Women in the Workplace
I don't normally have a strong opinion about women in the workplace or women in business or women's rights or other similar topics. I think of men and women as equals and kind of leave it at that. I realize physical therapy is a female-dominated profession. Okay. However, a series of unrelated stories, or experiences over my career thus far have made me stop and think, "What are women doing?" lately, and I thought I'd share them here. Tell me what you think.
1. A friend of mine received a brochure to attend a course titled "Communication Skills for Women," which includes a course objective of training to "control your emotions."
2. The first day of my first physical therapy job, one of my supervisors (a woman, if it matters) took me on a tour of the hospital and asked me if I was married or single.
3. At a CE course last year, I ate lunch with a few other women and one man. We discussed our jobs and education until the man politely left the table and then the conversation shifted to our kids and dating. Perhaps it was simply the normal flow of the conversation and it would have remained that way even if the man was still standing there, but I found it interesting.
4. I interviewed for six positions when I made the transition from acute care to outpatient last year, and all six of those interviews were with male supervisors or managers. I was surprised that in this profession, there weren't more females in the administrative or management realm of physical therapy.
So here are my questions, or thoughts, if I may humor you. Are there courses for men about controlling their emotions? Are men asked on their first day at a job what their relationship status is? Do groups of men discuss their child custody schedule at professional courses? Or is this just a girl thing?
I know there are differences between men and women, and there always will be. I've had miscommunications in both my professional and personal lives and I'm sure they came down to my communication style more than my gender, but I can't help but wonder if the experiences are due to a difference in X and Y chromosomes. Is it occasionally easier for women to connect, and therefore build professional relationships, by discussing their personal lives instead of their career goals? Is it sometimes easier for men to move up the "corporate ladder" in some industries because they communicate about different topics than women?
What do you think? Have you noticed situations similar to mine? Does it matter? Are these simply differences in how people communicate and form contacts with colleagues?