#hearLDSwomen: LDS Men Don’t Know How to Interact with Me in a Career Support Context
I was in institute in law school. It was competition season. Some men in the class had just made the national finals of a big competition. The institute director walked in and spent five minutes praising them to high heaven about what this meant for their reputation, careers, etc. The men said thank you and pointed out that two women in the class (including me) had also made the national finals of another competition. The institute director (a 70 year old man) gaped and then said “well, I suppose excelling at education is always good as an example for your future children when you become mothers…?”
I was serving as president of a professional women’s network that is a sub chapter of the local BYU Management Society—led by lots of white, Mormon men. I was also a brand new stay-at-home mother, having left my career position after my first was born but wanting to stay professionally engaged. At a local training for Management Society leadership, the president went around the room giving an example of how the concept he was teaching could be applied in our personal careers. He addressed each person in the room except me – he skipped right over me because I was a stay-at-home mom. He could have addressed my former position I’d been in till just a couple months previous. He could have addressed my role as PRESIDENT of the women’s network, but instead he pretended I didn’t exist or wasn’t in the room. The same man sent my board an article that explains why women’s networks never work (hint: because they don’t include men). So supportive.
– K. Peterson
Men at LDS networking events won’t even talk to me. I went to an event when I was in law school (at a non-LDS law school) that was with the local chapter of a group for LDS lawyers. It was co-sponsored by the attorney group and the law student group. When I was introducing myself to some of the lawyers (all men), one of them asked me which of the law students was my husband. I said that none of them were. The lawyer looked completely confused and said, “Then what are you doing here?” I told him I was the vice president of the law student chapter and that I was getting a legal education.
Pro Tip: Be inclusive and supportive of the women in your career support organizations, particularly those that have more men than women.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)