In a meeting, if a man faces unfair criticism for some argument, he probably just figures it was either part of cosmic unfairness or a misunderstanding. For women, though, the reality is always that it is likely to be at least in part discriminatory. And far too often, when it affects another woman — especially young women of colour — it’s blindingly obvious that they are being marginalised or silenced.

This kind of discrimination, which doesn’t use openly hateful words or overt insults, is often hard to pinpoint even for those on the receiving end. But it is effectively the leading edge of systemic sexism and racism, as insiders with power and privilege casually disempower, marginalise or undermine people from historically oppressed groups — which in SA mostly means black people, especially women and working-class people.

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