I was quite amazed to be in a team with equal female male representation. This was a industry event and the other members of my team were not academics. We were providing consultation services to an organization pro bono and due to COVID-19, we were also doing this virtually from the comfort of our homes.
The team lead, a mature gentleman mentioned that he hadn’t seen me at the industry body meetings, which are mostly in the evenings.
I used to attend the meetings regularly before I had children. But I was not about to admit that motherhood made it difficult to spend evenings away from my family. So in my best I’m so successful voice, I professed to being so busy lately that I found it difficult to get to them. I thought that was better than replying in my ‘parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life’ voice, that seemed to be on repeat in my head. He, let’s call him Max, seemed to accept this with a quizzical nod.
The meeting was going reasonable well although slightly slow for my liking.
Max opened a document with some bravado about how he had previously saved it into a shared folder, like he had just saved a kitten from a tree. He then proceeded to ask the other woman on the team if she would like to ‘take the lead?’ To which she replied with an enthusiastic yes.
The message however was lost in translation. I have a feeling she may have thought he meant lead the discussion. He meant ‘take notes by typing into this document while I talk’.
This was a long meeting and about half way through this woman excused herself from the typing and explained she needed to put her children to bed, she returned in less than ten minutes. All I could think is this woman is a goddess! 10 minutes if only, it takes me a good 30 minutes. She had previously shared that she was a single mum so the effort to juggle her work, pro bono work and her family was incredible.
But I digress…
As she left, Max quickly with a paternalistic air asked me if I would like to take over from, let’s call her Betty.
I ever so politely declined, mentioning I thought it was better that the person sharing the document typed into it.
Unfortunately, when God handed me my vagina they were out of what Max obviously thought was the stock standard secretarial skills add-on.