Following the groundswell of energy from SWE’s record-breaking WE20 virtual conference, the social media buzz included “afterglow” from the conference, thoughts on the impact of COVID and the difficulties of 2020, plus expressions of hope heading into the new year. The importance of mentoring, with January being Mentoring Month, was prominently featured. Personal stories expressing the value of being a mentor/mentee and news of SWE’s mentoring program, including timelines and instructions on how to participate, were part of the mix.
One post from an article, “We Need to Talk About Using Pet Names for Women at Work,” originally published in Fast Company, generated interesting discussion, with just a few of the many comments shown below.
The male equivalent of girl is boy. Imagine using boy to refer to men in the workplace. Problematic on all levels. Girl is also common in popular culture, so hard to get away from. Being a manager in an industrial plant in the Deep South, my way of encouraging respectful labels was usually to respond with a puzzled look and an “excuse me?” I never had to do that twice. Backing up other women who express discomfort is also important.
I called a bunch of my male engineering colleagues at a previous company “boys” once. You would think I insulted their parentage and everything else they held dear; they were so offended. They didn’t call me girl after that tho.
I find “Sweetheart” very misogynistic.
Definitely speak up! If your coworker uses a name or pronoun that makes you uncomfortable, gently correct them 1:1. Some people just need to be broken of habits they won’t stop on their own because they don’t mean anything bad by it. If it continues and they don’t seem like they are trying to be better, call them out publicly “hey, I asked you to call me x instead of y, please try to remember this.”
“Girl” drives me crazy at work when I hear it. And I always remind the person either woman or her name. Say Her Name.
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