The Struggles of Ines Sainz and Other Women Working in a Man's World

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The alleged sexual harassment of female reporter, Ines Sainz, by coaches and players of the New York Jets has piqued the interest of football fans and non-sports fans alike, for various reasons. Many people like to weigh in with their theories about why the incident happened, while others prefer to comment on what prompted the incident to occur, and many can't resist offering their thoughts on whether or not it was deserved.

The beauty, a former Miss Universe contestant, and current reporter for TV Azteca, was allegedly hooted and hollered at when she entered the locker room at the Jets Florham Park, New Jersey facility. Passes were also purposely overthrown by Jets head coach Rex Ryan and defensive backs coach, Dennis Thurman, so that they would land near the TV reporter.

After Sainz tweeted that she felt "very uncomfortable!" at the Jets practice on Saturday, Jets owner, Woody Johnson, spoke with the reporter and said in a statement read before Monday night's game that: "We will continue to work with the league to gather facts and take appropriate steps to maintain a respectful environment for the media."





Women Show How To Rise Above The Not-So-Beautiful Workplace Situations

Just how hard is it to work in a male-dominated field in today's society? I spoke with a number of women who are the unsung heroes of modern female advancement and got their personal accounts of how their days play out in a workplace that is a man's world. Not only do these comments raise awareness about these types of fiascoes that are far more common than you think or may even believe, but they also reassure us that there are ways to deal with these inappropriate situations and rise above them.


Former Redskins Executive Says Thick Skin Is Mandatory

"I avoided going to the bathroom at certain times of the day when I knew the hallways would be crowded with players and coaches," said one former Redskins executive, because as I walked the length of the hall to the restroom, "I could feel their eyes watching me and I heard their smug and inappropriate comments."

Despite the belief among the male executives in this good old boys club where women don't know **i* about football, this former Redskins executive was not there to be someone's secretary and she was not there to score a husband. "Women had to work harder than men to overcome stereotypes. It was almost as if you had to overcompensate because all the men-coaches, players, other executives and clients alike- that you came in contact with assumed you were an idiot and didn't know a thing about football because you were a girl."

Once told by her boss that "sex sells," this executive was getting hit with inappropriate comments from every angle, ultimately making it frustrating for her to advance her career and conduct business in an environment where there was no clear career path for women to follow before they hit the glass ceiling.

When asked how she got through her days at Redskins Park, she said that she learned to look at things with clouded vision and she made her already thick skin even thicker. "You couldn't let the environment get to you and those that did, didn't last more than a week. You had to think like a man or you weren't going to last."


Seasoned Trader Learned To Trade Inappropriate Comments For No Comments

Jeanette Sims is a trader, trading educator and COO of the Diversified Trading Institute (DTI), an Alabama-based trading school that is among the best trading schools in the country.

While Sims admits that she does not face inappropriate or distasteful comments at her firm that has more of a family environment, she does admit that this type of inappropriate behavior is rampant within her industry. "We get traders who fly in from all over the world to attend our trading school and they all, on some level, treat me differently because I am a woman."

Additionally, Sims runs an online chat room for her trading company, which has a picture of her along with her bio and resume information, and she finds that the suggestive emails that she receives are often distasteful and overwhelming. "Some emails will comment on how beautiful I am and others will tell me the name and location of a hotel where a person is staying while I am at a trade show, in case I want to stop by," say Sims. While Sims realizes that these are comments that people would never dare say directly to her face, they are the types of suggestive, inappropriate comments that people feel safe making to her when hiding behind their computers and email accounts.

Sims, like Sainz and many others, never puts the spotlight on these flirty emails or sexual comments, but rather, reassures herself that even distasteful situations that arise in the workplace can be handled with discretion and class once a woman is involved: "At the end of the day I say to myself that I put myself here {in the trading world} everyday and I choose to be a woman in a male dominated field so I am not going to let it bother me or affect my work."


Dr. Linda Brodsky, A Female Surgeon That Breaks The Mold

Dr. Brodsky recounts the daily trials and tribulations of working in a male-dominated sector within the field of medicine, surgery. The comments directed at her were often backhanded, where she was praised for one thing and then immediately torn apart or ridiculed for something else. Other times, comments were petty when colleagues felt threatened by her skills and success and lashed out instead because it was easier.

"I was in a meeting during which I was told that my performance was great and that I had done so many things to make the hospital a better place. They even mentioned cloning me for me skills. But then they mentioned that I should change my 'style.' I asked them to clarify, 'the way I dress?' and they stared at me knowingly, but didn't dare say anything more."

"I was in a brainstorming meeting in which I was giving concrete suggestions about how we could improve things at the hospital. Another doctor in the meeting turned to me and said, 'You're just mean, mean, mean. Why can't you ever give anyone the benefit of the doubt?"

As precise as her surgical moves, Dr. Brodsky is seasoned and skilled at extracting herself from inappropriate situations and fending off harassing remarks. Here is her tactic.

"Whenever I am faced with inappropriate workplace behavior I just look at the offender, smile, and say thank you. The smile disarms them instantly-they didn't get the rise out of you that they were looking for. Instead they get embarrassed and realize that they probably shouldn't have said anything in the first place."

Unfortunately we can only control our own actions, not those of others, and while some industries -- coal mining, Wall Street, surgery, sports media, just to name a few -- are more prone to being rough places for women to work, that does not mean that women should be excluded from working in those fields, or treated any differently once they get there.

Ines Sainz could only control the way she responded to the situation that occurred at the Jets facility, not the comments that men made or the actions they took for whatever reasons they had.

And while we may all wonder what really happened and how this situation really went down, it is equally important to remember that this incident should be viewed as a lesson that we can all learn something from.


Next: Men Vs. Women: Who Works/Plays Harder? >>



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