Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

As a senior woman in the investment industry, I am consistently appalled at how my male colleagues think nothing of talking about a woman’s physique, “beauty” or personality in my presence. We might go to a meeting together and my colleague will comment on the person’s dress, smile or something of a physical nature. I’m focused on the content of the meeting, what we need to do next and how best to serve the client or close the deal. I feel that my colleague is more focused on the fluff.

It irks me because I sometimes wonder what they are saying about me when I am not in the room. If they are comfortable talking about strangers around me, what do they say to one another about a colleague when she isn’t present?

What is most tactful way to bring this up? It’s hard to be the only woman on a team of six men. I don’t want to be portrayed as the complaining female or the outlier. I don’t want to bring attention to the fact that I am so different from the rest of them. Every single one of them is married with small children at home and only one has a wife who works. I’m a single woman – by choice – who lives alone and doesn’t have a lot in common with any of them. We work fine together otherwise and it isn’t like this is a bad culture or they are toxic or inappropriate directly toward me but it is uncomfortable none-the-less.

Would I be better off not saying anything, bringing this up to all of them at once, or taking one of them aside and hoping he speaks to the rest of our colleagues?

I want them to stop commenting on women in my presence – nothing more. Is it as easy as asking them to do this?