As my career grows, I have started to notice the comments that I wasn't familiar with.
I guess it is a "compliment" but for me, I find it offensive more and more.
"How amazing to see a girl do so well!"
"You must be proud of being a woman in tech."
"You're so young. It pays off to be good looking girl, doesn't it?"
"It's amazing to see a girl, especially a Korean, be in this industry."
"Successful girl like you -- where is your husband?"
These comments were thrown at me in the past 7 days.
Not about my professionalism, way of thinking, intelligence, or my skills.
What has actually got me to my growth in career was all diminished and forgotten by the fact that I am a Korean female.
Being a woman is not an accomplishment. Being a Korean descendent is not an accomplishment.
Have you ever heard a comment, "How amazing to see a man do so well!", "You must be proud of being a man in tech" "It's amazing to see a man, especially a caucasian, be in this industry"?
Stating those alone felt abnormal to me.
It is considered a moot point and expected of men to be successful and for women, it is only thing that seem to matter and is applied for every action she takes.
In the world and country that highlights equality and fairness, all of us are still living with the stereotype that we have created in our minds. We are "working" to close the gender gap and yet women are criticized for asking equal pay and men are applauded for negotiating their raise.
It is this stereotype, it is this mindset that continues the glass ceiling to exist. It is comments like those I have heard in the past week that pushes talented women to move away.
Age, Gender, and Race: Why are these highlighted for those who are not middle aged caucasian male?
The sad part is many of those who say comments like those I have mentioned, those managers and employers who gets defensive when a female employee asks about fair pay but have praised a caucasian male colleague to other employees for negotiating, customers who speak with a male colleague with assumption that they are my employer...say that they believe in Women's rights and equality.
A startup CEO, who says, "we made a separate bathroom for the female. I thought you would appreciate that" as if he was doing female employees a favour for something that should be obvious.
A customer, who says, "you're young, pretty, and smart. It would be a shame if you were married." and winks.
A colleague, who witnesses but does not speak up and sits silently.
I know that if I asked them, they believe in ending a gender gap and inequality.
There are so many blind spots in professional world and those individuals may not see.
So please do not applaud me based on my gender, age, or sex. If you are to applaud me of my success, acknowledge my talent, skills, and the hard work I have put in.
And to break the glass ceiling, next meeting you have with a female colleague, please listen to her as you would with a male colleague. Give her the authority and the respect that you give to your male colleague. And give credit to the work she has put in, not her physical attributes.