When it comes to the workplace, every woman has had a different experience. This election season, sexism, feminism, and privilege have been and will be hotly debated on the political stage. Across every political ideology and party, the opinions on ‘women in the workplace’ often vary vastly. Here are what women across the country had to say in regard to their workplace experience.

Deanna from Louisiana ran for City Council at age 19. Her male, Democratic opponent advised her not to run and discouraged the support of her voters because she would be “staying home and having babies in the near future.” For the same reasons but by different people, Deanna was also told that attending law school would be a waste of time. Deanna says, “it hurt to hear that…and it has stuck with me when deciding whether I would run for office again.”

Leah, a high school student from Florida worked busing tables at a restaurant. Many of her male co-workers were 7-10 years older than her and frequently made comments about her body and relationship status. Leah dealt with the personal and degrading comments on a regular basis. She would report the harassment to management; however, action was never taken, and she was even blamed for what took place.

The hiring process was massively uncomfortable according to Amberly from Florida. When applying to work for Hollister, Amberly noticed that “only pretty girls were hired.” After she was hired, she was told she needed to pose for picture in order to obtain the approval of the CEO. Amberly says that, “he was very particular and [the girls] had to have [their] top two shirt buttons unbuttoned for the picture. It was really awkward and uncomfortable.” On another occasion, Amberly applied at Dillard’s and was followed out of the store by the male manager who hired her on the spot. She later found out that the manager observed her filling out the application in the children’s department. Then, he told another employee he would hire her before she finished filling out the application.

An anonymous woman from Florida is 20 years old and has had a total of 4 jobs. Out of those 4 jobs, she says 3 of her employers were blatant about their preference to female employees. This woman says one of her employees said, “I always hire girls. They are easier to work with and more willing to adapt and listen.” She says the comments from the other 2 employers were similar in nature and obvious about female preference. In addition, while working on political campaign, she was consistently belittled. In fact, her sex was the subject of the degrading comments. While going door to door, comments were made about her body, clothing, and relationship status. One day while campaigning, she was called a “filthy Republican whore.”

An anonymous woman from Ohio works as a recruiter for a large corporation. She claims that if that corporation is “shooting for more diversity” a woman of color has a leg up on the competition. However, she says “this does vary person to person.”

Olivia from Virginia works at a car dealership. Olivia has been allowed to leave work early because of her menstrual cycle and the management typically treats her better than her male associates.

Megan from South Dakota worked at a non-profit organization in which manual labor was a part of the daily setting. Despite common misconceptions about women in manual labor jobs, the organization Megan worked for remained a female dominated work environment where female employees felt comfortable and confident without makeup, an environment unlike any she had ever worked in before . Megan describes it as, “an extremely successful charity that was founded by a woman and has set the standard in the country for how [places like this] should be run! I loved seeing women come together, we did all the manual labor, we set everything up for events, we did heavy lifting…and we never felt like we needed a man to help!” Megan loved the empowering work environment. She believes that based on the chemistry between coworkers, a female would be chosen over a male with the same work experience and qualifications.

An anonymous employer from an undisclosed state has hired a predominantly female staff because the women, “adapt well, work harder, and do more quality work that male employees of the past.”

Women across the country have found privilege and discrimination in the places they have worked. Some women have found that they possessed more value than their male coworkers. Most found equal treatment. Some found disabling discrimination. No two women have had the same experience in their workplace environment. Not every woman has experienced privilege, discrimination, or equality. It is simply important to understand that all three exist.

Elizabeth F