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How to deal with a sexist work environment
What to do when a joke, a look, or even just a casual remark turn your job sour?
Career 29 Nov 2022

How to deal with a sexist work or co-worker environment
We have all been there,   . From a comment from the gallerist about your outfit up to a client giving you that extra remark that is to much, also in the art world we are surrounded my some alpha males. It is one of the most difficult situations to deal with as a woman. Let’s face it, we have come a long way but there is always a sense that as a women you have to work ten times more than men to get to a good position, and you have to deal with a hundred times more bul****, please pardon my language. So here are some solutions to some of the most common problems faced by women in the work place and some suggestions on how to deal with them.
A casual remark:
Ever heard something like ‘smile a little more’ or ‘you’re being emotional’. Well this one is one of the easiest to comeback to. Just call it as you see it, and tell the person their comment is gendered, that it really makes you uncomfortable. I understand sometimes this is easier said than done, but if you nip it in the bud early on you may never have to hear something like it again.
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Role assumptions:
This is the kind of scenario where you might hear ‘this is backbreaking work, let Tom/John/Adam do it.’ Truly it might just be moving a box of white sheet papers from storage to office. I mean no one wants to do it but there is absolutely no logical reason as to why women should not be doing this. You might hear some comment within these lines at an install/deinstall where there is ‘physical’ work. Just explain you are as capable as any other person in the room.
Physical appearance:
Ever been told you’re not dressing professionally, that your outfit/haircut/nail-polish colour choice is not appropriate for no good reason. Unless you’re showing up at the gallery in a bikini there is no reason why anything within professional boundaries should cause a stir.
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You’re the ‘organiser’:
As soon as there is party/dinner/birthday or even there is a food order for lunch you somehow end up taking care of everything. This is preposterous, suggest rotating responsibility.
You get put on the back-burner:
Were you ever at a meeting with collector/artist/client with a male work colleague and suddenly they’re asking him the questions when you were the one speaking? Well, re-direct their attention towards you, and emphasise you are the one in charge.
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There are other ways in which you might experience sexist at work remember to always speak up as soon as you notice anything. If people tell you’re being too sensitive or too touchy remind them you have every reason to be. Historically women have been put in the side line at work, home and in society, it is not being sensitive it is being realistic.

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