themalevoice.org   the Official Website of the National Coalition of Free Men, Greater New York Chapter    

Discrimination in the Workplace:
Not Just a Woman's Problem

In the summer of 2001, I was tasked with taking over as project manager of a key project for my former employer. This project, originally started by an outside consulting firm, had already been in progress for four years, was still not complete and was way over-budget. A female Vice President (VP) was not happy with the ways things were going either before or after I took charge. As the pressure to complete this project became more intense, things got very ugly.

The female VP, who had a lot of accountability for this project, stormed into the office of my VP (a male) and blamed all the problems we were having on me. I was shocked when my Vice President told me this. He knew very well that I had only been involved in the project for a very short time and that I had just taken charge of a project which had not been completed successfully by other people who had led the project for the previous four years. He was aware that I was doing everything in my power to "save" the project, even though my advice to him had been to restart the project from scratch.

I was even more shocked when he demoted me. I realized that I was being used as a scapegoat and that is, unfortunately, part of corporate life. Still, I could not see why things had deteriorated to the point where I was being demoted. The situation seemed way out of hand and I spoke to my immediate manager, Henry, several times. I kept asking him why I had been demoted. He was very evasive and would tell me things like "I'll see what I can find out." I found out through the grapevine that the female VP who had complained about me had a history of discriminating against males on the job. Furthermore, her boss, the head of the department where I worked also had a history of discriminating against men. The people with the most power in the department were very hateful of men and were frequently abusive toward them. To make matters worse, the CEO of my former employer is female and also has a reputation for discrimination against men. Eventually, I was fired.

We live in a society that has changed enormously in the last 25 years with respect to gender roles. There are many companies, or areas within companies, where women have gained a tremendous amount of power and now use that power to hurt men. These women are frequently people who at one time felt discriminated against by men and now feel they have an opportunity "to get even."

Men, you must be aware that this is the reality of corporate life in the early 21st century. I was nave. It took me a long time to figure out what was really going on in my situation and that put me at a disadvantage whenever I tried to defend myself. Men, you must learn to unite in the workplace. My VP and my immediate manager were both men. They both knew I had been doing a good job. Still, they caved into the pressures brought on by a group of anti-male females. They were scared and they let me take the fall. They were wrong!

I'll conclude here by advising all men to join a men's rights group such as NCFM and its Greater New York Chapter. Men face serious problems and no man can deal with these problems alone. It is not unmanly to seek out support from other men. In fact, having the courage to do that is one of the things that makes you a real man in the world today.

And to all women: I would like to point out that men's rights are not just a "male issue." Men's rights are very much your concern too. Your Son, your Brother, your Father or your Husband could easily become the next victim of gender discrimination.

Matthew Smith
New York, New York

March 2003

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2003 National Coalition of Free Men, Greater New York Chapter.  All rights reserved.