#hearLDSwomen: My Career Is Ignored or Not Valued at Church

I was a new lawyer in a big city. We were having a ward trivia night. One of the questions was how many lawyers were in the ward. Basically everyone answered four, and the official answer was four. One of the senior male lawyers interrupted and pointed out that I was a lawyer, and another woman was in law school. Literally the ward hadn’t even thought to consider that women could be lawyers too when writing the questions about employment.
Carolyn


Every single time we meet a new couple and the men ask each other, “So, what do you do?” and never bother to ask the women the same question.
– L


Every time home teachers come to visit, they spend the time talking to my husband about school/work and only ask me about being a mom (and only briefly). I am largely ignored. I remember a particular instance where I was the one with a job nannying while going full time to school, but the home teachers only wanted to talk to my husband about his school. My job wasn’t important enough to ask about and my school was secondary to his.

On a good note, a friend from church came over last week to visit and entertain my kids so I could clean up a little (my house had become a mess since school started the week before). Her husband came with her, and he talked to me about Doctor Who, work, school and getting into grad school, all sorts of things. Granted, my husband wasn’t there so I couldn’t be ignored in his favor, but still. It’s sad that me being treated as a human being with interests and aspirations is the exception and not the norm.
– Caiti Hunting


When my mother, a professional writer and journalist, was asked to lend some of her poetry for display at a Relief Society program for the stake, she found them displayed as written by “Sister Anderson.”
– Nancy K.


I was told as a child that my dream of growing up and teaching the gospel full time like my dad did (as a CES teacher) wasn’t an option for me because I was a girl. I was devastated to understand at 12 that God didn’t want my testimony or teaching like he wanted my brothers’.
– Amy H.

 

So Spanish is my thing. I love it. I work damn hard at it. After learning it rudimentarily as a missionary, I honed my skills and pursued a degree in Spanish Translation with a minor in Spanish Teaching. In my old ward, whenever anything Spanish related would come up, they would call on 1 of 2 men to assist. One was taking basic Spanish at uni and spoke a very bare bones version. Like, he didn’t even know how to say “Sunday.” The other had served a mission in Spain 40+ years previously and hadn’t retained much. For everything from temple-recommend interviews for Spanish-speakers to help with pronunciation for Primary songs, and even “share the culture of your mission night” I was overlooked and not invited. I don’t know if they were deliberate slights or not, but even if they weren’t, it’s pretty telling that they didn’t know I’d served a Spanish-speaking mission or that my degree is in translation.
– Anonymous

 

Pro Tip: See women as people who wear many hats and have various roles, interests, and occupations, just like men do. Do not reduce women’s interests and value solely to motherhood, regardless of whether or not she has a career.


Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

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3 Responses

  1. MJ says:

    And it is so internalized that even other women generally ask “so, what does your husband do?”. It makes me crazy.

  2. Em says:

    I feel petty for being bothered by it, but I’m a single, childless woman and people in my ward don’t seem remotely interested in what I do. Some people have a vague idea that I’m a “teacher” (I’m a university professor), and more than once I’ve had people assume if I teach, I must that I teach English. There’s nothing wrong with English, but I actually have degrees in several interesting technical fields and I love my work.

    I’ve also gone long stretches of time in multiple wards without a calling, and been told that it’s because they aren’t sure what to do with me. The ward leaders who say this usually don’t know much about me, besides my name and that I’m single–and they don’t ask. They can’t seem to imagine that I might be able to actually contribute to the ward in needed ways. I’ll eventually end up with solitary, “made up” callings like sending birthday cards signed by the bishopric to ward members, cleaning nursery toys, or folding programs. I don’t mind the work, but it makes me feel a bit stripped of identity.

  3. Molly says:

    I once explained my job in compliance to a man in my ward who said, “Yeah, so you’re like a secretary.” He was in fast food management and I made twice what he did. It took a whole lot of restraint not to point that out.

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