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How should I react when my supervisor makes sexist remarks?

How would you react if your first line leader, upon meeting you for the first time said, "Oh, great another female, I was hoping for a male."

From my perspective, this statement says more about the man who said it, than about women soldiers. If this were said to me, I’d just give him a straight, hard, no expression look. For now, be the best soldier you can be. Give this leader a chance to appreciate your ability as a soldier and a valuable member of his team.

In the meantime, don’t waste your energy dwelling on this single statement. Sometimes people say stupid things without thinking. To be successful as a soldier, you can’t take isolated incidents like this too personally. Move out and prove to him that you are a superb soldier. Let your performance prove his initial statement wrong.

posted on 06/30/2012 under Q&A
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Jo B. Rusin is a retired soldier, who spent the majority of her career in Regular Army troop units from platoon leader to commander of a support brigade in the Gulf War. As a combat service support soldier, Jo B. served in units composed of both men and women from all racial and ethnic groups. She is a strong believer in the ability of soldiers to succeed, regardless of whether they are men or women or where they came from. Jo B. is the author of a number of military leadership books, including Move Out: The Insider's Guide for Military Leaders; Move to the Front: The Classic Guide for Military Women; and Women on Your Team: A Man's Guide to Leading Women. JoRusin.com

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  • Part-Time-Commander

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    I might tolerate it the first time, but if it happened again I would have a heart to heart talk with my supervisor (in a professional way). If it happened a third time I would bring it to my chain of command.

    Great article.

    Chuck

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