He shakes my hand.

I was in a conference room with 3 young gentlemen when our CTO walked in. He, as Russian customs follow, shook hands with each of those three men when he turned to me and put his hand forward to shake my hand as well.

I was surprised! Pleasantly, of course. I was actually happy because every single time when I was the only girl in a room, when a guy walked in and started shaking everyone’s hand but then just skipped me, I felt left out. It was weird to feel like you’re not acknowledged. Yes, he could see me and quietly say hi but that was so different from being separately greeted just like all guys in the room were! How am I worse not to be treated like everyone else in the room?

What stuck me the most was the fact that our CTO also felt the same way. He said he felt that it was simply uncomfortable not to shake my hand if he’s done that to everyone else. How cool is that?!

Living in Russia makes things a little more complicated as Russians are still, for the most part, very conservative: oh, Patriarchy… but I’m glad, that a person who’s 10 years older than me, who’s my boss, actually recognizes that it doesn’t really matter if I’m a girl when it comes to greetings, when it comes to work.

What I want to say is: we are, first of all, people. Just because my colleague is a guy, it doesn’t mean I can’t hug him; just because I’m a girl, it doesn’t excuse men not to acknowledge me and say hi by shaking hands (especially if they shake hands with every guy around you).

P.S. I looked just as excited as this girl that moment (hah)

Originally published at adelsky13.wordpress.com on September 19, 2017.

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