He Swapped Email Signatures With a Female Co-Worker, and Learned a Valuable Lesson

March 10th 2017

A man's Twitter thread about an email experiment is going viral for revealing sexism women often face in the workplace.

Martin R. Schneider is a writer and editor at Front Row Central and a co-host at Political Theater, according to his Twitter bio. He tweeted about an experiment he carried out with a former co-worker Nicole Pieri at a small employment service firm.  

The thread starts with Schneider outlining the genesis of the experiment. Pieri's boss always complained that it took her too long to work with clients and Schneider originally assumed it was because he had more experience. 

Then one day he accidentally sent emails to a client under Pieri's name and the client was completely rude to him. 

When he went back to his email signature the client's responses completely changed. 

After that incident, Schneider and Pieri did an experiment for two weeks where they switched email signatures. Schneider wrote that having a woman's email signature "fucking sucked." 

However Pieri had the "most productive week of her career," because she no longer had to convince clients to respect her. 

Schneider said that he was shocked, but Pieri knew what was happening all along. 

He also noted that women with black-sounding female names would probably face an additional struggle. 

Researchers say that women often face sexism daily at work, and there are various small ways that men let women know they perceive them as inferior. 

In her own Medium post, Pieri described how her and Marty's boss refused to believe them when they presented the findings of their experiment. 

But I will always wonder. What did my boss have to gain by refusing to believe that sexism exists? Even when the evidence is screaming at him, even when his employee who makes him an awful lot of money is telling him, even when THE BOY on staff is telling him??

I never did figure it out. Instead, I quit and started my own business writing blog posts and web copy as a freelancer. In an office of one, I can finally put my walls down.

Victor Eduardo Sojo, a researcher at The Centre for Ethical Leadership at the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences in Australia studied sexism in the workplace and he listed the various ways it happens when he talked to ATTN:. 

"People making sexist jokes, receiving sexist emails that are later construed as jokes, being asked questions about your personal life, particularly aspects of your sexual life or identity, people questioning your gender identity, people might insinuate you are less of a woman if you work in a male dominated area or are more assertive than they expect you to be," he said in May of 2016. "I can keep going on here, the point is that there is a diverse and wide range of harmful experiences that women are exposed to at work."

RELATED: 5 Subtle Ways Men Are Misogynists at Work

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