Nope.  No extra barriers, playing field even, no systemic problems to see here…

‘Of course she would have to avoid stereotypical female behavior, and so she could never cry. She would work long hours and hide her pregnancies and her preschooler’s art. One of my co-workers even hid being married. When confronted, she practically swore never to reproduce, and she never did.

I did not mention my first maternity leave, from which I returned to find a curly-haired stranger sitting at my desk, his feet propped on a cardboard box with my client account list packed inside. I had to re-earn the contents of that box, starting that morning. I also didn’t mention the “moo” sounds that traders made when I headed to the nurse’s office with a breast pump, or the colleague who on a dare drank a shot of the breast milk I had stored in the office fridge. I thought of the guy known for dropping Band-Aids on women’s desks when the trading floor was cold because he didn’t “want to be distracted,” and the many times I had heard a women share an idea at a meeting, only to see later that same idea credited to a man.

But I didn’t bring up any of that. Women like me were “team players,” and I was often complimented on my thick skin. Like members of a dysfunctional family, we kept our secrets to ourselves.

Instead, I kept the conversation light. I shared a funny story about my first day on Wall Street, when I opened up a pizza box to find condoms instead of pepperoni slices. Unwrapped. I was “the new girl,” and the guys just wanted to see me blush. I did blush, and I lived.

“It’s not that bad anymore,” I said with a laugh.

She was horrified. “How could you stand that?”

“Stand what?” I thought to myself. I remembered one guy telling me that we should hire only “women who have brothers.” I asked if she had any brothers. The pizza incident was nothing compared with everything else she was about to experience. I truly thought we were offering her the job of a lifetime if only she could let the bad stuff slide.

At that time, women on Wall Street were earning 55 to 62 cents to every dollar a man in the same position earned. Afterward, Bear Stearns imploded in the mortgage market, and while I stayed close to the markets and the people who worked for them, I left. Children gave me perspective about the price of money. The women labeled stellar successes were giving up more than I was willing to part with. With the benefit of some perspective, I began to think more deeply about what I and my female colleagues had experienced.”

[Source: The New York Times]

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