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The flip side of this question.

I work as a software engineer, often as a team leader. Software development is a male dominated field, and has been for my entire career. When I have had women (and foreigners, and LGBT people) on my team, I took the tact of ignoring these differences. They were a team member, and thus were included in all team things and held to the same high standard I have for all team members.

And like any other team member, they were an individual that I needed to treat individually based on their personality, skillset, communication style, motivations, desires, dislikes, etc. But I consciously avoided differential treatment of women (and...) - in part because it could be viewed as discriminatory in my locale, but mostly because I thought that was the best way to build a team.

But in working with the linked question, and seeing some other commentary, I realize that I never followed up with my team members to see if that was effective/right. Asking if they (as a woman) felt welcome would be going against this non-differential approach. And while I feel as though I have built good teams (based on feedback from the team and others), and had a good relationship with most of my team members, I acknowledge that women in particular face challenges in my field. Reading things like the linked question, I worry at times that I inadvertently contributed to them.

So, what can I do as a team leader to help women feel welcome in a male dominated field so that they are in the best position to succeed?

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    This is a hard lesson. portlandoregon.gov/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=449546 – Mooing Duck Apr 15 '15 at 20:31
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    Why not ask everyone if they felt welcome? – Ellen Spertus Apr 16 '15 at 2:28
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    @MooingDuck — is the intent of that link to suggest that female employees are incapable of functioning on the same level as their male colleagues without "standing on a box" or being given some other kind of special accommodation? Because that idea is highly offensive to many women. – user7444 Apr 16 '15 at 9:44
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    @OrbWeaver: actually I think it's an attempt to contradict the facile understanding that sometimes follows use of the word "equality". Whether that should be blamed on the choice of word or the people who choose to construe it in a facile way, I'm not sure ;-) I agree it's unfortunate that the picture shows an example where the characteristic of the person (height) is either "good" (you can see) or "bad" (you can't see) for the purpose (watching the game). That's not the case in this question. However, people may need different treatment to achieve some target equitable outcome (all can see). – Steve Jessop Apr 16 '15 at 12:24
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    @OrbWeaver - whether an idea is offensive is as irrelevant as it gets. What's important is is it true. – Davor Apr 16 '15 at 13:45

11 Answers 11

86

I prefer that my team members treat me like the individual that I am, and not as "the woman". Hold me to the same standards, and expect that I'm motivated by similar things as everyone else (recognition, a fair wage, good working conditions).

Yes, there are a couple of things that you can and should do for any member of your team. Pay attention and call people out when they make stupid inadvertent remarks that offend ("all x do this", or "you only got this job because you're an x", or "why do x do this?"). Comments like that say "you aren't wanted here", but if we stand up for ourselves every time they are said, we get the reputation of being the b*tch.

Also, realize that there is not one single path to being successful in tech. Think everyone who's a good coder has lots of open source commits? Wrong. I wouldn't wade into that cesspool of abuse if you paid me. Does every good coder stay up all night writing the latest app that does foo? Wrong. Some of us believe in balanced lives. Note that these things apply to all genders, races, sexual orientation, ages, whatever.

But my hat's off to you for asking the question. I wish it were seriously asked more often.

(For the record, I'm a female software developer.)

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – jmort253 Apr 18 '15 at 5:51
64

Several things you can do and not do:

  • Don't tolerate disrespectful talk. Whether it's "yeah, women, can't live with 'em, can't stab them to death amirite?" or "You've gotta make it so your girlfriend can understand it" someone needs to say "not cool" every time
  • Don't ask the new person what they need to feel accepted. It gets so tiring representing your group all the time. (But if you do ask them, and they tell you, don't tell them they are wrong to dislike something or that they're overthinking it or too sensitive or misunderstanding the motivation of the person who did something. That will just ensure they don't feel free to share their needs with you again in the future.)
  • Tell the outlier that they can come to you any time with anything, no matter how small, that is an irritant. I have an analogy I like to use about camping first aid. I don't take splints and tourniquets and whatever you need to take out someone's appendix. I take bandaids and anti-itch cream and stuff for upset tummies. The big huge emergency problems manifest themselves and get fixed with whatever's at hand. The little stuff can actually be more of a problem, so you need to get on it and take care of it as it happens.
  • Understand that the differences between groups (men and women, 20-somethings and 40-somethings, local-born and immigrant) are real, but that in most cases the differences between individuals within the groups are larger. Women may be shorter than men, but the woman you just hired is probably not shorter than all the men on your team. If you have a happy well functioning team today there isn't likely to be much you need to change. Don't assume you should do something for the sake of doing something.
  • If the new team member does something very different from the others (such as declining a chance to go on a course or to a conference, not wanting a specific optional duty, or being more or less open to remote work, overtime, or on-call duty) don't assume you know why ("your husband should be willing to watch the kids while you're on course") but do have a quiet moment to ask if there's a reason the new person is willing to share, that might enable you to tweak the opportunity a little so it can be accepted.
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    Please pay attention to what Kate is saying here. She is not saying that every time a person refers to a woman in an example, they are making a snide comment about women. She is, however, accurately observing that, in general, examples about a non-technical person have a bias toward referring to a woman. That is actually a problem. Rather than attempting to argue semantics on the exact wording of the specific example, please see it for the example case that it is. – asfallows Apr 16 '15 at 12:47
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    This is a very nice answer! – Lembik Apr 17 '15 at 11:07
  • imo, this should be the "accepted answer". Nicely pointed out the effective methods, and is widely applicable. – kmonsoor Apr 20 '15 at 12:42
29

DISCLAIMER: I'm a woman in IT who's also a manager, UK based

I think generally in terms of standards, you should keep them high and treat everyone equally in that respect. Nobody should be held to a lower standard just because of their genitalia or skin colour.

That being said, you may want to evaluate whether your high standard includes biases that may exclude or disadvantage people who may be more introverted, less competitive, or have difficulties with communicating (for instance if they're not a native English speaker). This will ensure that you're not inadvertently disadvantaging people.

Update Regarding the above

The initial version of my answer made reference to lad culture, something which would make sense to many people native to where I live, but the comments bellow show that this simply did not translate. I'm not talking about not being able to speak the language, I'm talking about missing the nuances of local language a native speaker takes for granted.


I personally worry about positive discrimination - I should succeed on my own merits or not at all. This would make it doubly difficult for you to be sensitive to my gender so I appreciate things would be very tough in your position!

I think if you're treating people as individuals, then making clear to each that you will tailor your management style to their requirements, and actively doing so, should ensure many issues never occur. It sounds like you're doing the right thing.

A note about team/company culture

I've not experienced this issue, however, I do know it's topical in the US where there are some high-profile lawsuits regarding it.

There are companies that have cultures that promote, directly or indirectly, the exclusion of different segments. So I wouldn't promote a culture of Strip-Club Friday lunches with my team, or golf days to a mens-only club, if I wanted to ensure that female team-members would participate. Similarly, where I have people with dietary requirements due to religion, health or preference, I try to take them into account when I arrange team lunches.

Obviously, what individuals and friendship groups choose to do is up to them, but as a manager when choosing team activities, mindfulness about the individual team members and providing balanced activities will help ensure that you're not inadvertently excluding people.

TL;DR

No double standards (either positive or negative) and a work culture that doesn't promote exclusion = a place I as a woman am happy to work at!

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    All, thank you for the feedback on my answer. Much of the confusion surrounded my use of idioms - I've cleaned these up and hopefully it now conveys my intent more clearly. – Steph Locke Apr 15 '15 at 19:54
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – enderland Apr 17 '15 at 13:49
18

An interesting article I read actually disproved my initial thought towards diversity training. The long-term study mentioned in this article says that diversity training:

"had no positive effects in the average workplace"

Now, specifically to the point of including women, the article does mention that instead of diversity training for everyone, put the managers through communications training. This puts the emphasis on talking to people. Not groups of people based on gender or ethnicity... just people.

15

By treating them with the same respect that you afford your male coworkers.

That's all.

People aren't the same. The kind of crap that you might get away with with your fellow male coworker may not be as well-received with a female coworker. Understand the sensibilities of that female coworker specifically, and female coworkers in general, and act accordingly.

That said, the general expectations of such coworkers are no different; they should be treated like they are a part of the team, but expected to perform as well as the rest of the team, and don't get special privileges solely because they happen to be female.

It should go without saying that any kind of abuse directed at female coworkers specifically is unacceptable in any context.

Important Note: I'm not female, and I don't play one on TV. But if I were female, I would find any kind of differentiation based solely on my gender (including favorable treatment) infuriating.

  • Wish that was the case! The problem is, that very frequently the definition of "respect" varies to the extreme between different parties. And in many case, culture influences that there's somewhat of a difference between those expectations between genders, fair or not. One of the commenters on another answer brought up how she was "excluded" because all males in college discussed nerdy things like comics that she wasn't into. There's no more intended disrespect than a group of women discussing fashion that a person like me would feel – user13655 Apr 17 '15 at 20:47
13

I find that welcoming, or even celebrating, the differences in personality, perspective, and, for lack of a better word, "style" that truly make us unique is far more important than making sure each set of folks working for you feels welcomed as a member of whatever class of people you consider them to be in.

In my opinion, if you have an environment of mutual respect, professionalism and open communication, it doesn't matter what the demographics are. What makes you feel like you're a part of a team? What makes you feel excluded? Women aren't aliens, even if it's amusing to joke about the gender differences in communication styles. Are women the only team members who need help integrating? What about the socially awkward introverted guy? What about the aggressive hot-tempered guru guy? Wouldn't a gay man have just as much trouble with the "brogrammer" culture as a woman? Why would you need to do more than to treat each person as an individual and cultivate a work environment where everyone is respected and included?

Do you really believe that I am so similar to every other woman on the planet that there is a magic technique for making all of us feel valued that is something different from what a man would respond to? I don't think you do, but I do think that the recent attention around women in tech has caused perfectly rational, enlightened people to second guess their judgment when they shouldn't.

I've been working as an Engineer for 25+ years now, and the only times I had problems integrating into a team was when the team as a whole was dysfunctional (every team I've worked on has had more men than women in varying proportions). It had nothing to do with my gender. In my (currently unpopular) opinion, the best way to integrate women into typically male dominated fields is to stop making them believe that their gender somehow gives them unique obstacles in every single area. Unless you're talking about reproduction, there's no point in bringing up gender.

Being the white knight and helping the poor helpless damsels make their way to success just reinforces the gender stereotypes that got us into this situation and keeps the damsels helpless. If I need extra help, it shouldn't be because I'm a woman. It should be because of a reason that could apply to anyone regardless of their gender.

  • There are some true points here, but I think you didn't read the post he was referring to. There was a woman who expressed that she felt more welcomed in the company of women because they were women. – Sir Jane Apr 16 '15 at 12:14
  • @Gloria: I agree, the thing is it's strongly reinforced that the company of your own sex is qualtitatively different from mixed company or the company of the opposite sex. Not everyone feels that way, but for the majority who do, workplaces can't be treated as "single-sex company with a few intruders". So never mind just brogrammers, "bro-anything" in the workplace is bound to exclude based on demographics. That it also excludes people who consider it idiotic is true but not the same point, I feel. It's reasonable, if not necessarily wise, to exclude people who think you're a douche ;-) – Steve Jessop Apr 16 '15 at 13:23
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    @Gloria There was a woman who expressed that she felt more welcomed in the company of women because they were women. So? I am more comfortable working on predominately male teams. A more competitive environment makes me more productive. Too many issues are labeled as gender issues when they are more about being different from the people around you. Why is it different from being the only Libertarian on a team of Democrats? The solutions are mostly the same regardless of why you're different. The idea that everything that happens to a woman is because of her gender is not useful. – ColleenV parted ways Apr 16 '15 at 15:31
  • No "so". ^^ I just think I can understand the threadstarter's thought, that if someone writes they feel unwelcome because of the gender issue, he wonders whether he could do something to counteract it, obviously unable to feel and evaluate that difference. It didn't sound as if she was making it up in the first place, but she updated the post later and wrote she'd just try to find common ground with her colleagues. That's just how people are: wondering, trying. No wrong in that on either side. In fact, I think it's good the threadstarter asked. – Sir Jane Apr 17 '15 at 7:53
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    the best way to integrate women into typically male dominated fields is to stop making them believe that their gender somehow gives them unique obstacles in every single area. Unless you're talking about reproduction, there's no point in bringing up gender. Solid Gold - thank you for this. – Vector Apr 20 '15 at 10:04
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Ditto a lot of what the other comments said. I'm a woman in software development. If you single someone out out of the blue and ask them if they feel welcome then they are going to be very weirded out by that. Instead ask them for some feedback about how to improve the team and workflow. Always keep it about work and nothing persona. Trust me, if there are personal issues the individual will go to Hr.

What is unique about female Dev's? How lonely it is! I remember being the only woman in my university classes and not too many guys wanted to study with me so we are often left alone and miss out on working on large group projects so don't hold us to impossible geeky standards. Allowing for flexibility at work helps when we have small kids at home.

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    It's interesting that you had a completely different experience than I did in college. The guys in my classes all wanted me on their projects. That was a while ago, so things may have changed for the worse. If I can be so bold - roughly how long ago were you in university? I feel like some of the more strident voices, for example those who have a problem with doors being held open and other kind gestures, are actually making it much more difficult for me to interact with my male colleagues. I wonder if that might be part of the reason we had different experiences. – ColleenV parted ways Apr 16 '15 at 15:55
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    My time at university was more than 2 decades ago and it seems like things have gotten worse. I was included because I was a girl interested in the same sorts of things the guys were, not excluded. The female cliques were far more likely to exclude me and try to tear me down. – ColleenV parted ways Apr 17 '15 at 12:47
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    "Allowing for flexibility at work helps when we have small kids at home." -- this should be for the guys as well. – Kathy Apr 17 '15 at 14:16
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    I agree with your general sentiments but disagree that women (or men) go to HR with problems. Many people do not go to HR, because they don't trust HR, don't want to make waves, think they need to toughen up, etc. – Ellen Spertus Apr 17 '15 at 16:19
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    @espertus - they (any gender) are right not to trust HR. HR serves mostly to minimize problems for company's management, NOT to make employees happy :) – user13655 Apr 17 '15 at 16:27
4

One thing to think about is that frequently, it is not the things we do consciously but the things we do subconsciously that can affect whether someone (women, or pretty much anyone) feels welcome. Chances are, anyone in a position to ask this question already follows most of this advice.

However, sometimes the lengths we can go to in an attempt to try and make women feel more welcome can inadvertently make them less comfortable. Kathy's answer touches upon this but I can expand with a few examples.

I had a manager who, wanting to do the right thing and make her feel included, gave "special" tasks to a female coworker that were seen as more "fun" tasks, such as planning parties, social events, picking the type of coffee machine the office got, whatever. This was just a cringe-inducing violation of "just treat her like you would anybody else" and kind of made her feel like she had been put at the "kiddie table".

Similarly, if you have a roster to clean the fridge, or coffee machine, or whatever, don't exclude your female staff member because you are worried that it reinforces gender stereotypes to have her clean stuff. Having your staff clean the office when that's not their job is a separate issue I'm not especially keen on, but if you do "going easy" on a female colleague again singles her out.

And lastly, I had a boss who didn't invite a female staff member to certain social functions he thought she wouldn't enjoy because they were a bit "blokey" or "boozy" and his impression of her was that she wasn't much of a drinker. Now, another thing in his mind might have been that she might be offended at the idea of going out drinking and find it uncomfortable. But not inviting her was way more problematic and actually took away choice (and if he assumed she wouldn't find out, very naive).

These sound pretty crap thinking back on it but in all cases the person doing it thought they were doing the "right thing". Realise that it is not enough just to have good intentions.

  • +1: Realise that it is not enough just to have good intentions ; Good real life examples. – Vector Apr 20 '15 at 10:41
3

Thank you for asking this question. Because I think the biggest part to helping a female employee, or any employee, feel welcome is to ask them what you can do to make things better. The fact that you are actively asking and trying to listen is a great step to making anyone feel more welcome.

Just because a person says nothing about a situation does not necessarily mean they are comfortable with it. It's hard for someone of a minority group to speak up about these issues, because its common for people will react negatively, or just ignore them or dismiss them as exaggerating. If someone makes it clear that they want to listen, it makes them feel much more like they can talk about it, and as a result it feels much more welcome.

I don't think most people expect things to be perfect, but being willing to listen is huge.

That said, at the same time people of minority groups generally do not want to have attention drawn to the fact that they are a minority group. So when I say make it clear you want to listen to them, do not particularly single out a female worker to tell her you want to listen. Tell everyone that you want to hear if they have concerns.

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    That said, at the same time people of minority groups generally do not want to have attention drawn to the fact that they are a minority group. - so true, .. I think it's hard to explain it , but "just be as normal as you can" sounds like a good path to me. Avoiding risky humor is one idea (ie satirical comments etc) – Adel Apr 17 '15 at 14:18
3

There are some good suggestions in this thread. Take them, and apply them to everyone in your team. Doing these things only for the female is favoritism and will make all parties uncomfortable. Doing them for everyone is just being a good boss. (Other answerers have alluded to this, too.)

There are a few suggestions not yet listed that have been very important to me in my career (both because I've thrived when they were applied and because I've been really miserable when they weren't). I'll add them here, in rough order of importance:

  • Offer coaching feedback frequently, from a place of respect for and wonder at each human being's unique potential. Point out and enjoy the things that made them succeed where another person might have failed. Imagine how much this person could accomplish if they did just a few things differently. Then tell them what those things are.
  • Be explicit about expectations. Make sure that the rules you declare are the rules you enforce. Anecdotally, I have observed that women and ethnic or sexual minorities are more likely to follow the rules you spell out, and people who consider themselves part of the majority are more likely to infer the real rules from your behavior. Keeping these things aligned helps make sure that you're not disadvantaging people who fall into the former categories.
  • Bond with employees through positive means ("I'm really fascinated by astrophysics..."), rather than negative ("doesn't politician XYZ suck?"). Your example will help get them into this habit in the workplace, and this will make them less likely to say derogatory things about women. (Bonding is one of the main reasons you see groups of men doing this.)
  • Encourage employees to treat each other with respect. Treating them respectfully yourself is the first and most important step here. If you keep the question of "does this reflect my respect for my employees?" in your mind, you won't do classic Pointy-Haired Boss things, like make fun of your employees' accents, tell them the evening before Thanksgiving that you need them to work through it, make broad complaints about all women, etc. If you can't respect your employees, get new ones.

Speaking of inappropriate complaining in the workplace, my personal pet peeve is having my manager complain about his wife to me. Maybe once in a blue moon is okay, or gentle complaints that are clearly coming from a place of affection. But when it becomes a running saga I always think, "Don't you have some friends with their own wives who would be more sympathetic listeners?"

At best, I feel it's an annoyance and TMI. At worst, I feel bad for your family and wonder whether you are trying to send a message. (I don't think I would worry about the latter if I were male, but I would still feel bad for your family and probably think you were a jerk.)

Not everyone feels uncomfortable with this, but anecdotally: some do, it's easy to misjudge how comfortable a particular individual will be with it, it's tempting to lash out at the employee when you don't get the level or kind of sympathy you want, and what you stand to gain (a chance to vent) is a lot less than what you stand to lose (the employee). I strongly recommend you avoid this.

[Edit: my initial comments on this last point were unnecessarily general. Since they were largely inspired by one particular workplace and my+my colleagues' reactions there, plus what I've heard from female friends about their particular situations, I've rephrased it to avoid false generalization. Recommendation still stands, though.]

  • I find your addition of "particularly to the female ones" somewhat discriminatory. I have male friends who DO talk to me about issues they have with their wives (I am female), because we are friends. Your point is unclear and actually reinforces gender stereotypes. Unless your employees are close friends, don't talk about your personal issues with ANY of them, don't specifically call out just the female ones! – Jane S Apr 17 '15 at 5:01
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    Okay, that's fair, so let me put it this way: when MY boss complained to ME about what he hated about his wife, after about the twentieth time, I started to wonder if he was trying to tell me something. If I were male, it would still have bothered me, but I wouldn't have had the same concern that he were passive-aggressively trying to tell me what he hated about ME. – Arkaaito Apr 17 '15 at 7:22
  • I can understand that and I suspect your interpretation is correct of your boss's actions. He certainly has other issues apart from being a poor manager! – Jane S Apr 17 '15 at 7:35
  • I agree that in some cases the boss complaining about the wife to a female employee may be consciously or unconsciously sending a message they are attracted. If for no other reason, because many accounts of workplace - and nonworkplace - cheating start off with just that pattern. OTOH, personally, as a male, I simply don't feel comfortable complaining about my wife to my male friends (I'm sure a psychologist could find a dozen theories why), whereas I would once in a while complain to female ones because at some point, you gotta whine to someone and it surewon't be to a male for me – user13655 Apr 17 '15 at 16:32
2

they were an individual that I needed to treat individually based on I needed to treat individually based on their personality, skillset, communication style, motivations, desires, dislikes, etc. But I consciously avoided differential treatment of women (and...) - in part because it could be viewed as discriminatory in my locale, but mostly because I thought that was the best way to build a team

Of course this is necessary. If you have no particular culturally-induced or personal bias against women (etc...), and neither do your colleagues, then this would also be sufficient and therefore would form a sensible complete policy. Some would question whether it's possible or probable to grow up in our culture and be free of such bias, and you can agree or disagree with that as you see fit. All I can say is what to do if you suspect there might be bias and you want to reduce it.

So, if you don't examine your treatment of different personalities, different skillsets, different styles, and all the rest of it, with a view to whether or not you are exhibiting direct or indirect bias against women (etc.), then you're falling short of the highest standard. If you're a large enough institution, you may even be falling short of the bare minimum acceptable standard in law or basic decency.

Examples of indirect bias abound. In some cases they are created intentionally with the purpose of disadvantaging the target group. Don't bother trying to defend the "separate but equal" doctrine, or pre-civil-rights voter literacy laws, with hindsight. But for a while they held up as ostensibly non-racist.

In some cases they're accidental but prejudicial, for example you might unintentionally judge someone's "enthusiasm for the job" in part by their willingness to do overtime at short notice, ignoring the fact that childcare responsibilities are, for reasons that have nothing to do with people's enthusiasm about their jobs, not equally balanced between the genders in your society. Then you would be ascribing as free choice something that, to someone in this hypothetical society, is in fact somewhat constrained by their gender role. Of course in theory one would only use willingness to do overtime to judge someone's availability for overtime, not their enthusiasm for the job, but it's very easy to ignore what contributes to your "overall impression" of someone.

In some cases indirect biases might be trivial, and raising them is a fuss about nothing. For example, it turned out on balance that requiring women to wear shorts/leggings to play football (by which I mean soccer) was way more sensible than making any kind of special accommodation to invent a version of football that could be played in whalebone skirts and corsets. That is a joke, the serious version of the issue is what happens in countries where women are constrained by law or public sense of decency not to dress as is best to play football. Then, through no choice of their own, they require special accommodation in terms of playing attire if they're to play at all. If you cannot eliminate some prevailing sexism, then it is not "sexist" to try to mitigate it, even if the result is different treatment. If the prevailing sexism were eliminated, then naturally the different treatment could be brought to an end.

To make women feel welcome (or members of any group rare in your workplace that you're concerned may suffer from exclusion), you need to not just apply your standards of judgement while ignoring the possibility that prejudice or bias might occur, you need to actively check whether any is happening in the workplace, because not all "equal treatment" is the same in this respect. Expecting people to wear red is gender-neutral, expecting people to wear a beard is not, even though "some men can't grow beards", "women could get fake beards", "I'm treating everyone exactly the same, the only difference is some people can meet the standard and others can't", or any other objection someone might raise to political correctness gone mad when this beard policy is questioned. Expecting people to wear pink, even, might not be gender-neutral, depending how people typically respond to pink clothes in your locality. That in turn is cultural. The general public's responses are unaffected by your careful treatment of people as individuals: you can set a good example but you can't affect everyone.

If you can examine yourself (which nobody can perfectly), then you don't "treat people differently because they're a woman", but you also avoid unintentionally "treating them like a man even though they're a woman". I have intentionally used extreme examples throughout, so as not to delay on explaining just how the reasoning follows. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to identify any less clear-cut cases that really do happen in your workplace and that might contribute to an unwelcoming atmosphere, or even to an impossible environment, for most or all members of some particular group.

  • -1: you need to actively check whether any is happening in the workplace . You're not the gender police, everyone has their difficulties. Let It Be-you risk causing serious disruption of a team by undertaking such behavior. People in a workplace don't want to feel it's a schoolroom. I was at firm where they brought in a new project manager who was always going around checking to "make sure everything was OK." That caused a serious brain drain-within 2 years, every talented developer had left even though many were long time employees. Drop the political correctness-stick to business. – Vector Apr 20 '15 at 10:15
  • @Vector: If that manager couldn't make sure things are done well without "always going around checking to make sure everything was OK" in an unbearably intrusive way, then that makes them a bad manager. One can manage anything badly, not just the avoidance of unlawful discrimination in the workplace. On the other extreme, if you had a team of people that wants to make women feel unwelcome, then sure, they'll resent having a new manager who is trying to prevent that. Sooner they quit the better if they can't shape up. – Steve Jessop Apr 20 '15 at 12:26
  • Anyway, since the questioner is responsible as a manager for avoiding discrimination in their particular workplace that makes women in particular feel excluded, and is asking how to satisfy their responsibility, I think it's seriously off the point to state that they aren't and shouldn't! – Steve Jessop Apr 20 '15 at 12:28
  • since the questioner is responsible... avoiding discrimination : Don't see that indicated anywhere. Nowhere is discrimination mentioned, nor is law enforcement. In fact manager isn't even mentioned. If an employee has a problem with "discrimination" they should turn to the appropriate legal people - it's a legal issue. IMO you have your own agenda that you're mixing in here and I don't think it's appropriate - a developer and software team leader is not a law enforcement official or social engineer. Politicals and social agendas into the workplace? VERY BAD IMO. – Vector Apr 20 '15 at 12:38
  • Oof, if you're quibbling whether a "team leader" is a manager or not then I'm out. Employees have various responsibilities including legal ones, even if they are not law enforcement officers. It's not "politics" to assert, as I have, that this requires them to make an effort and not just to cover their ears and hope it happens of its own accord. If you disagree with the questioner's stated goal, to ensure everyone including women are made welcome, that's one thing, but if you agree with the goal I don't think it makes sense to disagree with the notion of working at achieving it. – Steve Jessop Apr 20 '15 at 12:40

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