Here's a thought I had in the shower a few mornings ago and ruminated on for a couple of days:
I don't think that a man can ever understand the crap that women deal with, but I think the closest we can get is to be an NCO in the military.
You're mostly judged on irrelevancies, job performance is an afterthought.
You can never really be in charge. Sometimes the establishment will pretend to give you power, but if you ever disagree with those who really have power, the establishment will turn on you in a heart-beat.
Your ideas are dismissed because of what you are and not judged objectively because "you just don't understand the big picture."
An absurd amount of attention is given to what you look like.
No matter how you've already contributed, when something unpleasant needs cleaned up, that's your job because "you're so good at that kind of thing."
No matter how tired you are it's on you to teach, discipline, and guide the next generation. You don't really get to have off days.
Your successes are because of who you are, but your failures were to be expected because of what you are, so you can't really win any victories for "your kind".
To that end your successes in the big game, in things that matter, are treated as abnormal events when you rose above your station, and failures aren't held against you personally because it's not like you had what you needed to succeed.
You make about 70% of what someone else does for doing the exact same job plus janitorial nonsense.
When stupid shit is done over your objections you're expected to fix it and you get immediate thank yous when you pull it off but nobody remembers that you saved the day two weeks later.
You don't get to break under pressure or you're seen as weak.
All of this is excused because for the most part the people in charge are "pretty decent guys". And they really are, so you don't want to speak out because you're afraid the good ones will be hurt by your words.
And for all that, don't get me wrong. I chose this life, and I take pride in being successful despite these roadblocks (and others). But that's the crux of it, you don't choose your gender.
So I guess, to those of my friends who are both NCOs and female...mad props, you're friggin rock stars.