My work requires me to work with men, who, I think, are quite misogynistic in their own ways. It impacts my decision-making abilities, as I am often made to seek their permission despite being in a position of authority. What can I do?
Dear Sumitra, I can feel the predicament that you are in and realise how tricky it must be for you. I am however curious to understand, why do you seek permission when you are in power? Is your power/authority undermined or do you feel obliged to do so? You may also need to reflect if the permission that is sought is purely done to be on good terms with your colleagues and that perhaps you do not wish to rock the boat. Maybe you feel helpless or isolated and sometimes unsure? Addressing these questions can help you recognise if you truly need to seek permission from others.
If you are in a position of authority, then you may need to be more assertive and push your ideas and decisions as deemed fit. You can begin by doing it subtly and use available opportunities to change the dynamics slowly. This could be achieved by negotiating with the team to balance things and not make them ostracise you or become even more sexist. When you demonstrate your willingness and openness to others, regardless of gender dynamics, this could help you create your own niche in the workplace.
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