I started applying for jobs recently after working as freelancer for a couple of years and one of the interviews I went to I was told that the company doesn't 'usually' hire women, because we have 'other commitments'. I accepted that they were never going to give me the job and moved on. Although I didn't think about this that much then, I now find myself getting frustrated about my job hunt because of this comment. I suppose my question is, if I ever have this said to me again at an interview how should I react? What should I say? How do I call them out? Why did they just waste my time asking me to come for an interview in the first place? What would be the most dignified way of handling this situation?

Country: Sri Lanka

  • @JoeStrazzere unfortunately didn't bother at the time, not that the guy let me get a word in edgewise. Maybe it's not dignified to call them out, but I feel like the next time I hear this, I will say something out of frustration.
    – user54154
    Jul 20, 2016 at 12:32
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    @user54154 How are the workplace equality laws in Sri Lanka? Is it legal to make hiring decisions based on gender?
    – Myles
    Jul 20, 2016 at 13:55
  • I'm not going to leave an answer because I flat out don't have one, but is there some way to get the word out about a practice that is at best in a legal grey area (I'm pretty sure that in the US this would be actionable but even then it's probably a he said/she said situation unless you have documented proof)? This seems horrible and I'm sorry you have to go through it. Jul 20, 2016 at 14:00
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    @user54154 Note that it's perfectly fine to leave an interview early and I'd say that in that particular interview it would have been the only reasonable reaction that preserves your own integrity.
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 20, 2016 at 14:24
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    @Myles from what I was able to find, it is illegal to discriminate based on gender, religion, caste , etc.
    – user54154
    Jul 20, 2016 at 15:44

3 Answers 3


I have run into this several times in my career. What you do is stand up immediately. Tell them that you are not a good fit for the position, thank them for their time and leave. Do not engage in conversation at that point or let them try to persuade you to stay. Don't show anger. Simply walk out. Unless you are desperate, do not continue the interview or accept a job from that person. If he is that open about his misogyny, there is a 100% chance he will be a nightmare to work for.

  • 3
    @Will_create_nick_later, most women are not lazy or stupid. They are also as logical as men. They are good as men as employees. Honestly, you need to revise your thinking and bring yourself out of the 16th century.
    – HLGEM
    Jul 21, 2016 at 13:15
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    @HLGEM Might be a minor point, but I think I would prefer to say "The position isn't a good fit for me" rather than "I'm not a good fit for the position". I guess at the end of the day they say the same thing, but I think on a psychological level the first one puts you above the bad position/recruiter, where the second one puts you below it.
    – Kialandei
    Jul 22, 2016 at 7:45
  • @Kialandei I agree, that phrasing is better.
    – HLGEM
    Jul 22, 2016 at 13:22
  • @Kialandei I think that's good thing to say too. If I ever have the misfortune of having this said to me again, I'll probably end the interview with that line.
    – user54154
    Jul 22, 2016 at 18:21
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    I'm actually more of the opinion that it's less about the position and more about the company. Perhaps "This company isn't a good fit for me." Jul 8, 2021 at 18:44

If you are ever in this situation again, politely finish the interview, cross that company off of your list, and move on. If they are that openly bigoted, you don't want to work for them and they've done you a favor. Do not confront them or walk out, Again, if they are that bigoted and you walk out, they may spread your name around the industry as someone not to hire. It may make you feel better for a few minutes, but damage your prospects elsewhere.

Once you are hired elsewhere, it wouldn't hurt to let people know about which particular companies to avoid. I've experienced bigotry due to my disabilities, and while different from your situation, the principle holds true. You need a job, that needs to be your focus. Always finish an interview, no matter what the circumstances because you can always use/learn from the experience.

Do not, however, take a job at such a place because they will take advantage of you and you will regret your decision. Good luck.

  • 1
    I left the interview knowing I would never take the job even if they did want me and thankfully I'm not in a desperate situation. Although what I've learned from this experience is that there probably is a lot more sexism to come my way in the next few months.
    – user54154
    Jul 22, 2016 at 18:44
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    @user54154 Just be careful. If you're dealing with a jerk, he may be enough of a jerk to spread your name around if he feels slighted. Not just this jerk, but future jerks as well. Jul 22, 2016 at 18:50

In some cases a comment like this is an invitation to the candidate to declare themselves and their motives. In other words, the comment may have been intended to discourage the "average" candidate.

If you were determined to get the job, a possible response would have been:

"Sir, I have no other commitments. If I were hired I would be fully devoted to the job. I have no children, husband, pets or any other distractions that would divert me from my job responsibilities, nor do have any intention of forming such ties. I will be fully committed to this work."

Of course, going into any employer where you are going to face a built-in prejudice will be a hard life, so you need to think carefully about taking a step like this.

Also, concerning the haughty answers from the rich priveleged Europeans/Americans who advise just declining the job, I wish they would go hungry for a few years in a country that has no EBT cards or have to live on the streets before they could start making high and mighty declarations about which jobs they might take or not.

  • 12
    This is terrible advice. Why shouldn't the candidate have children/husband/pets? I bet the manager doesn't ask the men whether or not they're planning to have children. Jul 20, 2016 at 14:11
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    That is the worst thing that the person can do. Never accept a job that requires you to have no personal life. And what do you suggest when you have children or a husband as most women do or plan to do?
    – HLGEM
    Jul 20, 2016 at 14:25
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    When an employer openly tells you that they're misogynistic the best course of action does not include trying to be hired there. I appreciate that you're suggesting a response for people who are in desperate need of work but I also seriously question your guess at possible motive here.
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 20, 2016 at 14:26
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    -1 This seems like a poor answer to me soley because it assumes that men are always fully devoted to the job and women are not. I have a son, and a wife, and they do, from time to time distract me from my responsibilities. At Christmas, I was asked to do some extra work over the break. I wasn't too happy but agreed to do so as it was a director asking me for it. My wife went into hospital on Christmas eve for a few days (thankfully all ok now) and the work did not get done. The company were understanding about this, despite me having "other distractions that [did] divert me from my job"...
    – Miller86
    Jul 20, 2016 at 14:29
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    @Miller86 Yeah, I asked a clarifying question here, and the respondent's answer removed any doubt I had that this was anything but a weird, misogynist answer. -1 for me too. Jul 20, 2016 at 14:31

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