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Mind Matters | Workspace patriarchy

Mind Matters | Workspace patriarchy


“I am a 27-year-old woman working at one of Nepal’s leading construction companies. I am an engineer by profession. I work hard at my job. But my good work is hardly appreciated. In comparison, my male colleagues get all the praise and credit for their inferior work. Lack of recognition means my promotion has been halted. I have been wrestling with this problem for many years. I can’t quit as I need this job, nor can I put up with this misogynistic work culture. What should I do?” - SS

Answer by Shreeya Giri, Mental health advocate and Founder of Happy Minds


First, I want to acknowledge you for knowing your hard work and the ability that you have contributed to your work ethic. Being self-aware helps you recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Second, the construction and engineering sectors are still by and large male-dominated. Your feelings are thus valid. 

When you’re doing your job well, it is natural to expect appreciation from your coworkers. Since you haven’t been getting the appreciation, it is necessary to clearly communicate your feelings and experience to your seniors. Express your pain points, your effort at work, and the results that have benefitted the team and the company, a clear and direct conversation without being aggressive or passive. Ensure to be assertive and voice your experience, expectations, and needs while staying calm, respectful, and direct. 

On a personal level, you can start by sitting with yourself and putting the problem into words. Be clear and reasonable about what you’re experiencing. You can also ask yourself what is holding you back from communicating your feelings. This will help you see your situation more clearly. A one-on-one conversation with a counselor can also help you become more expressive. 

While taking this to your senior, be sure to keep your emotions in check and present your argument with details of what you’ve experienced. State the fact that it is unfair of the company to push back a responsible, hard-working employee. You could also explore the job market to see what is the expected pay scale for experience and education similar to your profile so you’re confident that it's reasonable.

It is only through assertive communication that your workplace will come to know of gender inequality and take necessary actions. Bring your opinion to the attention which might open ways for other female workers in the company.