"This is a Man's World..."

"But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl."

James Brown isn't exactly who pops to the forefront of everyone's minds when talking about sexism in the workplace, but I could have played that song on loop a couple of weeks ago after a visit from a particularly rude person to our place of business.

As I'm sure we all know, the cryogenics industry is definitely dominated by men.  But, as a young, college educated woman in the 21st century, I did not think much about sexism in the workplace.  I had thought that it was something that employee handbooks and company policies had to cover, but was pretty much a de-facto non-issue.  Perhaps I was being naive, or perhaps it has something to do with my blood relation to my boss, but I just didn't think discrimination based on gender would be a problem for me.  Boy, was I wrong.

Now, I know how to handle discrimination of any kind if it is coming from a coworker or a boss, but how do you deal with it if it is coming from a customer (and I mean a BIG customer)?  Do you say something?  Do you report it to their supervisor?  What if they are one of the highest corporate members of the company's U.S. locations?  I wanted to say something.  I wondered how this person had gotten so far in their career with such backwards attitudes.  The fact is, I didn't take any action.  I didn't say a word to this person.  I have been blessed to have such a respectful and open-minded family/company to support me, but outside of our business I now know that I can expect some doubt, rejection and down-right tactlessness.  It is unfortunate, but true.  All I can do is keep my composure, try my best and eventually prove them all wrong.

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