Please Don’t Protect Me From Men   Leave a comment

I’ve been in the workplace for 40 years last summer. For most of that time, I’ve worked with a mix of men and women. One or two jobs were all women and there was a construction job where I was the only women. I like men. Most of my close friends have been men … and I do mean “friends”.

Image result for image of men and women working togetherI consider myself a feminist in that I enjoy being female and I don’t consider myself less than men except for not being as tall or as strong and not being able to urinate standing up. I more than make up for those inadequacies with other qualities.

My feminism tells me that us girls are every bit smart enough and tough enough to compete with the boys at work, if that’s what we choose to do. I have noticed since my early days in the workforce that women have worked hard to be taken seriously and be treated as equals in the workplace.

The New York Times article “What The Sharing Economy Really Delivers” didn’t really impress me with its accuracy, but there was one sentence about women and co-working spaces that really irritated me: “Already many women have chosen to bypass the air-hockey subculture of conventional co-working facilities for all-female alternatives like The Wing in New York or Rise Collaborative in St. Louis. They are tired of men and their predations and inefficiencies.”

That irritates me! I get angry when I see women choosing to retreat to some imaginary safe space, segregating themselves in separate office buildings because they are too tender to deal with “difficult” male colleagues. Honey, you’re sending a message to the few sexists left out there that they were indeed right – women can’t cut it in a man’s world. Take a giant step backward into the 1950s, because you’ve just dealt a major blow against true feminism. In fact, you might be a sexist if you, as a woman, choose to segregate yourself from men. Sexism, like racism, is not a narrow definition that applies to only one type of person. Men can be sexists, but women can too.

And we’re harming ourselves when we engage in this stupidity. Although polls say men and women prefer to work in single sex offices, studies reveal that they are more productive when they work together.  Researchers found a higher level of contentment for men if they did not have to ‘walk on eggshells’ around women, while women were happier when not dealing with a ‘testosterone-fulled atmosphere,’ but mixed sex offices posted a 41% higher profit, challenging the concept that a happier workplace leads to greater productivity, but also recognizing benefits gained by the differences in gender interacting with one another.

I’m not a victim. I’ve worked beside men my whole life and I’ve dealt with sexist remarks and sexual advances. I know how to speak up for myself and take credit for my own work rather than let anyone else steal my thunder. I know how to talk to managers if I need to, but really — because I deal with it on my own — I’ve rarely needed to. So, ladies, I implore you — don’t retreat into enclaves of victimhood. Venture out into the real world and win success on your own two feet.

Posted February 16, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide, Uncategorized

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