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Sexism in School?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by goose133, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. I've been working at the same school for the last 3 years and for the most part have enjoyed my time there. However, in the past year I have notcied an increasing amount of what I feel are sexist comments from both staff and students.
    I have heard attractive women refered to as "eye candy" in my department. I've been told in a rather cheeky tone that my bouse is too tight, had unecessary attention drawn to my legs and bum when wearing a skirt by male staff.
    I've also had male staff members inform me that they have had conversations with year 11 boys about me in sexualized ways which now makes me really uncomfortable teaching KS4 boys.
    Generally, I have always felt that my school is male dominated in staffing, and have felt that to cope, I need to toughen up, however I find some of the incidents described above to be humilitating.
    I have not made any complaints, because some of the above comments come from staff members who have senority over me, and I worry about being seen as 'bitchy' or 'uptight'. Because I feel confident voicing my concerns about issues faced in my department, I am already made ot feel by some staff that I am 'too passionate', which makes me feel unheard and disrespected.
    I'm not sure if I should say something, but I did feel pretty **** for most of the evening as I became really worried that perhaps I brought these comments on in some way. However, if this was the case, surely someone would have said something in a considerably more professional manner. I don't feel that I present myself in an unprofessional way at all. Non of my performance reviews have ever questioned my professionalism, in my appearence at work or otherwise.
    Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm not sure if, or how to broach this at work.

  2. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    I think that the comments from staff could (at a push) be construed as banter however sharing any thoughts about you with pupils is completely out of order and there is no way you should have to tolerate it. It is 2012 not 1970!
  3. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    This is a tricky one! This behaviour is illegal under all kinds of employment and discrimination law. It most certainly is not 'banter', but highly offensive and under-mining. Just substitute for the sexist comments similar ones relating to race or sexuality and you soon see how offensive it is.
    What to do about it is the tricky bit, however. Of course, you could consult your union or a specialist employment/discrimination lawyer and take action but the amount of personal hassle you would endure would be great. Only you can decide whether you could cope with that, even though you are in the right.
    A better option would probably be to get out of this unhealthy environment as quickly as you can. This behaviour will eventually come round to bite the perpetrators on the b^m at some point in the future. You, on the other hand, will be happily elsewhere, getting on with your career.
    What is important, however, is that you do not just do nothing. When people behave in this way, eventually they may well turn on you and victimise you in ways that have serious consequences for your career.
  4. Just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts. It is comforting to hear your support. I have since brought this issue up with my HOD via an issue that he actually brought up at the end of the week. I expressed concern more for our students overhearing these comments and he understood. He was concerned and said he would see that the issue was addressed. I feel a lot better now.

    Thank you again. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!
  5. I'm a male member of staff at a primary school (the only one, other than the head.) I get the same kind of sexist comments from the female staff about what the mums say about me etc. The 'typical male' comments and the abuse that should be directed towards their husbands/ partners is also constantly thrown at me. I manage to ignore most of it, use my 'looks' (hahaha) to get away with all sorts and just remember that I only see them at break or meetings! I would be mortified if any of the women had to deal with that treatment from me.
    No offence but the staff at your place sound like something from 'life on mars.' Do what I do, just ignore the dumbasses, take the comments as praise/ compliments, use their underestimation of you to jump ahead in the profession. Leave them all behind, they're only people from work!

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