10 Things More Sexist Than Your Office’s AC Scenario

Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
According to a new study that outraged women everywhere, office buildings have been setting their thermostats based on the metabolic rate of a 40-year-old man in the 1960s. Women, who have slower metabolic rates thanks to more body fat, have had to suffer — hence, the plethora of female workers shuffling around the office with blankets thrown over their summer dresses. While the idea that office AC usage is just "another big, sexist plot" deserves serious eye roll, let's face it: The current system is beneficial to men and detrimental to women. And, there's no solution in sight: As the study found, the only plausible "make everyone happy" scenario would be individual thermostat control. Fat chance. Needless to say, there are plenty of other things to get angry about (and get your blood boiling to warm you up while you shiver at your desk), some a little more actionable than the building's frigid conditions. Here, 10 other office problems women have to deal with that are — dare we say — more sexist than the temperature settings. 10. Desk chairs
Ergonomic chairs do exist, and have been sold in a variety of sizes. (In the old days, there were "executive" and "secretary" models, now they're "small," "medium," and "large.") But still, the standard chair is a one-size-fits-all posture-ruining monstrosity, oftentimes too large or tall for women to really benefit. "There are larger option and high-back chairs," posture coach Lindsay Newitter says, but women-friendly smaller ones are harder to find at most offices. Someone's bound to study the sexist tendencies of office furniture design.

9. Office wear

Studies have shown that the more masculine the clothing, the more likely an applicant will be hired. So here we are, faced with the quandary: avoid the too-feminine, but also avoid the overly masculine — how many times has Hillary Clinton been criticized for her pantsuit? This sort of sexism has been well-documented, especially when one (male) news anchor wore the same suit for an entire year, while his (female) co-anchor was commonly criticized for her wardrobe. And let's not even talk about the "makeup tax." 8. Related: Heels
The concept of power dressing is alive and well — and wearing badass high heels is a big part of that. "Why Women Should Man Up And Wear Heels," one Forbes article preaches (quoting Amy Smilovic, founder of Tibi). But, as Amanda Bynes says in She's The Man, "Heels are a male invention designed to... make it harder for [women] to run away." Sure they look good, but they're not comfortable, and women shouldn't have to go through that torture just to be taken seriously. 7. The bathroom
There are reasons why women take longer in the bathroom, not least of which is that there is usually a line. That's because there are so few stalls, and as women, well, we take a bit longer. We have to sit. We have periods. Sometimes we have UTIs. It's time we get more toilets in the bathroom. The current general bathroom space is built in a way where women wait in long lines...while men don't. Side note: Can tampons and pads be free and accessible now?
6. Pet names
Being called "princess" or "sweetheart" in the office is not endearing, as these women will attest. 5. Expectations that we'll do office "housework" if it's not in the job description
One researcher found that women were often expected to take care of the "office housework" — bringing in cupcakes for a birthday, ordering sandwiches for lunches, making coffee, or taking notes during meetings. These tasks? Not in the job description of lawyers, executives, or scientists. 4. "Bitch," "bossy," "aggressive," or any other ugly name we give women in charge
Just because someone is competent, direct, and forward, does not mean he or she is aggressive. Unfortunately, those terms get thrown around a lot more when the person in charge is female. Thanks sexist stereotypes! 3. No dedicated lactation rooms
In the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Obama ruled that companies with more than 50 employees must provide a private room for nursing mothers, other than a bathroom. But in smaller offices, oftentimes the only option for breast pumping is the shared bathroom, and the typical need for an outlet and a place to sit make it a lot more difficult — and occasionally embarrassing. 2. Lack of paid maternity leave
Changes are happening in this area, as Netflix recently announced that it will be offering one year of paid parental leave (for mother and fathers). Overall, however, only 12% of workers in the United States have paid parental leave, according to the Department of Labor. The U.S. is one of the three countries in the world which do not require paid maternity leave. It's time we catch up. 1. Being paid 78 cents to every man's dollar
Yep, the pay gap still exists. What's worse, women of color earn even less. According to The American Association of University Women, black women earn only 64% of what a white man would make. Sure packing a sweater in the middle of summer is annoying, but the pay gap is definitely more sexist than our AC settings.

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