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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.

If over time, he doesn’t figure out that you are an asset to his team, then look for an opportunity to transfer to another team. Complaining about how he wouldn’t give you a chance from the beginning will only make you look bad.

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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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