Aurora Chamber of Commerce

“You Don’t Belong: The Tacit Messaging of Gender Micro-Inequities in the Workplace – Diversity and Inclusion & Women in Business / January 12, 2018

The Diversity and Inclusion Council and the Women In Business Committee partnered in January 2018 to host Maria “Giugi” Carminati, JD, with Carminati Law PLLC: The Woman’s Lawyer, who presented on the topic of “You Don’t Belong: The Tacit Messaging of Gender Micro-Inequities in the Workplace.”

Giugi began by sharing her background in the industry and how she came to be The Women’s Lawyer. Throughout the presentation, she offered facts to support her data and story. Some examples are:

  • Women make up approximately half of all law school enrollees (48.7 percent) and J.D.’s (47.3 percent), respectively. However, women make up:
    • Less than 25 percent of all private firm partners,
    • 18 percent of equity partners, and
    • 18 percent of managing partners for the 200 largest firms in the U.S.
  • In corporate law, women make up 24.8 percent of general counsel for Fortune 500 corporations

Giugi related these facts to her personal story, explaining why she decided to start her own practice.  She also discussed micro-aggressions against women and how this has – and can – affect women in the workplace, in any field.

  • Chester Pierce, MD, a Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor, first coined the term micro-aggressions in the 1970s, defining them as “brief and often subtle everyday events that denigrate individuals because they’re members of particular groups.”
  • Micro-aggressions differ from ordinary aggressive acts in that they do not necessarily intend harm.
  • Micro-aggressions are often subtle and can take on both verbal and nonverbal formats.
  • Micro-aggressions have been utilized to explain subtle sexism and sex-based discrimination against women
  • Several studies have shown that gendered micro-aggressions cause detrimental consequences to women’s psychological and behavioral health as well as their careers

Giugi offered some vocabulary that many can relate to, including men that were present (as they laughed and nodded in agreement):

  • Intrusive Interrupting: intentionally or unintentionally usurping the speaker’s turn at talk with the intent of ceasing the speaker’s ability to finish organically
  • Mansplaining: a man interrupting a women to explain to her something that she actually knows more about than he does
  • Manterrupting: unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man
  • Bropropriating: a man taking a woman’s idea and taking credit for it

In her final thoughts, she gave advice on being proactive and how to acknowledge that gender bias is happening in the workplace:

  • Be aware
  • Recognize the existence of unconscious biases
  • Counteract internalized sexism (trainings, seminars)
  • Practice bystander intervention
  • Credit work where credit is due


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