This photo is currently making the rounds in email and on various social media and blogs. It’s attributed to the New York Daily Mirror from the 1950’s.
I think we’ve come farther along, although I remember a manager of mine bragging that he punched his wife in the thigh one time when they were having a heated discussion while traveling in the car. Ever since then she was the wife he wanted her to be. This was in the 1980’s.
I heard two different men this week make disparaging remarks. One made the comment during a morning meeting that it was too early for sensitivity training. I think he was waiting for the room, comprised of women, minorities, old and young, to burst into laughter. It was to his shock that no one thought his ‘joke’ was that funny. Of course, it was probably just too early in the morning to hear about his need for sensitivity training as a light-hearted topic.
A co-worker who sits just over the cube wall from me, was chatting with our custodian, a young twenty-something man who is intellectually challenged. The custodian was asking my co-worker’s wife.
Where does she work?
“She doesn’t work; she raises my kids.”
What does that mean?
“She’s a stay-at-home mom.”
“That’s how it used to be.”
I’m glad to be sitting next to this co-worker, for the engineering work and conversations that I assail over the cube wall serve as a daily reminder for him that the good old days are just beginning. My wish for him is to work for a female manager, a long shot at best. Truth is that will most likely never happen. So I’d like him to have to work with a group of females, not just me; we need numbers to beat down this Midwest attitude of relegating women to the home.
For those of us who choose to make a contribution at work, away from home, we deserve to have respect from our colleagues. They can feel what they want about their wives, but drop the 1950’s attitudes, please. We all want to work and earn a good salary and all of us want to do a great job. It’s pretty simple, no math needed.