Examples of the micro-inequities that are endured by women working in the UK today are:

  • Being called by the wrong name repeatedly by the same person
  • Having your emails ignored
  • Not being invited to important meetings where you clearly have a right to access
  • Not having your ideas, suggestions or comments heard in a meeting, but hearing a male colleague state them moments later, and getting recognition for them
  • Not getting a ‘good morning’ from a colleague or manager on repeated occasions

Tectre Micro-inequity Blog

Welcome to the Tectre Micro-inequity Blog.  The team at Tectre have been closely involved with the movements to increase the numbers of women in the STEM workforce since the late 1990s.  One of the issues that we believe makes the culture of the technology or STEM workplace worse for women is the impact of the MICRO-INEQUITY.

A term was coined many decades ago (first mentioned in 1973 in fact) by Mary P. Rowe from MIT in 1973.  She said that Micro-inequities are ‘apparently small events which are often ephemera and hard to prove….covert, often unintentional and frequently unrecognised by the perpetrator’.  We show some examples here on the left hand side but know that you will have lots more examples to share. 

Dr. Karen Petrie at University of Dundee proposed that where women make up a minority in the workplace, but where everyone (males and females) are equally making sexist remarks at one another, the difference in the ratio of men:women means that women will receive many times more incidences of sexism. We think this is also true of micro-inequities. We are all capable of inflicting them, but, where females are in the minority, they will experience far more hits than the males!  The Petrie Multiplier  can be seen at this link to Wikipedia.

Add your example of a micro-inequity here.  That way we can encourage employers to understand the breadth of the issue within the Technology workplace culture and help us to challenge them to make change. 

Anonymous

I was told by a former dean that I would not have his support for a promotion to senior lecturer unless I published four top quality papers per year. Other colleagues were not held to the same standards for promotion.

NAN

I had a line manager who constantly ignored my ideas in meetings. When the same ideas were later suggested by a male colleague in the same meeting they were great ideas we should all get behind. I felt like my voice was never heard.

piopio

I suggested my manager to write a review paper and he answered that was a waste of time. A year later, a male colleague also under his supervision suggests him to write one and he thinks it is a great opportunity. After talking to him, he now thinks I could write one, that it would be great for me. He doesn't seem to remember our previous conversation was the same but instead discouraging me.

CarolJ

This manager used to call me by another woman's name. The other woman worked in our office, but he simply couldn't tell us apart. I thought this was really rude of him.

anon45

I had a manager who wouldn't speak to me at all. Someone in the office told me that when he took against you, you had had it! I think that this was true because I spent a miserable six months working for him before leaving. He completely dented my confidence. It seemed so weird that he would not even say hello to me in the morning whereas he said hello to everyone else. I would get so frustrated by the whole thing and would cry in the evenings because I didnt understand why I was being singled out for his dislike

DragonB

In a meeting where I should have equal status with everyone else in the room, I mentioned that we should include a regular check on a specific project area on a monthly basis because we needed to be sure that it wasnt becoming an 'issue area' for us. The person who was running the meeting just looked at me long and hard and then carried on without commenting. I felt that this was a put down. There was no recognition that I had said anything at all. Later, I noticed that my suggestion had been taken up, but it would have been nice to have a polite recognition that I had spoken.

Jill

I was at a meeting and was being squeezed out of the conversation by a new guy on the team. Whenever there was a gap in the conversation he jumped in and at one point he looked at me pointedly, as if to say; 'Ha - got there before you'. It soured my work with the team in the future. I just didnt want to be part of the group he was in. It felt as though it had raised the bar on 'nastiness' on what had been, previously, a lovely team to work in.