9 Women Respond Brilliantly To A Sexist Question

These women took a stupid sexist question and turned it on its head to show how they are effecting change in their industries.

The more we look into what it means to be a woman in the corporate world, the more stories come to light–and it’s been a frustrating time in the world of women in leadership.


It’s hard to look away from stories like Dov Charney’s unbelievably sexist behavior, the words of Tinder cofounders that are a slap in the faces of entrepreneurial young women, not to mention the slew of depressing reports about nearly every aspect of the gender gap at work.

So, with the help of Elizabeth Plank, a senior editor at Mic, we’re changing the tone to check in with women who are doing us all proud. In the spirit of Lauren Conrad’s epic response to the question, “What’s your favorite position?” (spoiler alert: it’s CEO), Plank compiled a list of 23 women responding to that same question, and their answers. Here are a few of our favorites.

They’re breaking big news

Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, host and producer at HuffPost Live, helped create the weekly panel, #WMN. “Someone once asked me if it’s worth focusing on women as they’re ‘not a minority.’ I told them: ‘Have you taken a look at the news recently? Heck yes, we are!'”

Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, host and producer, HuffPost Live, photo by Liran Okanon

“The best part of my job right now is that me and my colleagues are given the freedom to experiment, which is a necessary but all too rare part of creating something new and meaningful,” says Anna Holmes, Voices Editor at Fusion.

And then there’s writer Soraya Chemaly, whose work is published in the Guardian, Salon, CNN, and the Nation, to name a few: “What I love most about my work is the ability it gives me to engage people in challenging the everyday assumptions that impede equality.”

Political analyst and freelance writer Zerlina Maxwell does what comes naturally, for a living. “Politics is personal for me, and there is no way I would sit by silently and watch politics happen without raising my voice and changing the conversation about issues that I care about,” she says.

Zerlina Maxwell, political analyst and freelance writer

They’re making big things

“The best part of my job is being able to work with engineers and tradespeople to see a project come from a design on paper to a usable structure,” says Patricia Valoy, a civil engineer at STV Inc.

Patricia Valoy, civil engineer, photo by Liran Okanon

Christina Wallace, program director of BridgeUp at the American Museum of Natural History, is building a program to encourage girls in computer science fields. “It’s an incredible role, working with a best-in-class institution to change the ratio of girls in computer science and ensure more women have the opportunity to create and not just consume technology,” she says.

“The best part of my job is that I truly believe my team is building a better world–the kind of world I want to live in,” says Bea Arthur, founder and CEO of Pretty Padded Room. “With Facebook and Instagram, we only seem to want to present the best versions of ourselves, but what makes the world go round is the other side of that coin: the sin, the shame, the story, the true story.”

Bea Arthur, founder and CEO, Pretty Padded Room

And changing the world

“A leader is only as effective as the house around her, and I am floored daily by the commitment and the passion and the stories that drive people’s fight for reproductive freedom,” says Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “If the other side is the last dying gasp of an outdated patriarchal system, the team I get to lead is the very expression of what a future looks like that embraces justice, equality, and respect for diversity.”

Ilyse Hogue, president, NARAL Pro-Choice America

“I feel inspired every day,” says Courtney Harvey, director of operations at Women Moving Millions. “How many people can say that about their jobs? I get to work with visionary philanthropists, innovative nonprofit leaders, and a talented and scrappy team who all share the same vocation–the advancement of women and girls for the betterment of the world.”

H/T: Mic


About the author

Freelance tech, science and culture writer. Find Sam on the Internet: @samleecole.