Skip to main content

You make this possible. Support our independent, nonprofit newsroom today.

Give Now

Don’t bring cupcakes to work if you’re a woman

caption: Eula Scott Bynoe and Jeannie Yandel are co-hosts of Battle Tactics For Your Sexist Workplace.
Enlarge Icon
Eula Scott Bynoe and Jeannie Yandel are co-hosts of Battle Tactics For Your Sexist Workplace.

We asked our Battle Tactics Facebook Group if they ever felt pressured to clean up after their coworkers, and it seemed like almost everyone had a story.

Here’s a doozy: A dean at a college was interviewing someone for a job, and the applicant asked her to throw away his sandwich wrapper. Why was he eating a sandwich during a job interview in the first place? Good question, but we’re getting off point.

The point is that women are socialized and pressured to do work that isn’t officially part of the job. It’s called office housework, and it can look a lot like this.

Women are disproportionately expected and pressured to do all kinds of office housework — taking notes during meetings, planning birthday parties, ordering lunch, taking care of coworkers emotionally. And while some might shrug it off as no big deal, it can actually negatively impact a woman’s career quite a bit.

"Sometimes women volunteer for this stuff because they have a self image of themselves selves as a helpful team player," said Joan Williams, co-author of the book, "What Works for Women at Work".

"And I think it's important to recognize it is important to be a team player. But sometimes people use the term team player in really different ways for men and for women."

Click the play button above to hear the full episode. BTSW is also available on your favorite podcast app.

This episode of Battle Tactics For Your Sexist Workplace was hosted by Eula Scott Bynoe and Jeannie Yandel. It was produced by Mayowa Aina and edited by Caroline Chamberlain Gomez.

Why you can trust KUOW