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Should men extend chivalry/chivalrous courtesies to women in the workplace?

Do you as a male 🐠 perform these for your female colleagues? Female 🐠, do you expect your male colleagues to?

likehelpful
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Female here. Some nuances to add:

Doors: I hold doors for everyone, but it’s less about male/female. I’ll hold it open and let them through first if it’s someone with their hands full, elderly/handicapped, etc. For everyone else, I just hold it so it doesn’t fully shut after me for someone. I would appreciate the same courtesy, but “overdo” it and it gets creepy.

Elevators: Closest to the door off first. Doors are automatic so strength or a free hand are issues. Mostly just no time to wait for anyone to twiddle their thumb.

Luggage: I’m tall so it’s not usually a problem to reach my baggage in the overhead, but if I weren’t, I sure as heck would love the help. Being a consultant, I pack light, but on the rare occasions I’m visibly struggling to get it up there, I appreciate someone noticing and offering a helping hand. (That said, I know at least one girl who would get frustrated by their own “weakness” and will bite your head off if you helped her - but frankly even I’m annoyed at how men and women alike feel like they have to walk on their tiptoes around her lest she get offended by something.)

TL;DR: In general a helping hand because I have my hands full or am visibly struggling is nice - that’s common courtesy, and I’d do that for others, male or female. When a guy is obviously doing something Just because I’m a woman, that’s strange and uncomfortable, and frankly being asked to walk ahead for not other apparent reason may even make me think I’m being ogled.

likehelpful

This! I just get annoyed when someone’s helpfulness is more of a disruption than a courtesy. I hate the awkward overdo holding the door because I’m a woman. I now hold the door for my male colleagues every time, saying - after you gentlemen.

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Some of us are appreciative, and somewhat expect chivalry. I would just suggest to lead with chivalry and adjust to the response of each woman on and individual basis. We have ladies chewing crayons in the back of the classroom on this post; fighting to be treated like men and not observing how most of the high ranking female partners are using their power of femininity to advance in all facets of life 🤣.

Guessing most of us (men and women) chose consulting because we come from or have aspirations to ascend to the upper middle class or higher and chivalry is a norm for those higher classes in the the US. When we travel to other countries for work, do we get offended by their cultural norms (given it’s not blatant sexual harassment)? I take issue with being paid less for the same work and at the same performance level. Understanding and assimilating to cultural norms, not really.

Regarding the infamous elevator debacle: a feminine woman will always position herself in the front of the elevator, nearest to the door and allow others to flow in behind her. I noticed chivalrous men usually file to the back of the elevator. Usually no issues when everyone is on code. Problem solved on trying to figure out who gets off first and the efficiency of elevator debarkation 🤷‍♀️?

likefunny

M4, appreciate your perspective. I was speaking generally about cultural norms and understand their are exceptions. Generally, I wouldn’t get offended by cultural norms that are meant to be simple gestures of respect/etiquette (instead of meaning to devalue/degrade a class of citizens).

Regarding women leveraging their feminine qualities as strengths, isn’t this the point of the new “D&I culture” - bringing diverse perspectives to the table to be high performing and collectively succeed? I would think this most relevant in our trade. I’m just speaking from life experiences and observations.

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All professionals should extend professional courtesies to all professionals...irrespective of gender.

If you hold the door for a lady, why would you let it slam on a guy?

Be an equal opportunity nice person

likefunnyupliftingsmart

Well said!

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General rules of etiquette that I live by in the workplace...
1. Hold doors for anyone if they’re within 15-20 feet.
2. If I’m closest to the elevator (either getting on or off) I’ll stick my arm out and hold the door for everyone to get on or off.
3. Never comment on anyone’s appearance (unless it’s something easily fixable like food in the teeth).
4. No compliments unless it’s about their work product.
5. Offer to walk a female coworker to her car if it’s late and we’re on friendly enough terms.
6. Handshakes only. Unless it’s a friend that I haven’t seen in a while and it’s understood that a hug is the way to go. Otherwise, nobody wants to be touched and squeezed by a colleague.
7. Finally, interact with EVERYONE as if my mom is watching or will hear what I said/wrote.

So I think it’s basically just keep your hands and thoughts to yourself and treat everyone like you would want your mom/sister/dad/significant other to be treated in the workplace.

likesmartfunnyupliftinghelpful

Re: luggage. Are you only asking women if they need assistance with their luggage? If so, ask yourself why? Why are you asking women if they need assistance with luggage?

I, as a woman, am quite capable in lifting, moving, and managing my own luggage. If there is nothing obvious that would give you the perception that I would need help (height of loading bin, hands full, broken arm, etc.) why else would you think I couldn’t manage my luggage except because I’m a woman.

Yes there are folks that help everyone- men and women alike. I try to keep that in mind when men offer to help.

I mainly see it in elevators, where women are given priority. As a woman, I don't expect it from a chivalry point of view, but I expect people will do it based on past experience... so I've learned to walk out first so it isn't awkward or inefficient.

When it is raining or snowing, I've had multiple EMs/partners has offer to drop me off at the door, then they will park the car, so I can save my shoes. I'm pretty low maintenance, but I don't look a gift horse in the mouth in these cases.

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But like, please don't impede traffic to let all the ladies off first. If you're feeling chivalrous step out and put your arm in the doorway or something 🤷🏻‍♀️

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As in hold doors open? Yes, I hold doors open.

likefunny

At EY6, I just noticeably walk slower to draw out the awkward 🦹‍♀️

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Chivalry to me isn’t offensive. It’s only offensive if the root of it is a view that I as a woman am less capable and not able to be as good without some sort of special help or I’m only good at certain tasks (admin work). That’s sometimes harder to connect, but I’ve heard stories of such. It’s not so much the chivalrous acts, but the attitudes and beliefs that male carries in conducting those acts.

As to the question, I don’t expect chivalry in the workplace. No one there is my SO and this isn’t the medieval times where lords and ladies are running around. I do expect basic common courtesy and respect because that is a value I hold to personally.

There are times when those actions from male co-workers may look like chivalry, but I don’t view it as such. I always say thank you and tell them I appreciate the help. Depending on the circumstance, I will reciprocate the gesture (such as driving to dinner the next night or picking up the happy hour tab on the next go round).

It seems like people in general are getting more and more cynical, distrustful, and closed off in general. A very “you take care of yours and I’ll take care of mine” worldview. It’s nice when people are simply kind and mindful towards someone without any hidden agendas.

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Yes OW1 you got it. If it’s a matter of being a woman - no you should not assume she needs help lifting her bag. If it’s a matter of height / arm reach then it shouldn’t matter if the person needing help is a woman or a man- assistance might be helpful to both.

Me being vertically challenged and thus unable to reach the bin with my bag equals me most likely needing help- gender neutral. Me being a woman does not equal me needing help.

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36/M, and nothing has ever confused me/perplexed me more than elevator etiquette with female colleagues in Washington D.C.

Mostly who gets on first/who gets off first

likefunnyhelpful

C2. Same.

I love when men are chivalrous. Nothing wrong with practicing good manners. 🤷🏽‍♀️

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PSA: don’t hold the door open for anyone further than 20 ft away!

Especially if it’s me in heels, obligated to sprint to the door 😅

likefunny

If you do this for me, I’ll be sure to walk super slow 😇

I practice Bushido instead

likefunny

F 🐠 here. I expect nothing. I appreciate a door held open, but am very frustrated when a male won’t walk through the one I’m holding. Elevator stuff is silly and inefficient. I do appreciate when someone offers to walk me to my car/hotel in the dark, especially in a new area.

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No offense but if you can’t even sort out when it is appropriate for a man to help it is kind of hard to expect the man to.

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Female boss here, I do not understand the whole holding the door thing!! I have a great article about how chivalry is really thinly veiled sexism. Ahem. Most males i work along side LOVE me but when I get some yahoo who expects to be my knight in shining armor, we end up clashing.

likeupliftingfunny

More like "females" as if we were another species.

Every time some dude does that I have images of Ferengi running in my head.

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The elevator courtesy is getting kind of out of hand. People are reshuffling from the front to let women out first. I find it unnecessary.

like

No need to do that if you’re the last one on, just get off and don’t be weird about it

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Why would female 🐠 need such courtesy from anyone?

likefunny

I let other colleagues regardless of gender enter revolving doors first bc it looks nice but is actually less work for me!

likefunnyuplifting

@P1 my mom does that every time she comes to town 🤦‍♂️

funny

Woman 🐠 here -- if you're standing in front of the elevator doors, please just get off the elevator. I do not need to be the first one out.

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As someone who grew up in Atlanta, this is never followed at a Deloitte office or a southern client site. It is always “ladies first.” which is fine by me. In my opinion, there is a sense of culture and colloquium when it comes to treatment of women in the south that feels accepted. Being called “Ms. first name” at the Chick-fil-a drive through or a man stepping aside to let me off an elevator first isn’t sexist, it’s a social construct. Honestly, I think we all get the sexist implications but as a southerner, I just think it’s a code and tradition everyone likes to uphold and doesn’t hurt anyone.

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Depends on where you/client is located. If you treat people the way you would in Midtown Manhattan vs Bentonville Arkansas, there is going to be a big difference in opinion. Not everyone is the same and to expect to treat them all the same is poor practice. Similar different business practices in formality from East Coast to West Coast.

likesmart

Yes opening doors, holding elevators, do it in general, but more so for females

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This is exhausting

likesmartfunny

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