Here’s the scenario: you’re having lunch with 5 people. Two of them are members of the board of directors for the organization you work for. One of them is your boss. The other two are consultants that you have hired who’ve come to the board meeting to make a presentation on your behalf. You are the only woman at the table. One of the board members makes two statements: one of them essentially dismisses all of the work that you (and your team) do as inconsequential, and the other one dismisses all women (and especially younger women, and even more specifically younger women with degrees in literature – which you happen to have) as inconsequential. All of the other men at the table chuckle uncomfortably and most of them cast sideways glances at you.
What do you do?
a.) Sit demurely and let him heap on the insults?
b.) Blast him with both barrels and call him out for being an ignorant, narrow-minded, sexist old fart?
c.) Wait for one of the other less-bigoted men at the table to come to your rescue?
d.) Calmly and respectfully put him in his place and point out the error in his statements?
e.) Take the passive-aggressive approach and find underhanded insults to throw at him?
I’ll come back later to tell you what I did.