The Trouble With Women In the Workplace

I can’t believe companies actually had to produce videos like this one.

In my life, women have always worked. I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, and I knew some moms who stayed at home, and some that worked. That’s just the way it was.

But it wasn’t always…

I recently read “When Everything Changed. The Amazing Journey of Women from the 1960s to the Present.”

What an eye opener. Help Wanted Ads separated by “Help Wanted-Men” and “Help Wanted-Women.” A woman who got in trouble for wearing pants to pay a traffic ticket. Women who were turned down for a job, simply because they were female. And that the words “we’ve never hired a woman before” were said in the workplace.

And these tips for supervisors — WOMEN ARE PATIENT.

There is also “WOMEN ARE COOPERATIVE and, my favorite, “WOMEN ARE TEACHABLE.”

I’ve heard older women talk about “how it used to be.” In the 50s and 60s, women went to school with the pressure to graduate with an “Mrs” degree. Then, they were expected to be a June Cleaver housewife, complete with dress, pearls and a hot dinner on the table, with two well-behaved children, surrounded by a white picket fence.

If women did work, the options were limited: secretary, nurse, stewardess or teacher. There were no female astronauts or Supreme Court Justices, or even women doctors or engineers.

And the workplace behaviors.  The sexual harassment. The discrimination. The lack of respect.

One of my favorite shows is Mad Men, which depicts the 1960s era advertising agency world. I love the fashions, but it irritates me the way women were not taken seriously in leadership roles. They were treated as a servant, an afterthought.

The women in “When Everything Changed” stood up for equal rights and demanded respect in the office.  They were smart women with a drive to make changes in society, and weren’t afraid to do it. Their inspirational stories of courage and fight gave me, and all females, a future.

I have no idea what these women went through to get us where we are today, or the women of the early 1900s who fought tirelessly to give women a vote.

But because of them, we now have women working in all industries including firefighters, politicians, construction and law.

Because of them, I knew I had the choice to be anything I wanted.

Because of them, our voices are heard.

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