So, today I'm in a meeting with three in-house people and two outside consultants, and I am the only chick in the room. GUESS WHO was asked to make copies by one of the outside consultants? (No, actually that's not right - had to come back and edit this, so you can get the full effect.) He didn't ask ME nicely, he held up the paper to be copied and asked R, "Can SHE make copies?" Didn't even address me directly - "Does SHE understand English?" Yeah, she does, asshole. You may have noticed this when I was talking about the things I was there to address. And I had been thinking you were a real keeper, as consultants go. Now, not so much.
To his enormous credit, and I love him for it, my new boss R, who was running the meeting, spoke up immediately and said, "She's not here to make copies," and grabbed the documents and went to find someone paid to do that task. Of course, the reality is that I would have offered to do it, as would R or the other guy in our department, but I was quite pissed at the assumption that I was there to "take notes and make copies," because I was the lone female in the room, despite the fact that I did contribute information and opinions and spoke up like "one of the guys" when the subject turned to something I was working on. And then, at the end of the meeting, the new president of the company, who had taken few notes, leaned over to me and asked me to send him a summary of the meeting. As if I'd been sitting there taking notes for everybody? I was sitting next to him and didn't write much more than he did! I wrote down the things I had to get done, and as much background as I needed to do it, not what everybody else had to do, because excuse me, I wasn't there to take notes for anybody but me. Again, if, when we first sat down, he'd leaned over and said, "Could you keep notes on all of this and send me a summary?" I would have been happy to do it. So would either of the guys. But they weren't asked, and silly me, I thought I was there to contribute my part, like they were. My mistake - I don't have a penis, so I must be naturally gifted at taking notes!
But R gets a gold star for seeing this taking place and correcting outside consultant guy right away. New president - eh, I'll put together the best summary I can and gently tell him that in the future, if he wants anyone to keep notes for him he should say so before the meeting is OVER, like, hey, how about when it starts?
And the kicker is, this is not a sexist company. We have female VPs in roles traditionally filled by men, lots of women in management, and I normally feel I'm treated like an equal. So if it goes to show ya anything, it's that even in the "better" environments, if ya sit down to pee, the boys think you must have a special gift for secretarial tasks.