27 Unfair Things Ambitious Women Have To Deal With

I hate admitting this. Just want to put that out there right now. I feel like I “should” be better than all of this, like it “shouldn’t” bother me, but it does. It does!


1. There’s this silent and latent worry we carry that we might be in the percentage of women who are being paid less than a man who is doing the same job as us. We think it can’t possibly apply to us, but we never know for sure.

2. Having a constant back-and-forth about whether we can pursue a career or a family and then being angered that we even have to choose one or the other in the first place.

3. Then, if we do make that fateful choice of career vs. family, we will feel as though we are failing as a woman no matter what we choose.

4. Having to deal with that silent judgment from moms who think our decision to pursue a big career is something we’ll “regret one day.”

5. … And then silently worrying they might be right.

6. When at work, feeling this uneasy and subconscious urge to suppress any emotion or act that would be considered overtly feminine.

7. In general, just having to give a second and third thought to how we’re coming across in the hopes that if we control our behavior enough, we won’t be disadvantaged further.

8. …But, then, feeling incredibly bitter and upset with ourselves that we thought that in the first place.

9. Vacillating constantly between feeling like if we ignore sexism and do our own thing all will be okay vs. being angry about all the things we have to consider just by having been born female with a desire to excel in our careers.

10. Being incredibly sensitive to sexism within the workplace, especially when it directly affects whether or not we can do our job well (or if someone doubts our abilities based solely on the fact that we have a vagina).

11. Having to actually, truly, unbelievably, outrageously question whether or not that client hired us or we got the job at least in part because of the way we look.

12. Constantly feeling like we need to be ROLE MODELS for women everywhere when all we want to do is live our own damn lives and not have to uphold some invisible standard of what it’s like to be a working woman.

13. …But then feeling like we should be role models, because if not us, then who?

14. Having to actually, UNBELIEVABLY, worry that anyone we date MIGHT be emasculated by our work and being truly angered that this is even a consideration we have to think about, that it’s even something that passes through our thoughts because it’s such a ludicrous thing to have to consider at all.

15. …Because, honestly, it is not our job to make a man feel like a man. A man’s emasculation would not be our fault, just like a man cannot steal away our femininity unless we let him.

16. The feeling like we are always spokespersons for our entire gender, like the fact that we have big dreams and aspirations for our future says something about our gender, rather than simply saying something about us as individuals.

17. Instead of feeling pride over making money and potentially being the breadwinner in a relationship/marriage/family, we feel ashamed and don’t talk about it.

18. Having to choose what we wear to the office more carefully than any man, because what we wear and how revealing or modest our outfit is—no matter how professional it looks—actually means something about how well we can do our job or how much respect we deserve.

19. The overwhelmingly pervasive feeling that we have to prove ourselves more so than any man that walks through the doors and that our respect isn’t given, but must be earned by following a bunch of invisible rules that keep changing.

20. Having to overexplain our choices and our ambition as if they are some phase we’re going to grow out of.

21. …Furthermore, picking up on other people’s assumption that our careers are a placeholder until we have children.

22. Watching friends get hundreds of likes on their engagement announcements, wedding pictures, or pregnancy announcements and feeling silently upset that our career choices and achievements are not celebrated in the same way.

23. Silently judging other women for quitting their jobs as soon as they get married or have kids, but then feeling horrible for judging them at all.

24. Feeling incredibly picky about who we date because all we want is for someone to fall in love with our brains and actually be turned on by our ambition and desire to succeed.

25. Feeling angry that intellect, humor, perseverance, ambition, and achievement are dirty words for a woman (and are not what typically makes a woman attractive), but are words that straight women would use to describe a man they think is attractive.

26. Having a contentious relationship with makeup and clothes — because even if we like them (or don’t), our preference to these actually matters in the workplace in both negative and positive ways, so it’s like we can never win.

27. …But, really, it’s like we can never win anyway. And, while that’s perhaps the saddest and realest way to end this post, it feels like that sometimes. And, yes, we can ignore these things and pretend they don’t exist and just keep doing us, but sometimes it’s nice to get it out and be like, THIS SHIT SUCKS. So, here we are. It sucks. Now, let’s get back to being the badass HBICs that we are. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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