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Woman Balks After Boyfriend Claims Her Lack Of Promotion In Tech World Isn’t Due To Sexism

Woman working at a desktop computer
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While the world has thankfully come a very long way regarding gender roles, there is still a lot of progress to be made.

And sadly, sexism continues to be a frighteningly unchanging problem, particularly in the workplace.

Countless talented women are being passed over for jobs and promotions simply because they are women, despite the fact that they are often infinitely more qualified than the men who end up getting their jobs.

The girlfriend of Redditor challengingsexism was growing increasingly frustrated by her stagnant career, confident that her lack of change was entirely owing to sexism.

However, the original poster (OP) thought there might be a bit more at play than she thought and shared his honest thoughts with her.

Honest thoughts which didn’t sit well with his girlfriend one bit.

Wondering if he had done anything wrong, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for challenging my girlfriend’s claims about sexism at work.”

The OP explained how his response to his girlfriend’s frustrations only made her feel even worse.

“My girlfriend and I both work in the tech industry and both have 5 years of experience.”

“I have a CS/math degree and she has an electrical / electronics engineering degree.”

“I have been promoted to a senior level at my company and she has been promoted only once and is still a junior at her company.”

“She always complains about how things are unfair at all jobs she had (3 so far) and how she is not given opportunities, supposedly excluded from meetings (while still claiming she gets asked to take notes in meetings) and decisions.”

“She judges her coworkers for things they say that have nothing to do about work, like when they talk about their wives and partners.”

“She and another woman once complained about a coworker for being rude in meetings, and HR (which was dealt with by a woman) did not find anything wrong and dismissed their concerns.”

“She recently had a performance review and was not promoted and told that she needs to take on more challenges and told me that she does but is always told to hand over projects to other people when she starts them and excluded from the meetings.”

“I do believe that there is some sexism in the industry, but I think she cannot blame everything on sexism and recognize that perhaps she has room to improve.”

“She thinks that because she graduated with honors with a 4.0, that translates to industry performance.”

“Her degree is also in electronics and more hardware focused.”

“I expressed this to her and suggested she follow her manager’s advice to grow, and she got upset with me and called me an AH.”

“I get her disappointment, but I don’t think it is fair for her to expect me to just agree to everything she says.”

“So AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The OP found little to no sympathy from the Reddit community, who unanimously agreed he was the a**hole for how he treated his girlfriend.

Everyone agreed that the OP was oblivious to his girlfriend’s feelings and experience and should have been more sympathetic and understanding.


“Yes, being repeatedly asked to take notes as the only, or one of very few, women in the room is sexism.”

“They’re being treated as secretaries, not leaders.”


“Not sexism.”


“It’s annoying.”

“Three times?”

“Starting to see a pattern.”

“Yes, sexism is having to listen to your coworkers go on sexist, misogynist diatribes about the women those men chose to be with.”

“Knowing that they didn’t choose to be your coworker and if that’s how they talk about the women they love, who knows how they talk about her?”

“Yes, coming up with ideas and then being told to hand them over, but being chastised for it.”

“Yeah, bud, that’s sexism.”

“So what HR didn’t find anything?”

“HR’s job is the protect the company, not her.”

“Discrimination is hard to prove.”

“Do you know why?”

“People with attitudes like ‘she cannot blame everything on sexism and recognize perhaps she has room to improve’.”

“The question isn’t whether she has room to improve (we all do).”

“The question is whether the men are being held to the same standard, whether she is being given opportunities to show the skills she does have, and whether her boyfriend just mansplained what is and is not sexism to her.”

“Did I mention… oh yeah, YTA?”-  HuckleberryHellcat


“I’ve spent years working in male-dominated environments, and the things your girlfriend is complaining about being unfair are commonplace.’

“Unfortunately, HR in many, many workplaces overlooks sexism.”

“I’ve seen plenty of people be rude in sexist ways and get away with it, even when the HR staff are also female.”

“My advice to your girlfriend would be to see if she can secure a job elsewhere as it’s clear her current workplace is setting her up for failure if she’s being forced to hand over projects and being excluded from meetings.”

“You suggesting she follows up on her manager’s advice after she’s given you a perfectly legitimate reason as to why she can’t seems problematic.”

“How can someone take on bigger projects if they’re forced to hand them over to other members of staff and excluded from meetings regarding them?”

“I’ve heard stories like this from women hundreds of times, and it’s not at all unusual or uncommon.”

“This is, unfortunately, the norm for many male-dominated environments.”

“Sexism is pretty rampant.”- SeekingBeskar

“So you think being asked to take notes in meetings DISPROVES sexism is an issue in her job?”


“YTA.”- Bevin_Flannery


“Acting like you know her job and her experiences better than she does is an example of the very sexism she’s complaining about.”

“Also, the way you seem to have seized on this bit:”

“As some sort of ‘gotcha’ kind of reinforces that.”

“Presumably, she was excluded from some meetings and told to take notes at others that she wasn’t excluded from.”- No_Reason1780

“Woman tells the man about experiencing sexism in tech, a famously sexist environment.”

“Man who has no more work experience than her but who has been promoted to senior level replies that she’s wrong based on nothing other than a feeling that he’s right.”

“This is the sexist workplace in a microcosm.”

“YTA.”- NotTrynaMakeWaves


“Were you asked to be the minute-taker in meetings?”

“What about handing over your projects?”

“If she needs improvement, then her manager needs to identify the areas she needs improvement and work on a development plan.”

“So her manager is either completely sh*t or there is some truth to what she’s saying.”

“It’s interesting how you’re completely ready to infantilize your gf when you know she’s obviously bright and capable of learning stuff in your respective fields.”

“Why you have to research it is beyond me.”

“Look at your own 1950s attitude where you can’t just take her word for it and have to go f*cking research it for yourself…because what could a woman possibly f*cking know.”

“It’s precisely people who think like you that make the pace of progress infuriatingly slow.”

“Just get out of the way, and you know to support your gf.”- SunMoonTruth

“My partner (an engineer) reported that the women he works with sometimes hand off stuff for him to say during a meeting because they are collectively aware that a couple of the guys will minimize or ignore the statement if the women say it, whereas if my partner says it, even if he specifies that it’s their point, it’ll get a fair hearing.”- seventeenblackbirds

A contrite OP later returned with an update, admitting that he wasn’t as cognizant as he could have been and would do his best not to make the same mistakes again.

“I talked about it more with my gf, and I think I was the AH, unfortunately.”

“It is unbelievable, and it seems like the place is even worse than her previous jobs, and I did not realize that.”

“Also I started getting loads of DMs from people telling me it is not sexist and justifying that with sexist remarks and claiming Reddit is left. I am also very left (and I don’t think Reddit is that left).”

“I have encouraged her to job search again, and we will reach out to our friends in the field for opportunities.”

It’s always interesting when a man tells a woman something isn’t sexist.

Mainly owing to the fact that sexism is something they will most likely never experience in their lives.

Something the OP will hopefully keep in mind going forward, not only in how he treats his wife but also his female colleagues at his work.

We’re glad OP seemed receptive to the advice of the Subreddit, which is why he asked the question in the first place. We hope his partner finds a workplace that values and promotes her abilities.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.