Today, yet another of the professional men I've hired to provide services for Triskele Media made the mistake of calling it Sean's corporation, and that's twice for this person. In all, the tally so far is two bankers, an insurance agent and an accountant in the last year alone. These are people I've contacted, vetted and engaged, people I've had lengthy discussions with as an executive and signing officer of the company and who have rarely, if ever spoken to Sean. One of the bankers altered his financial institution's standard business documentation to place Sean in signing positions he didn't belong, and the insurance agent sent paperwork to an incorrect email address for Sean - resulting in a protracted delay on our policy renewal - even though his female associate had been corresponding with me for weeks about the matter prior to that. In short, this problematic social behavior is damaging our business, and I'm not certain how to stop it. I've reminded each of these people of my position in the company when the situation warrants it, but that doesn't seem to curb the behavior. I've also stopped doing business with individuals when better options presented themselves, but unfortunately with services like corporate accounting, it's more difficult to make those sorts of transitions.
I remember speaking with a young liberal woman of my acquaintance some years ago who, when I told her that I was a feminist, replied that she was not because it wasn't necessary anymore. I worried about her future in that moment even though she clearly felt my perspective was fossilized. And yet here I am in 2014 reminding the men I do business with that I'm more than my husband's Girl Friday, that I am the CEO of of Triskele Media, a technologist and a writer. I'm scrutinizing every contract, chasing insurance documentation and telling my accountant again and again that my husband and I are 50/50 partners. It's bad for my productivity, it causes me to lose faith in my service providers and it's frustrating. And to be clear, Sean would never be questioned were he in my place. If I were Triskele Media's tech lead and he were the administrative officer, I have no doubt that he would still be seen as owner of the company. The only difference would be that the service providers he hired would correctly prepare our business documentation the first time.
Fortunately for us, I'm not the sort of person who permits problematic business behavior to persist, so Triskele Media's banking and insurance documents are in good order. But I'm weary of this persistent misogyny out of the people I pay for services. It isn't my job to train socially backward men to behave appropriately with their female clients, and I refuse to internalize the 'pushy bitch' narrative that ultimately comes out of this back-and-forth power struggle between me and Triskele Media's service providers. But whether or not it's my job, I expect I'll be doing it for the rest of my professional life if I want for our company to succeed. That's troubling, and not just for me, but for all business women.