Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,
Spacefem
spacefem

women at work

the women's networking group that I started at work is doing really well. we've got 140 members on the e-mail list, and it's been really easy to find speakers... I basically ask female managers, supervisors, etc to talk about their career experience and how they got to where they are, and I find it incredibly interesting.

Part of me still wishes the group was more feminist-y. I've talked to people about this a lot... when the group first started, I sort of indicated that I thought the previous version of the group wasn't "feminist" enough and people sort of jumped on me. The planning committee said I should probably avoid dropping the f-bomb because it'll scare people away. GREAT. Personally, I'm alarmed when women don't realize what feminism has and can do for them. For me, becoming a feminist is a very eye-opening journey, educational, important. Others see it as just really divisive and that bugs me, and I've been trying to think of ways to help feminism infiltrate my little career group.

example... there are a lot of discussions about work-family balance and how to run a home while having a career. technically I guess this is a feminist issue, we're all women who think that having a career is important. but I work with all men and see how often men take vacation when their kids are sick, worry about spending too much time at work, worry about the schools their kids are in, etc. So I feel like work-family balance isn't really a women's issue, it's a people's issue, and a women's group should be advocating that idea, not just talking about how to pre-prepare casseroles. It's almost like they accept the fact that balancing home life should be the responsibility of women, and I don't see it like that at all.

One could argue that all of these women are feminists whether they admit it or not. They have careers. They've joined a women's group, which basically means they acknowledge the fact that women's voices are important to hear. It's also a nod to the idea that the men at our company get to work with men every day, and this is a privilege, and being around other women for an hour a month on our lunch break is a way to balance that out (nobody but me is thinking that deep about it, but it could happen).

But personally I think that to be a real feminist one should:
1) Use the f-word. you know what f-word I'm talking about here. hell, I think it's more dangerous in the workplace than the four letter f-word we know so well.
2) Admit that we should be ASKING QUESTIONS about why women are a minority in our workplace. No, I don't think HR is discriminating, but we should be asking why so few women go into technical fields and what, if anything, we should do to help.
3) Work on arguments as to why women are important to have around, especially in the technical fields where they're so underrepresented.

I think it should be more than a fun social group, that's what I'm saying, I think it should raise consciousness and wake some people up. But if I express that, I'll scare people away, because these women are not feminists... there are a lot of conservatives in the group, very pro-life people who feel like feminism is useless to them, they just want to do their jobs and be strong in their own way and they don't need Our Movement to help with that. they don't see that they can be strong in that different way and carry the flag of the movement, add who they are to it, and that's more valuable because our culture doesn't see individuals as easily as it sees big trends, big groups, big numbers.

I think for now I just have to take what I can get.
Tags: feminism
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