wife is something that people ought to know better than to do. This belittles my professional accomplishments and makes it seem like the most important thing I do is provide companionship to my husband and, probably, take care of his kids. It ignores the fact that I am a capable engineer and makes it appear that I have nothing more to add to the conversation than perhaps the affirming nod here and there.
To his credit, there have been occasions where Mike has picked up on this and brought it up himself when the person introducing us to someone has failed to give me ‘equal due’. Still, I’m irritated that it happens so often. I’m surprised that I haven’t yet been introduced as Mike’s little woman.
(As a side note, just as I was about to post this, I noticed I’d already tagged another post ‘introductions’. Wow…deja vu. I think I need to stop letting people introduce me and start doing it myself.)