Just as the article says, I am upset, but sadly not surprised. Although Mr. O’Brady’s experience occurred in the the 1990’s, I believe it is safe to say not much has changed in recent years. According to the article:
In the U.S., sex discrimination was the third most frequently filed charge by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the 2012 fiscal year with 30,356 charges, or about 30 percent of all charges.
A recent Twitter conversation inspired Mr. O’Brady to write a blog that has since gone viral about the moment he realized why he wasn’t getting interviewed for jobs that should have been a “shoe-in”.
Somewhere after the four month mark my confidence was starting to take a hit. The people rejecting me were business people too, how could my reasoning that I was perfect for these jobs be so different to theirs? Putting on my most serious business head I went back and scoured my CV [curriculum vitae]. It was the only contact any of my potential employers or their recruitment companies had had with me. My CV was THE common denominator and if something was wrong it MUST be there.
I had fortunately seen a number of CVs in my time. I was happy with the choice of style and layout, and the balance of detail versus brevity. I was particularly pleased with the decision I made to brand it with my name with just enough bold positioning to make it instantly [recognizable,] and as I sat scouring every detail of that CV a horrible truth slowly dawned on me. My name.
My first name is Kim. Technically its gender neutral but my experience showed that most people’s default setting in the absence of any other clues is to assume Kim is a women’s name. And nothing else on my CV identified me as male. At first I thought I was being a little paranoid but engineering, trades, sales and management were all definitely male dominated industries. So I pictured all the managers I had over the years and, forming an amalgam of them in my mind, I read through the document as I imagined they would have. It was like being hit on the head with a big sheet of unbreakable glass ceiling.
As a woman, this is very discouraging. How can we as a society change our general way of thinking? Must I just come to terms with the fact my daughter will have to work twice as hard as her brother for just a chance at opportunity?