“I can’t get promoted because I’m female”

I’ve worked for the same place for two years. I just was promoted when I found out that the position I’ve always desired, would be unavailable to me because I am a female, and this position is available (in our establishment) to males exclusively.

I have always declared my desire to attain the position and was only told, reluctantly, after many repeated requests about the position that because I was female, I would not be entertained for it. I feel extremely hurt. I have not quit, but am at a loss for what to do. I love my current position but know that I won’t want to stay in it forever. I want to grow and promote. I don’t know what to do.

Everything I do feels so tainted by this, and I’ve lost an enormous amount of respect for our senior leader. He is not sexist and insists I am doing an amazing job. He is respectful and kind. He enjoys hearing myself and other women communicate (I am communicator) and is very encouraging. I am so torn about what to do. Unless he changes his mind, I will not be promoted and will only be able to move laterally. I will never be able to have equal material benefits or social benefits of the title. It’s become harder and more confusing, and though I try not to be, I find it hard to be as excited as I once was, about the work we do. Everything is now yellow colored and dull instead of green and alive.