When she’s the one who transgresses

The invalidation often starts as a form of disclosed prejudice, for which entering a profession is refused to a woman since she is a woman. In this case, Her request results so implausible and outrageous to the eyes of the employer so as to not even need to be concealed.

I wanted to go and work in that restaurant at all costs, but when I called the owner he always said no; his words were, “I don’t want women in the kitchen”.

Once the entry barrier has been overcome, the invalidation continues with what Gresy (2010) calls obstructionism. This can take on different appearances. The dominant male, of which even women can make themselves accomplices, shows up by not letting them do the jobs for which they are qualified, or by diverting them to female tasks. Another strategy consists of constantly doubting their abilities, which frequently emerges in waiting for the consequent (desired) failure.

Like going up on a roof in a fire… roof… in the night like… there was this firemen  who said to me, “No, it’s dangerous” [laughing] because it’s frozen and slippery. I threw the things down on the ground and walked off.

Once I was in a customer’s house and the furniture wouldn’t go in. The husband took one look at me and said to his wife out loud: “I told you that a woman isn’t able to take measurements!”.

The invalidation also goes through not using titles contextually recognised to male colleagues, even in situations in which it would be legitimate and appropriate to use them.

At meetings they all called each other Engineer but they called me by my surname.

Just because you are a woman they call you by name: “Laura?”, “Miss Laura?”. And I don’t turn round!

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