Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Women with Power Tools

Except for the "cracks in the glass ceiling" attention when Hillary was running for President, women's rights is an issue rarely addressed any longer. Young women today do not carry the torch of feminism prevalent in the 60's and 70's, possibly because they grew up knowing more equal treatment. Women enjoy greater respect and broader employment opportunities today due to the strides made by Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.

At my elementary school boys and girls had separate playgrounds. During high school, 1968 - 1972, we did not have Title IX, had to wear dresses to school until my sophomore year, my mother told me to let boys win at games, and we did not have co-ed gym classes. When I graduated from high school in 1972, females became nurses, teachers, or secretaries. Approximately 10 females out of my graduating class of 224 went to college.

Flash forward to 2010. Appearing at my door to clean up my flooded basement were three women. Three women who wielded power tools and hauled heavy industrial fans and dehumidifiers. After all these years I still rarely see women in such roles so was gratified and impressed to meet these three.

They explained to me that the restoration business is huge and there are many job opportunities. The young man who was coordinating the clean up efforts told me he preferred working with the women rather than the men. He explained that men often become cocky once they got used to the job, but the women always want to learn more. However, there is still progress to be made in some attitudes. The women told me about driving an hour to a job only to be told by the male homeowner to turn around because "no woman could do this job."

These women and all those people (males, too) in non-traditional gender roles give me hope. This is still a sensitive issue to me because I have too often been patted on the head, patronized, had my suggestions ignored only to have a male's same idea accepted. I have heard men say, "Women are taking men's jobs" or question a females sexual orientation because they choose a traditionally male profession. So, it is gratifiying to know that women are still pushing the boundaries and not letting gender limit their job opportunities.

Thank you Maria, Heather, and Carla for being the Paul Davis Restoration employees to show up at my door. Besides being extremely efficient, enlightening, and fun, you are role models for others.


jeanne said...

BRAVO!!! Well said - and what's more...I agree! I love it when gender/work roles are switched and I think all of us can learn from those doing it. Why do we put people "in their place" by saying that only certain things can be done by only certain people? Once while i the hospital, my son had a male nurse. Neither of us had ever experienced a male nurse before that and he was great! Very nurturing and related to my son even better than the female nurses on that shift. Men and women should be ANYTHING and work ANYWHERE they want without judgement or scrutiny! Each person's career is their choice alone. Period. Thank you for a great reminder of society's view of gender in the workplace. Definitly worth keeping in mind.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.