3 Women With Different Lives and One Goal

My social justice issue deals with women and the economic inequality they may face. Besides the wage gap, harassment and potential bias is something important to bring awareness to. I wanted to reach out and connect to real women with real issues. I took the opportunity to interview three women questions that pertain to their experience with the work they have on a daily basis and how they felt they were being treated.


The youngest woman I interviewed was nineteen years old and works as a manager of a restaurant. We’ll call her “Ella.” Ella is witty and quick on her feet; she always likes to make jokes. She is an acquaintance of mine but I know very little about her so I thought this interview would open some insight. The interview went as follows:

Me: Have you ever had to deal with an employer or coworker making sexual or romantic advances towards you such as flirting, touching, special favors or anything else?

Her: It’s mainly customers that try to make a pass at me. Mostly old men will come in and look at me all funny. They always tell me how pretty I am and how my boyfriend is so lucky to have me. It’s pretty creepy though. Some coworkers have been flirty but I’ve learned to handle it in my own way.

Has your employer ever used your gender as a reason to perform or not perform certain tasks?

Yes! My old GM always made the guys carry boxes around. It was sort of ridiculous, he would actually not allow me to carry any of the heavier stuff because that was a ‘man’s job.

Have you ever felt your gender was a factor in regards to whether or not your employer would give you a raise or promotion?

Kind of. I felt that he was more skeptical of me and more hesitant to train me as a manager. Now he hired some new people to train to become managers. I’m the only girl manager there.

My second interviewee was a woman in her forties. Her name is ‘Myra.’ She is very quiet but will draw you in with her Slovenian accent and kind words. She works in the customer service department at a well-known jewelry company. The interview went as follows:

Me: Have you ever had to deal with an employer or coworker making sexual or romantic advances towards you such as flirting, touching, special favors or anything else?

Her: I would say not really at this job. Customers never really hit on me because we don’t have face to face contact and things are usually done though the computer. But no I’ve never dealt with inappropriate behavior in that sense.

Has your employer ever used your gender as a reason to perform or not perform certain tasks?

Not exactly. I feel that rather I get more criticized for my work compared to fellow coworkers in my department. It always seems that I’m doing something wrong even if I am trying to fix the problem in our system because it is always malfunctioning. It’s like I’m trying to be made the bad guy.

Have you ever felt your gender was a factor in regards to whether or not your employer would give you a raise or promotion?

Lots of people that got hired long after me are now my supervisors. I’ve been working at that place for sixteen years. I also think me being a foreigner plays a part in it because I feel like I’m seen as an outsider so I probably won’t be climbing the corporate ladder anytime soon.

The last women is the oldest. She is in her sixties. Her name is “Tammy.” She is loud and boisterous and she takes great pride in it. Tammy works for a corporation that had different fast food chains. The interview went as follows:

Me: Have you ever had to deal with an employer or coworker making sexual or romantic advances towards you such as flirting, touching, special favors or anything else?

Her: My old boss seemed to only ever acknowledge me if I was wearing a skirt or a dress. He suddenly became the nicest person in the world and would bring me coffee and such. I didn’t realize it till after he retired that he would only give me that sort of special treatment if I was dressed like that. Now it makes me uncomfortable to even think about.

Has your employer ever used your gender as a reason to perform or not perform certain tasks?

Somewhat. I think my age has added to it now. Once you turn sixty, people suddenly think you’re basically an old lady who can’t do anything. For certain projects they tend to fixate on young men now.

Have you ever felt your gender was a factor in regards to whether or not your employer would give you a raise or promotion?

I think it wasn’t necessarily gender but more so how you portrayed yourself. The women that wore the dresses and skirts and heels every day in the office got noticed more and therefore got the promotion. As for me, I usually wore slacks or jeans on Casual Friday and a button up shirt. Maybe I should start dress shopping and see if I’ll get a raise then!

Conclusion

One in three women experience harassment in the workplace with only twenty percent reporting the harassment. These interviews show a great reflection in those statistics because none of the women ever made an official report to their employers. I learned a lot about how bias and harassment may come in many different forms. Although all three women have different jobs, experiences, and personalities they still have the same motive: to work adequately enough to provide food and shelter for themselves and those they care for.

Source: Vagianos, Alanna. “1 In 3 Women Has Been Sexually Harassed At Work, According To Survey.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.

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