Shit gets real on social media, especially in those little private groups. People are willing to call you out on everything from your values to your worth, which makes it a bit like walking across a bull’s pen. Sometimes it’s callous, “just kidding” type things but sometimes, people argue about things that actually hurt. Things that make you re-think and look at things in a different way. It’s a bit of a mystery, really, how people behind a screen and all of their rapid-fire opinions have such an impact when really, they’re just words on a page.
A few weeks ago, in one of these Facebook groups, it was brought to my attention that women are proportionally underrepresented as speakers when it comes to HR and recruiting conferences. What escalated next – a series of “irrational” and irreverent comments on “women’s reactions” – stung.
I won’t go any farther into that conversation because frankly, it’s not worth it. The details don’t make a difference – it’s about how it resonated with me.
Really, it hit me in the toy aisle. That was my real “aw hell no” moment. I’m not so sure my girlfriend appreciated my outrage considering all of the children around me and my liberal use of swear words – I was in the toy aisle after all. But let me set the scene.
We were in the Lego aisle for girls. By “for girls” I just mean that it’s all pink and princesses. As I looked a little closer at each set, I quickly realized all the career sets for girls were things like hairdressers and rock stars while the boys were firemen, police officers and super heroes.
I don’t enjoy the concept of those gender stereotypes in the first place. I would make an awful hairdresser. And everyone who has cut my hair well has been a guy, even when I had long hair. My vagina doesn’t make me particularly good at cutting hair or being a rockstar.
My brain makes me better at things than other people. So to me, I don’t quite understand why we can’t just accept that everyone has a different subset of talents versus looking at it as “boy talents” and “girl talents.” I just want to go brain to brain with people. If I’m better it’s because I am, not because I am a girl.
I’ve read about inequity of women and I know about suffrage but today, these impacts are felt in the most silent ways – like in that pink, crap career path lego aisle. It’s not blatant, but it resonates.
Then there’s the whole “women make 78 cents for every dollar a guy makes.” That’s bullshit.
The bottom line on work is that you either can or can’t do the job. That’s it. It’s up to you, your talents and how hard you work. I’m not a quota, I’m a contributor.
Brain to brain. That’s all I want.
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.