Are women less likely to get hired in the kitchen? How common is it? I have heard and read many stories about this topic. Some chef acquaintances I know have told me that they would never hire women because it can complicate the dynamics of things in the kitchen. Although it’s not stated, some employers seem to favor the male applicant over the equally qualified female.
Kitchen labor can be physically demanding, requiring great strength. When it comes to lifting heavy things, working the heavy wok that weighs a ton, men have the greater physical strength to do these things with less difficulty. Some (and there are others that have the strength to toss around a man like a ping pong ball) women will have a hard time carrying out some of these tasks without the assistance of her equally competent (in every other kitchen skill), but physically stronger male counterpart. If both applicants are equal on every skill level, is it fair to say that the male applicant will have an advantage?
And then there is the office politics (or in this case “kitchen politics”) of it all. She is a woman, a “lady” that is being considered for being thrown in with a bunch of boys..where boys will be boys. Will she be able to fit in, join in on their dirty jokes, put them in their place when they are out of line? Or will she get offended when someone says “boobies”, cry when the chef yells at her, worry about breaking a nail? A short moment spent getting to know the applicant is not long enough to always tell. Then do most employers make the decision to go with the male applicant? I mean, ideally, it does seem like the easier choice, less to worry about.
Oh and I know from my own experience that women get sexually harassed in the kitchen (or is it just me?). Issues like this can become headaches that employers want to avoid.