Monday, May 07, 2012

Being the Other Woman

Even the most interesting of meetings can have a few slow moments.  One of the things I do the occupy the mind when those moments happen is count the number or ratio of women in the room.  This past week I was in a meeting of a committee that I've been on for some months now.  Once again I was wondering exactly why I was there.  It's an interesting topic and I have things to contribute but so do a lot of others with more standing.  Then there was a slow moment and I did the gender headcount.  The chair is female.  Everyone else in the room besides her and me was male.  Aha!  That's why I'm there.  I'm the other woman.  There are more women in the group but not everyone is at each meeting; for there to be at least two women at each meeting there have to be 3 or 4 women in the group. 

Before my local bank was purchased by a larger bank I used to attend the annual stockholder's meeting.  It was a room full of men in suits, a few couples, sometimes one other unaccompanied woman, and me.  The other women there were bank employees.   One reason I made the effort to attend was just to make sure that at least one woman, not there as part of a married couple or an employee, was there.  It was a reminder that women had invested in the company. 

Working with community organizations, other than PTA, there are geometrically more men than women in the room.    Sometimes I'm the only woman in the room.  That can feel awkward, depending on how well I know the other people.  

I'm hoping this imbalance shifts in future years.

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