There is a new book… that examines the workplace experience of those who have taken a different journey: the transition from female to male….
Most of the men interviewed revealed that as men they were given more authority and respect in the workplace than they had received as women, even when they had stayed in the same job. They also found that their economic gains post-transition were greater despite the fact that their human capital remained the same.
Here are just a few of the observations made about the personal difference they found between being a woman in the workplace and being a man.
As men they found that they were perceived as being right more often. One tells a story of intentionally repeating a comment that had just been made by a woman in a conference setting. The woman had been shot down for making the comment but when the man made exactly the same observation the reaction was “Excellent point!”
Alternatively, the men found that displays of knowledge that had been previously sanctioned by their employers when they were women were now rewarded and they were encouraged to offer their opinions. More support was provided to them at work when they needed it, and more resources made it easier for the men to perform their jobs well.
As men, they found that behaviour that had been previously perceived as excessively assertive when they were woman was now positively seen as “taking charge.”
But there’s an important exception.
About one-third saw no gains to being a man. It turns out that the real gain described above is not in becoming a man, but in becoming an older white man. Becoming either a Black or Asian man meant facing a whole new set of challenges in the workplace as either being too aggressive or too passive. If the transition made them look like very young men (especially over the period in which they are developing peach fuzz beards) they saw no advantage, or were disadvantaged for their youth and perceived lack of experience.
(Thanks, Frog and Shaula!)