The Gender Tax


“I know these are your ideas, but I like them and I’m not going to give them up.” Really, I’ve been told this directly when I confronted someone taking credit for work I was doing. Frustrating experience, yes. No it didn’t stop me from pursuing my life. No, I am not crying victim.

However, this is just one example of many times I’ve watched my words be whisked away from my ownership, sometimes in the same meeting. Sometimes it is overt like the above story where people are being intentional idea snatchers. Sometimes it is less subtle. For example, I’ve had experiences where I have laid out an idea for strategy in a meeting and had a third party misappropriate where the discussion originated and who owned the thought. No one was being intentionally malicious and I had respect for everyone in the meeting. It still felt kind of sucky.

This isn’t even isolated to a female problem, it is a power dynamic. Minorities, females, and anyone with less power in professional dynamic can be overlooked and ideas can be outright stolen or subtly credited to the wrong party. As supporters of all kinds of equality we need to be better about being aware that this happens and publicly acknowledging when it does so we can correct course in the moment it happens.


Amy Gehling