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Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
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Rise of the Female Breadwinners: Brenner Stiles

Photo: Photo by Sarah Lyons, License: N/A

Photo by Sarah Lyons

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Do you think that’s harder as a woman?

The standards are totally different. I’m glad you asked that, nobody’s ever asked that before. Secretly I just think about that to myself… Men can be married and have affairs, have girlfriends, and they can still have really high positions. They can be the mayor for goodness’ sakes, or governor. And it’s OK. But if a woman does that, it’s totally different: ‘she’s a tramp’ or ‘she slept her way to the top.’ The standards are just different. I think the pay is different for women and men, even though people say ‘it’s not different, women have come a long way,’ No, it is different…even promotions are different.
Men can go out and drink and say whatever they want to say. I’ve been in board meetings with men who curse like sailors and I’m like ‘Oh my goodness, what If I were to do that?’ How would people look at me? I think language, and how you carry yourself is different. Men can be complete assholes and it’s OK. ‘He’s this strong man, he’s a good business man, he doesn’t play around.’ But if a woman does that? ‘Oh no, you don’t want to work with her, she’s a complete bitch.’ I don’t think that much has changed. I think what has changed is that we were given an opportunity because of federal laws and civil rights, certain laws that protect women. If we didn’t have those laws in place, I think things would be like they were, really bad. There was a lot of sexual harassment, and to be honest with you, that still exists. I’ve seen it. Lots and lots of sexual harassment. Even though there’s laws in place for that and whistleblower laws to protect you, if you use them, I don’t care what nobody says, that’s still going to keep you from promotion.


How do you think that society views female breadwinners?

A lot of people don’t realize we work twice as hard, that we have two jobs in essence, because you’re working a fulltime job to make money, then you still have to come home, wash clothes, be a soccer mom. That is so draining, it’s ridiculous. A lot of times I would get out of work at 5 p.m., my son would have football practice at 6 p.m., by the time I get home it’s 5:30 p.m. Then we don’t leave practice until 8 p.m. By the time we get home it’s 8:30 p.m., homework still needs to be done. …There’s a lot that society doesn’t see you do.

Do you feel like you have parenting and childcare support from your family and community?

My support, by the grace of God, is from my parents. …. My mom is still a stay at home mom, I love her to death, she cooks dinner every night. When I get off work, I can go to her house, she only lives 5-10 minutes away from me, and she’s cooked dinner. She can pick [my son] up from school. My brother is awesome, he can help him with his homework. … My support system definitely comes from my family and we believe in that very strongly. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.

Rise of SA’s Female Breadwinners
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