Here are some basic facts: It is 2015. I am a woman. I work outside the home.
Here are some things that bother me: The title of this post – have you ever read a post called, “Men in the Work Place”? The fact that I have to even specify that I work outside the home (again – not something typical fathers have to clarify). And the fact that women have still not achieved full equality in the professional world.
Parker Beauchamp recently published a post discussing this very topic, and he inspired me to address it, as well. If you have read any of my writing in the past, you know that it is almost entirely made up of posts regarding education. When Parker shared his article with me, I first wondered why (since it’s not specifically about education). Then, it hit me – Oh yeah, I’m a working woman. That alone is a reason why I would want to read his post on “Taking Down Inequality.” After that realization, there was that little bit of frustration I mentioned above that this is even still an issue. And in the 21st century! I really appreciate the fact that a man wrote about this, and paid tribute to the incredible women in his life, as well.
So here is my background in a nutshell. I am a mom, a wife, and a professional. I am all of these things by my choice. I grew up in a house with a working mother. My mom has her master’s degree and worked up until three years ago. I had an incredibly blessed childhood. I had many opportunities, happy family time, and parents who supported me in my endeavors. Never, not once, did I suffer because I had a mother who worked full time. Education was viewed as very important in my house. My mother put herself through college, as did my father after serving his term in the US Navy. Both of my siblings graduated from college, as well. I never even considered the possibility of staying at home once I had children. Not because there is anything wrong with that, and not because I didn’t think it was an option, but because that wasn’t the choice I wanted to make for my life.
Admittedly, after I had my children there were times I wished I could stay home. Fortunately, I was able to take a semester off of teaching after each was born. That was a huge blessing. And while I love my children more than myself, I am not sorry that I am working now. I do not feel like they are suffering in the least. On the contrary, I am showing them that women deserve to be treated equally in the workplace. That we should be given the same salary for the same job, promoted an equal amount as their male counterparts, and given the respect, they have worked for and earned. I am showing them what a strong, successful woman and mother looks like.
I had a colleague, who I greatly respect and view as a mentor, once tell me that she has to look at herself in the mirror every day and determine if there is anything about her professional outfit that could be deemed as “sexy”. What?! She wears business suits to work every single day. She is in the highest position in her field and is excellent at what she does. How many men have to look at their appearance the same way each day in order to garner the same respect?
I’ve worked for a boss (he needs that label because he definitely didn’t deserve the title “leader”) who would make comments that women are too emotional to do a great job in leadership roles. It is people like him and those types of comments that need to be changed.
It’s time for the double-standard to end. I enjoy working with both men and women. I have learned much from both genders. I have seen both genders make bad calls, as well. This isn’t about whether you are female or male. It’s about who is best for the role.
I welcome thoughts, questions, and extended conversation on this matter (or anything to do with education – can never talk about that too much).