Editor’s Note: Exposing sexism in the workplace

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With this issue comes the release of parts two and three of a four-part series I’ve been working on since last April.

The investigative series surrounds the 2017-18 Laurier Students’ Union board of directors. 

In sum, part one explores allegations of sexism and gender inequity that was present amongst the board and, specifically, during board meetings throughout the year.

In conjunction, parts two and three discuss other dysfunctions seen by board members that were disclosed to The Cord.

Since releasing the first-part of the series at the end of this past August, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the feedback I’ve been given and really think about what writing this story means to me.

Since working for The Cord, I’ve been privileged to have a platform to share my work and my writing — a concept which always seems so unfathomable to all of us who aspire to have our work published or to have a career in any writing field. 

However, despite having this platform on which I can share my thoughts every week, I’m seldom presented with a genuine opportunity to tell a story or to share the experiences of different people in a way that could potentially make a difference or make a positive change. 

Opening up to the media can be a scary concept. If the roles were reversed, I too would be nervous to open up about vulnerable topics to someone who could then take those stories and share them in a way that’s out of my control.

As a woman I’ve felt as though my opinions weren’t as important as those belonging to the male’s in the room from time to time. I know I’m not alone in my workplace and in every workplace.

I’m lucky that the two individuals who spoke out about their experiences trusted me enough to share the entirety of their stories — without that trust, this series wouldn’t make any impact large enough to make a change. 

But this is what makes me feel that being able to write this story is even more important — within the media, it’s important now more than ever to tell stories surrounding concepts like sexism, inequality, and more. 

The main thing, however, that stemmed from releasing part one, was the acknowledgement that sexism is present in all types of workplaces.

In the past month, I’ve received comments from friends, family, and readers indicating that they could relate to the experiences of the women on the board last year. 

Although I could never be sure as to whether or not the experiences this story has shared will make any sort of change, this story, at least to me, means opening up a single conversation about sexism. However, there is so much more to be done. 

Sexism is everywhere. I am lucky to work for an organization that values diversity and is accepting of everyone. I work in a place where there are strong females and clear representation — even so, my workplace has not been exempt from sexism 100 per cent of the time. 

As a woman I’ve felt as though my opinions weren’t as important as those belonging to the male’s in the room from time to time. I know I’m not alone in my workplace and in every workplace. 

It’s a pattern that we need to accept, that we need to discuss, and that we need to address.

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