How Do You Play the Woman’s Card When the Deck Is Stacked Against You? (By Pam Selker Rak)

cardsDon’t worry. I’m not going to blog about the election; but I will say that some of the things I’ve heard over the past 18 months have made my hair stand on-end. But one, in particular, really caught my ire: “She’s always playing the woman’s card.”

I love to play cards; in fact, we Selkers have a long history of highly competitive and downright hysterical card games. Some have even ended in people storming away from the table (not me, of course). But this so-called “woman’s card” is a game I can’t get behind. Why? Because the “woman’s card” feels more like playing 52-card pick-up. Week in and week out, the deck seems stacked against us and we struggle to keep it together.

Here are three examples why:

  • The woman’s card doesn’t give us discounts on anything but our salaries.
    Study after study shows that women, on average, make 21% less than men for doing the very same job. And if that’s not bad enough, go to the grocery store where you’ll see for yourself that women pay an average of 11% more for products than men (for similar items like shampoo, deodorant and more). But hey, ours are pink and have flowers, so that’s something, I suppose…or maybe the pink ink just costs more for some reason?
  • The woman’s card doesn’t prevent us from having to prove ourselves beyond a (man’s) reasonable doubt at work.
    And I have an example. More than 20 years ago, I was in a meeting with the president of one of my former employers. And I (very professionally) disagreed with him regarding the effectiveness of a particular marketing approach. As it proved out, I was right. But a few hours after the meeting ended, the director of HR came to my office and asked me to apologize to the president for disagreeing with him. “Why?” I asked. I wasn’t rude about it and I laid out the facts as to why I didn’t agree.” “Well, you hurt his pride,” she said. “I hurt his pride?” I asked, astonished. Then, it dawned on me. “Are you telling me that he doesn’t like a woman disagreeing with him?” And she just rolled her eyes, telling me that, yes, that’s exactly what she was telling me. “I’m happy to meet with him,” I said. “But I will not apologize for doing my job.” So I met with him and he opened the discussion by asking, “Why don’t you like me, Pam?” That very day – directly after that meeting – I started looking for another job. The “woman card” didn’t get me very far that day.
  • And finally, the woman’s card doesn’t increase in value as it ages.
    Quite the opposite, actually. I’ve never heard a man point out another man’s cute little wrinkles. I’ve also never seen a man hesitate to watch an old, male sportscaster wearing a toupee, yet insist that any woman in sports had better be in a cheerleader’s outfit enthusiastically shaking her pom-poms on-camera (I challenge you to watch a football game without seeing this shot).

I know what some of you may be thinking. “Now she’s playing the victim card.” Or maybe it’s the pity card? And some of you will even blame women for the deck being stacked against us. “Feminism ruined everything. You can’t have it both ways.”

Well, we don’t want it both ways. We just want it one fair way.

So yes, the woman’s card is many, many things, well beyond the three outlined here. But you know what the woman’s card isn’t? A trump card.

Disclaimer: The facts in this blog belong to everyone; but the opinions are those of the author’s and do not represent the opinions of her employer, even though they are one in the same woman (maybe it’s just her mood swings). If you take offense, calm down. You’re just being sensitive. Or maybe it’s your time of the month. Try smiling, you’ll feel better and you’ll look prettier, too. The author also encourages comments, especially ones like, “Nice Rak!”

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