Zoe Saldana on Why She's Been Called a Bitch

The "Star Trek" actress and her girlfriends sound off on how differently men and women are treated at work.

Sadly, encountering sexism in the workplace is something too many women have experienced firsthand, way too often — and Zoe Saldanda is no different. 

Joined by her sisters Mariel and Cisely, who also co-founded the production company Cinestar Pictures, actress Shanna Malcolm, The Art of Elysium founder Jennifer Howell and Awestruck vlogger Roxy Limon, the Star Trek actress recently moderated an eye-opening panel on this issue. 

In the Rose Roundtable, the ladies keep it real about the importance of saying “no” and how differently men and women are treated when using that word in the workplace.

Given how often women are socialized to always say “yes,” even when it doesn’t benefit us, Saldana stresses that women have to be learn to be OK with saying “no.”

“The word ‘no’ is the most positive term we will ever know as a woman because the moment you wake up as a woman…you’re going to deal with so many more obstacles than man will deal with on an average basis. So if you’re not comfortable with the word ‘no’ you’re going to become a very unhappy individual,” she explains.

She added, “It took me many years, in my profession, to learn to say ‘no’ not based on privilege, based on principle.”

Howell adds that since she’s joined forces with two male business partners she sees with her own eyes how often her "nos" get undermined by others.

“There have been three or four difference occasions where I have said 'no' to someone — very kindly by the way — and they send my business partners an emailing saying, 'Jennifer was being kind of mean today,' kind of making these kind of assumptions. And so they send these emails which get forwarded to me because I need to respond and I look at these emails like, 'What did I say that was rude?' she asks.

(Girl, nothing. You just had the audacity to do your job and make the hard decisions.)

“Women are thought that if they say 'no' they are a bitch,” she added.

Malcolm agreed, saying that this happens in both the professional and personal spheres of women’s lives.

“If you assert yourself in any way well, ‘You’re being bitchy.’ It’s like the term ‘bossy.’ A man can be the boss, but he is never called ‘bossy,” she stressed.


Watch the entire roundtable below:

Ladies: What have been your experiences saying "no" at the job?

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