Are you aware of sexism around you? Would you recognize it?
I tackled flagrant sexism in my workplace during the '80s. I filed a complicated and landmark discrimination complaint (with additional follow-up complaints for retaliation) against the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. With nine consecutive top evaluations for all years of my employment, I was clearly the best qualified candidate and had the most education/experience; yet I was passed over twice for management roles as a United States probation officer, with both promotions going to less qualified males. The discrimination was blatant. Surely, I would win?
Years later, the U.S. Magistrate finally issued the first ruling (unfavorable), which I appealed pro se before the Eighth Circuit United States Court of Appeals. I represented myself because after around $30,000 in legal fees with the other side enjoying free/taxpayer dollar representation (I was paying 'twice'), more expense was not an option. The final opinion (again years later) from the U.S. Court of Appeals was in my favor — but I did not exactly 'win'. That was then and this is now. How widespread is sexism today?
Sexism in America - Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future by Barbara J. Berg, Ph.D. traces sexism through three waves — I was part of the second wave. Maybe we've come a long way, baby; but Dr. Berg catalogs how sexism has gained ground — through our educational systems, presidential administrations and politics, the media, consumerism, health care, the workplace, fashion, and many other forums.
Although I do not agree with all points in the book, Sexism in America provides an intensive and startling wake-up call to all women and men to examine their lives and recognize both incoming sexism and ways in which they, even women, contribute to sexism. Sexism is both subtle and obvious, and damaging to both men and women — but especially our children.
The author offers a steady stream of historical and current data to reinforce her views. For readers who dispute, doubt, or simply want to research or tackle sexism, Dr. Berg provides an impressive 65 pages of resources and notes for tracking her sources of information.