Standing tall with a strong voice
The Me Too champion and the pay equity issues are here in NZ.
As a mature woman I have experienced discrimination and difficult times
while doing my best for my employer. I have been shouted at, ignored a lot,
had my ideas stolen, disrespected and belittled. I even had a colleague
question if I was worthy of the salary I earnt at that point. Thinking back I
can see how my disbelief in myself was used against me to confuse me,
put me in my place getting taken for granted.
I have heard that the ‘good men’ in our lives are not sure how to take this,
not sure what to do or how to support us. This movement is not going to
I believe we need to inform our good men on how they can support us in a
way that counts, changing mind-sets, old fashion beliefs that no longer
work for today’s dynamic woman.
For me one of the biggest disappointments is the mind set and jokes men
have with each other when they think woman are not around. This is in the
locker room, at the drinks after the game.
I say to all good men, when you hear something disrespecting or belittling
woman, stand up and say this is not ok. Or If you hear someone speaking
badly to a woman but cannot speak up, ask the woman is she ok – showing
her support can help her move on and stand up for herself. This will also
show her that there are good men out there. If this is not something you
would do, tell one of her work friends or someone like me. She needs support.
A few years ago I was driving home from work up the Ngauranga Gorge
which I knew the traffic well. I was zipping in and out of lanes in my little
Ford Focus finding the best way home. I past a man in his big 4WD man car
and did not thing anything more about it. He did not like being passed by
a woman I guess. He followed me home and I pulled over just before my
house as I did not want him to know where I lived and then then gave me
the ‘I am watching you’ gesture so I have him one back lol. II told my partner
and he said if I have of text him he would have come outside and thrown a
brick into this guy’s car – I did not want that.
When we voice our issues and concerns, listen. We don’t need action from
you (unless we ask for it), we just need to know you have listened and that
you support us.
The other day I listened to a conversation between two men talking about
how they put their shirt down after a hard day at work and the next day it is
clean and ironed hanging in the closet. Lucky them. Some woman like to do
everything for their man and that is their prerogative but come on guys, take
ownership of your life. You make a mess clean it up, you live in a house care
for it, you have kids, look after them. A man does not babysit his own kids,
he looks after them alongside his wife/partner. Helping out at home is a
load of rubbish. If I brought a house and got a husband, I don’t go home
to help out, I go home to care for my home and family to the standards
we have set - it should be the same for male counterpart of that relationship.
How happy would your wife/partner be if she came home and you have
cooked dinner, brought in the washing and got the kid’s lunch ready?
That could save your partner about 1 hour of extra work per night especially
when you have kids.
If you are in a position to employ people, make sure you pay all employees
based on their skills and experience. Just because a new talented employee
is a woman, does that mean she should earn less that her male co-workers
because she is a woman?
So to all the good men out there I say thank you and I hope this helps
but if in doubt talk to your loved ones and ask – what do you need from me.
Most likely just being there is enough.