At the tail end of women’s history month and three months into a year that saw #metoo , I am excited that we are finally breaking down the system that is designed to repress women simply because they are women.
This system, patriarchy, may promise us women that we will be “taken care of” if we just let the men handle things but when I see behavior like this, I don’t think I’m being taken care of:
- Paying people less then they are worth
- Tolerating #metoo behavior, instead of putting an end to it
- Setting higher standards for women and minorities than others
Some of you may read these words and think that the things I mention are not true, that they are vestiges of a long ago past that our grandma’s talked about. And in many cases you would be right.
Companies now actively seek women and minority candidates and hire them and pay them market pay or better! I know this because I have friends that work at these places, who recruit for these places and who feel welcome at these companies! That is progress!
But many people are still employed at places that aren’t exactly welcoming to people who are different:
- Places where men are given greater latitude for mistakes, women not so much
- Places where the budget for a position is $90k, a female candidate states she is looking for $75k and that’s the offer presented to her
- Places where pink ghetto’s still exist
These kinds of practices are becoming rarer but they still exist even at large companies; just ask these women who worked at Ford.
How Do You Break A System?
Piece by piece. One step at a time. One pushback at a time. Speaking out. Standing up. Being an ally.
Last month, Melissa Fairman wrote about the first time that she heard the N-word. She concluded her post with a great line:
“We have to stand up to the casual racism that we see around us. That means calling people out in person, even if it’s uncomfortable. To tolerate racism means you are part of the problem.”
That is how we break the system. That is how we change culture. We simply stop tolerating the behavior. The #metoo movement made it clear that we are done accepting sexual harassment and violence as the cost of doing business.
As individuals, we have to make that clear on a daily basis:
- At our churches
- At our schools
- At our offices
- In the ballot box
- In our conversations
- In our relationships
- In our choice of entertainment
In the words of Malala Yousafzai:
“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”