Women in men's jobs

Over thirty years ago, a man on my fire crew told me women should be “barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen”. I hated that comment then, and had no qualms telling him he was a chauvinist.

In the Sunday, November 10th, 2013 issue of Parade Magazine, the article “Women Vets: A Battle all their Own” by Barry Yeoman, sounded like something straight out of the 1970’s.

Not unlike my battle in the Forest Service, sexual harassment is common in the military – where nearly 20% of women experience some kind of sexual trauma. You’d think after all this time, it would get better. Apparently not. Stacy Keyte was also told by a noncommissioned officer where her place was – kitchen, condition and shoeless. Eryn Sepp, deployed in 2007, made an excellent point. She said the sexual harassment was one thing, but what really bothered her was that men thought everything she did was somehow inferior, just because she was female.

Young women today need to understand that this behavior should be taken seriously. I’ve read that many women in their 20’s don’t make a big deal out of inappropriate comments even when in an office situation. It doesn’t matter where you work. If you are being treated less than equal because you are female (ditto for racial or religious stereotyping) you must speak up and make it known this treatment will not be tolerated.

Recent comments via email:

 Linda Strader seems to be just the kind of woman I admire--feisty, well-informed, and not afraid to speak her mind!  Since I'm older than dirt, I've seen it all, especially how most women suffered discrimination in some form or other. Here are some examples: 1. My mother, who taught in rural schools,  lost her job after she married in 1930, a common invent which did not apply to men when they married. Years later, she decided to get a college degree--and was turned down by 2 institutions before she found one that would take an "older" woman. She spent many  fruitful years teaching--and "subbed" until she was 89 years old!   When I went to college in the 1950s, I applied to the College of Education at a highly respected university--and was advised to stay home and raise my children. After I protested (with vigor), I was finally admitted to that school--and spent over 30+ successful years teaching English  in high schools and college. Fully employed, the first time that  I applied for a credit card, in the 1960s, I was told that I couldn't have  one unless I got my husband's permission!  Aha!  After a steamy interview with the "boss,"  I was granted one, however. Given these few examples, I can say that women have a long way since the good old days. Today's women face other challenges, of course. My advice?  Stand up for yourselves and speak out!


Mark Sedenquist said...

I couldn't find a contact page. I am a fan of Bill's site and would be happy to publish a review of your memoir on RoadTripAmerica.com. I was a three season wildland firefighter -- my first season was in 1973. Contact information:

desertduck said...

I can hardly wait to read it, Linda. If it's half as good as your classes, it will be outstanding!

Penny J.