As I work in the financial world, where there’s still many more men than women, I’ve encountered some disastrous situations because I’m a woman. I have the “misfortune” to be young and not too repelling, so each time I go to a conference/ interview/ meeting, you can be sure I won’t pass unperceived because I’m the only one of my kind in the assistance. Example in a meeting with institutional investors in Brussels: only three women, including me. The two others were much older than me, in their fifty years old. As a result, I was offered drinks all the time.
I was flabbergasted the first time I started this job about how immature men can be, even in the financial world. In a other meeting, I was – again- the only lady in the room, and I saw men litteraly fighting just to sit next to me. And the lucky winner had those little words towards me” I’m lucky today, I should play the lottery“. Nice.
When I first started, I didn’t know anyone in the little financial world of my country, not even my rival journalists. I have been in my company for only three weeks when they sent me to a conference with fund managers and pension fund managers. As I was heading to the dresser for a tea before the beginning of the conference, I felt a hand grabbing my arm. As I turned back and faced the person who did that, I heard this little sentence: “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in that boring conference? Are you lost?” . The guy, a pension fund manager, was standing at just a few inches from my face. And he kept on talking. It was a very uncomfortable situation. I was searching a way to get myself out of it, when another guy came to my rescue. ” You must be the new journalist from our rival newspaper” he said. And he just invited me to sit next to him, while taking me away from the other guy. That day, I met one of the nicest journalists in my profession, and also a pathetic man I didn’t see again afterwards.
Another funny episode in my career: Barcelona. I was invited by a famous investment bank to a seminar in that beautiful city. There was a gala dinner organized for the occasion, and as I was preparing to sit at my place , a man came behind me and started to tell me how he liked my articles and that he only read my newspaper just for them. He was quite handsome, though, but I replied to him very coldly. He didn’t insisted. Later in the evening, one of the PR of the company told me that the guy thought I was a tall blonde (which I’m not) . Visibly, he was fantasizing about me, but was disappointed when he saw me in real life.
I’m pretty sure that if I was a guy, these situations would have never happened. I wouldn’t get winks all the time when I enter a room full of men.