Speaking our minds

Tackling the misconceptions and worn out popular fallacies concerning the issue of gender based discrimination is an arduous and frustrating undertaking, exacting a huge social and emotional toll on women – and I should know.  Challenging the status quo is an uphill battle; the bureaucracy is fully in place.  However, the story details of my personal struggles as a woman working within the male dominated workplace can help to change the deep divide that I feel is still operating among the sexes today.

I have been trying to get my story out for years and have gone public in the past with marginal awareness. I feel that more women would speak out about discrimination within other male dominated workplaces were they aware of my story.  I am dedicated to continuing with this blog site as a way to encourage others to speak out about this much overdue and complicated cultural problem.  It is in my opinion that despite reports that say we have made it, along with the initiation of sensitivity/diversity training, policies and laws that are in place surrounding the issues of sexism in the workplace, the Boys Club is still alive and well and continues to exercise power of exclusion as it always has, where women do not feel safe voicing their struggles and ultimately suffer in silence.

The Boy’s Club is astute at disciplining those who speak out. Women are fearful which constitutes the core of the problem surrounding why women don’t speak out about harassment or speak up in support of other women. We have been this way for a long time and have learned to put up with it because if we do something about it there will be bigger consequences – backlash and repercussions. The organizations, companies and agencies that are required to support the rights and freedoms of women add another level of abuse by ignoring troubling attacks aimed at women in the workplace and continue to do nothing minimizing the harassment that is happening by stalling, ignoring, denying, among other dismissive tactics.

The male dominated workplace is the quintessential model for comprehending and analyzing gender discrimination, yet the discrimination that is happening to women, is an area in which even women’s groups will not go near. Despite the frequency of campaigns and rallies aimed to give credence to the progress of women in the workplace, many women continue to be marginalized, including myself.  This adds to the hopelessness of an already hopeless situation when one realizes that even advocacy groups are hesitant to support women who are suffering from gender discrimination in the male dominated workplace.

If more women within the male dominated workplace could start and continue to speak up about their stories of discrimination, the general public would be astonished at the misogyny and harassment we have been subjected to and how prevalent and widespread this problem still is.

I challenge the notion of fear and the systematic oppression currently in place and will continue to speak out. I have realized there are many levels to the fear that some women feel – self doubt, fear of the men and the repercussions of speaking out. The worst fear is the inability to stand up for one’s self.

I will update this blog site regularly with topics for discussion drawn from my experiences.  Please check out my proposal at  http://www.kapipal.com/lianetessier. I urge people to help support this cause. Thank you

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3 thoughts on “Speaking our minds

  1. I have been a convention worker out of teamster local 631 with 23 years vested and 10 off and on prior to that. In 2000 I started driving a forklift;doing freight as opposed to I&D or decorating; the jobs women did and until the apprenticeship still primarily do. I was to my knowledge the 5th or 6th woman to get on a lift.
    The last 5 years I have been “knocked down the totem pole by the children of, and wives of those that have been in the industry.
    I am a single female and now that I am in my early 50s, my body is starting to hurt(which it started hurting 13-14 years ago due to thinking I had to prove myself, and I worked on some of the bigger booths in those days and when working on those booths it was for upwards of 12 hours or more a day).
    Anyway, I have always spoke out when seeing a problem, whether it affects me or another. What is the problem are those women that because they are married to, or worse yet those women that have hooked up with someone with influence, whether it be a real relationship or not, apparently can just leapfrog into their jobs. Most of these have been out there less then 8 years.
    It has become very disheartening since I now feel I have wasted all these years being so stupid as to believe the union would represent me. That this union would have seniority. And now that I am technically into the final years before I lock in my retirement, I am now getting screwed out of hours for what I refer to as the brat and bitch squad. Meanwhile I get to listen to these woman who slid into their jobs tell me “well if you just wouldn’t say anything.” It makes me sick to my stomach. And the stress is literally causing problems.
    Also now I get to be put back on jobs doing things that aggravate already existing things likee back and neck problems.
    I also had to deal with a union that looked the other way 25 years ago when one of the companies had a person in charge who due to his Mormon upbringing felt women didn’t belong on the show floor therefore were the
    first to be layer off. And you are right. There is
    no recourse,at least none that I have found for righting these things that have not only affected and still affect my income, but also my health and welfare and my retirement benefits. Things haven’t changed like some.
    think. And the other sad part, is I had to tell exhibitors to stop telling my bosses that I was a better operator than a lot of my male cpunterparts

    • Patti
      I have been meaning to write back but I’m still in the middle of a long ongoing legal battle that has been going on for 8 years now and have being overwhellmed with that as well as trying to speak out about this gender issue through blogging about it.

      What you have gone through sound so familar and must be hellish for you. Don’t beat yourself because you thought your union would help you, they pretend and talk the talk. Unions for the most part are just big Boy Clubs out to only protect each other. Your experience with other women that don’t have enough guts to speak out is also reminsent to my situation and is frustating. If women would just speak out, we might be able to make a difference but when you are the only one speaking it is hellish and much backlash is associated with that, as you know.

      Please contact me further if you need any assistance of any kind and try and believe that there is help out there. I went through dozens of lawyers and looked everywhere for support for years and finally found a great lawyer. Society is finally starting to change slowly and women’s issues are coming to the forefront. We can make a difference. You certainly are whether you think so or not. My email is words1@live.ca

      Liane

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