Do you feel like the odd woman out at work? Are you one of the few female employees at the company, and do you often feel like the rest of your coworkers just do not take you seriously?
If so, the company could be suffering from a “Boys’ Club” culture that is never going to be extended to you. This can hamper your career development and chances for advancement. When workplace behaviors result in discrimination, it can also be illegal.
What is a Boys’ Club?
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it was very well defined in Forbes, where it was written “Boys’ clubs are toxic social networks that depend on exclusivity and access for their power.” It’s an unofficial club, of course, but it’s rooted in the history of the workplace. Think of it as similar to a fraternity on a college campus.
In essence, the historical model for families in the United States says that a man should work and his wife should not. Her job is to take care of the house and the children.
In the modern era, it’s easy to see how outdated and ludicrous this is. The problem is that many companies have not changed since the “good ol’ days.” They may have allowed women to join the workforce, but they also created Boys’ Clubs that adhere to this same outdated view of the world. In their eyes, they are the only ones who should really be there.
As a result, they spend more time together. They build stronger relationships. They give each other promotions, referrals and other assistance in the workforce. And, intentionally and unintentionally, they discriminate against employees — like you — who do not fit their narrow view of the world. You feel like the odd woman out because they are actively pushing you to the margins every chance that they get.
What can you do?
If you have seen this type of discrimination at work, you know how unfair it feels. Now it’s time to learn about your legal options and how you can take action when your rights are violated.