• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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The boys’ club, myth or reality?


When the female marines came on board in my opinion, members of the boys’ club feared a member of the boys’ club would soon hear her opinion and tow her way. What worries me is how it appears that the business of grouping together against the female starts so early, even my little boys tell me with an attitude that ‘they are going out with daddy.’ I can actually hear unsaid ‘it’s a boys’ only outing, no mummies’!

I read recently that in California, USA, female leaders in entertainment, finance, education, law, and media joined a group of high school girls and college women to discuss the “status of women and girls in California.” At the event, participants learnt that women in the state earned more associate, bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees than their male peers.

However, only 62 percent of these women were employed full-time, versus 72 percent of men, earning 84 cents on the male dollar. Women still occupied traditionally female – and traditionally undervalued – occupations like health care, education, and administrative jobs, men still made more money than women in all those fields.

Reason tells us that women’s educational successes haven’t directly translated to workplace gains. They did discuss the ‘boys’ club matters, but I doubt that, that alone can be responsible for this seeming lag.’

Many participants had various stories to tell. Everyone appeared to have experienced some level of gender bias, but dismissed it as a fluke.

Most of the women said they were taught in early class that straight As will get them everywhere! Clearly, these advisors banked only on objective assessment.

A particular participant reported that male dominance of her field left a persistent drain on her. Powerful women were often dismissed as bitches, then neutralised. Others dropped out and had children. Naturally, her career ambitions narrowed. She even started to see every other person as a threat, including women! Perhaps, because she had internalised the idea that there was not room for all of us. She didn’t have any ledger on which to chart this slow sexism that marked her industry, no objective report to confirm that the bias mattered. And so, more often or not, it is dismissed with a wave of a hand!

After reading the series of discouraging facts by various women at the conference, I was forced to remember some Mentor to Protégée advice I had read somewhere, titled ‘How to break into the Boys’ Club.’ Here, the Protégée was advised to study the sports page, if you don’t like golf or football, you’ll be forced to talk about it with the men who will be your bosses some day. Hmm, I thought to myself, can one wave this topic away or otherwise? does this club really exist? We’ve got to take a deeper dive to see, and I hope we do get people willing to share their experiences.