Here’s a case where you can’t know whether the instance indicates latent sexism, even though you know the trend does.
We received an email in response to our last press release. The press release listed our Community Manager as the contact person and attributed a quote to me, the CTO. The email was received by a list containing me and the Community Manager. Yet the email was addressed directly to our Chairman (we don’t have a CEO), using his name multiple times. The Community Manager and I happen to be female and the Chairman male.
How much should I attribute to sexism and how much to a misguided desire to bypass the provided contact point and reach the top of the food chain, even though he’s called “Chairman” and not “CEO” because he only has a couple hours a week for this project?
These sorts of things happen to women in business all the time. And it’s because of the constant barrage of instances where you can’t feel comfortable calling it out (because there are other explanations of the actions) that it’s all the more important to call it out when you’re fairly sure of a sexist motivation.