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The Little Woman July 23, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, feminism, societal commentary, work.
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I’ve discussed both the drawbacks (and here) and benefits of working with my husband before.  Today, however, I’m feeling like discussing another drawback.

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.)

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Comments»

1. Cop Car - July 23, 2013

More aaarrrghhh! It happens. If the only reason I am meeting the person(s) is because they know my husband, I let it go. Like your husband, my husband has been known to let a person know why they should know me – other than my being his spouse. Sorry that people (around you, around me, around us women) aren’t more educated on the subject; but, I don’t think we get much traction by batting them on the head over it.

Please consider these occasions as helping you to learn more patience – whether you need to learn more or not! I’m sure that you are teaching your son(s) [forgive me that I don’t recall whether you have one or two, please] better. I do think that the younger a person is, the less likely she is to make the faux pas; but that is not a guarantee.

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mareserinitatis - July 24, 2013

I actually wonder if it’s more of a difference between men whose wives are more career oriented than these guys’ wives. I know of one colleague who was introducing my husband to another person, and somehow I was mentioned in the conversation. It was actually the colleague who mentioned some stuff about my work, but this colleague’s wife is also career oriented in a technical field.

So that leads me to think that men whose wives aren’t as tied to their careers are less likely to think about other women in those terms, as well.

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2. Cop Car - July 23, 2013

Hmmm… I thought that, in the last sentence, I had written s/he. Let’s see if both sexes are indicated in this addendum.

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