Last week at work, I had a tremendous opportunity, to attend a meeting for my project with the local planning permission board with several other members of my firm, including a partner and the ceo.
When I was called in and asked if I was available to attend the meeting, my supervisor made it clear, though he had plenty of other false reasons he could have used, that I was being asked to attend to be the token female. I put this down to slight awkwardness on his part, and tried not to be offended - title ix or not, this was going to be an important opportunity for me, and I was going to make the most of it.
When he then announced to the team that I had gone, he again mentioned that the reason I had gone was because I was female, and the rest of the team that had to go was male. I have definitely heard of sexism being an issue in my field - there is still a large divide between percentage of women graduating from accredited schools (just over 50%) versus women practicing (something like 35%) versus women who are principals (something like 20%). I understand there are factors involved that women are removing themselves from the field, not being forced out, but still - I am not sure how I feel about the whole thing.
Should I be appreciative that my supervisor did not try and sugar coat things for me? The truth is that I am at least competent, or there was no way they would have risked me at such an important meeting, and I did benefit hugely from the trip. But is that really all I am worth?