No Ladies on the Ladders Please
By Denise Abney
Gender equality in the workplace. All women want it. We blog about it, rant and fight for it every working day of our lives. From the boardroom to the operating table, collegiate lecture halls, Hollywood and everywhere in between. As a woman working in a male-dominated occupation, Iai??i??ve had my fair share of conflictai??i??but not from whom you probably had in mind.
Iai??i??m a general contractor for my fatherai??i??s painting and construction company. The work has always excited and fascinated me. I enjoy the physical labor, the sweat rolling down my back, the satisfaction of crafting a dreary house into a striking dream home. But when I glace up at the glass ceiling of gender inequality, it isnai??i??t a sharply-dressed businessman looking down on me (or a burly, hard-hat wearing tool man, either).
Itai??i??s a well-kept, forty to fifty-something year old housewife.
Her nails lacquered, hair properly coiffed, tennis skirt expertly ironed. The picture of elevated domestic bliss. Housewife and I are not in the same line of work. Weai??i??re not competing for a position, nor am I there to question or comment on any element of her lifestyle. My job is to install her cabinets. But the moment I walked in the door behind my boss, she stumbled over her smile.
She hired my skilled and professional father to get the job done, and I showed up alongside, ready to work. My presence made her uncomfortable. It didnai??i??t matter if I installed crown molding, painted her kitchen or repaired something her husband fixed. It was the simple fact that Iai??i??a womanai??i??was there to do a manai??i??s job.
She initially stared at me, far longer than polite, and then avoided eye contact all together. Like others before her, she was confused. Insecure. Even a little perturbed. She didnai??i??t ask for an interior decorator, so why would I possibly be there? Surely this was just a temporary job to make ends meet. I couldnai??i??t actually enjoy manual labor. Eventually it became just too much to bear, and she confronted me with an onslaught of invasive questions, the most irritating being:
ai???Are you a student anywhere?ai??? and my personal favorite, ai???Whatai??i??s your relationship to the contractor?ai???
Why do we do this, ladies? Why do we assume if a woman is working with a man that there has to be an extenuating relationship for it to compute? Why do we assume anything?
After my experiences working in this field, it would be nigh impossible for me to be the face of a construction-based company and remain successful. In general, itai??i??s the women of the household who spearhead renovation projects, and simply put, they want a manly man fixing their kitchen lighting, not a woman. Maybe the idea of me in my paint-splattered attire bustling around their home makes them feel inadequate. Maybe my feminine voice quoting them on replacing a rotted chimney makes them feel Iai??i??m untrustworthy. Maybe my two X-chromosomes means I donai??i??t know what the hell Iai??i??m doing.
Whatever the reasons may be, we as women canai??i??t complain about glass ceilings if we refuse to shatter the ones we reinforce with our own prejudice. Women are just as capable of mastering construction as they are in any other field. Would these same women take offense if a female firefighter pulled them out of a house fire? Does oneai??i??s life need to be at stake before the stigma of gender roles falls away?
Times are changing. Equality battles are being won across the board. But please keep in mind that you canai??i??t boast about being for gender equality in the workplace if you are willing to let a woman remove a tumor from your brain but not willing to let a woman paint your house.
Denise Abney is a full-time student majoring in Professional Writing at UAB. She has her own cooking blog over at www.curemycravings.com. Denise works in the field of construction every chance she gets.
Social Media Links-
Blog- buy paroxetine online without prescription, clomid reviews. www.curemycravings.com