It has been several months since I have been out here, but it’s not for a lack of wanting to take the time. I have switched jobs, steamed through the holidays, been busy with family, and focused on projects at home. Normal life.
I did have a conversation with a woman at our barn the other night that certainly fired me up, and had me pause.
I don’t recall how the conversation started. It was just the two of us watching our children in a lesson, and she mentioned that she told her husband (a lawyer at a successful law firm) that he “better not talk to any women alone, and not to even hire any.” Uh, okay.
She went on about how lives were being destroyed by the mere mention of sexual misconduct, and that there was no due process. If a woman makes an accusation, it is immediately assumed something terrible happened, and actions are taken. She was specifically talking about women in this instance. I certainly recognize that sexual harassment and misconduct occurs with both males and females, but for this post, I am focusing on this woman’s comments about women in the workplace accusing men.
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I said how that line of thinking punishes women, and creates an environment where we are held back, and given less opportunity. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oh well.” Yep, that was it. “Oh well.” I mentioned how this was sexism, and discriminatory, and that being lawyers (she is, too) they obviously know this is against that law, but none of that made a difference, and honestly, I knew it wouldn’t. What concerns me is that she is likely not the only person that believes this and is ACTING upon this belief.
Women already face obstacles in the working world. To have people openly discussing not hiring women, not meeting with them one-on-one, and treating them differently because they may accuse someone of harassment is dangerous. It sets up a system where victims don’t speak up which is basically how we got to the #metoo movement, and why so many people are now talking about their own victimization. When there is a power culture, people under that power keep quiet to keep their jobs. If people genuinely believe hiring women is a risk, women will only be held down further creating even more inequality.
It’s easy for this woman to say “don’t hire women” when her husband is a partner in a law firm, and they have food on the table, a home, and healthcare. Try being a single woman, or the breadwinner trying to maintain a job and you cannot get hired or stay employed because you may claim harassment. Imagine being looked at with suspicion simply because you are female. This kind of environment only strengthens the opportunity for harassment and misconduct. It favors the aggressor, and leaves victims with little to no recourse.
In a culture where this line of thinking is prevalent, we are already and always will be victims.