Happy International Women’s Day to all the amazing women out there!
This day means something different for everyone but for most it is a day about the women’s rights movement. I myself grew up thinking nothing of gender inequality. For most of my childhood my friends were made up of boys. I played in the mud, I went fishing with the guys, I wore jeans and had short hair. When I became a teenager, I had my close group of girl friends but I had even more boy friends (different than boyfriends). When I went off to College I chose a “Man’s field” to study… Engineering. I was the only girl in my first Engineering class and it was at that time I was very intimidated. I thought I could get through it but I didn’t. I was told by a professor that I wouldn’t make it. So, I changed my major. I still chose another “Man’s field” Computer Science. There were not many women in my classes but they were there. We supported each other. I had also found that the men in the classes didn’t treat me much different. I was smart, I was able to help and show my worth.
I was 20 when I got my first full time job as a computer programmer and my boss was a woman. It was in a metal shop full of men. I often had to walk back into the “shop” where all the guys were and got the whistles and well, I was young and found it flattering. My next job, also a computer programming job, I really got to feel the inequality. I had my share of ass slapping, fingers in my hair, and hands on my shoulder when explanations or instructions were given. I wasn’t the only one in that office getting that special treatment. It was also here I was made aware of the difference women got paid.
I got a promotion and on my review where it said new salary, I saw a number that wasn’t meant for me. When I was moved to the cubical that my predecessor had, I found his offer letter. It was almost like he wanted me to find it and sure enough he was making about $20,000 more than me. I questioned this and I was told I didn’t have the same title as he did. I was surprised because I was doing the same job he was and more… This job is one of the places I learned to let people take advantage of me. For a smart girl, I was stupid. But I got so much experience there so I stayed. I thought I couldn’t do any better. Until, I did.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to make this into my life story. I just wanted to point out that while many people might think this day has no meaning it does to me. I recognize the ongoing fight for gender equality. Let’s continue to support and empower each other, and work towards a future where women of all backgrounds can thrive and succeed.