She fought silently and well, and she won. She's also cautioned me against writing anything on this topic because I could be labeled as a trouble-maker.
There are many other people who have written about being a woman in the workplace more eloquently and thoroughly than I ever could. Moreover, my path has been smooth compared to what other women face, particularly women of color, members of the LGB and trans community, and women who haven't had the benefit of familial support systems and affordable, accessible educational opportunities. In fact, when considering the struggles of other women and how relatively easy I've had it, I'm tempted not to write this at all.
This is the part where I talk about being sexually harassed and criticized for not being a "team player" and told I'm too loud, too brash, too aggressive, I'm unladylike. Where I tell you that when expressing discomfort at a male colleague's advances, I was told I should "accept it" and be flattered by the attention. It's also the part where I tell you about the men in my life who have supported me professionally and celebrated that I am not just a high-achieving person, but a high-achieving woman. And then I remind you that those men are in the minority, and for every supporter, I've had five more telling me they wouldn't be talking to me if I didn't look so pretty. (This is a very familiar story.)
Maybe that's why I want to write this. Because if I, as privileged as I am, have lived these phenomena, you must understand how much worse it's been for others. We all need to understand, and champion, and enfranchise all women, but especially those who have started at an extreme disadvantage, thanks to the prejudiced society in which we live.
Also remember that I shouldn't be punished for talking about these things--no woman should be. I am not a professional liability because I acknowledge these issues and want to change them.
I might make about 80 cents to a white male's dollar, but black and Hispanic women are making about 60 cents to a white male's dollar.
These are familiar stories, but just because it's a familiar doesn't mean we should be inured to these realities. Please pay attention to subconscious and conscious biases, understand where they come from, and get rid of them. Be an advocate. Listen. Help move us all forward.