I was listening to my husband tell a story about a conversation he had had with an older woman. They were talking about how this woman had made the decision to leave school in the middle of her master’s degree in the mid 1970’s because her husband had gotten a promotion. The woman went on to tell my husband about bluntly sexist the world used to be. She had been dismissed for jobs because she was a woman over and over again. She was thankful the world was no longer sexist.
I looked over at him and said, “It sure is, it’s just not as obvious”. And then I began to tell him a story of my own. I reflected back to being a recent graduate from an elementary education program. I had been interviewing for several full time teaching jobs. At the time, I thought that telling the principals with whom I was interviewing that, even though I was engaged to be married, I had no desire to have children, would help increase my chances of landing a job.
My story did not take place in the mid 1970s but rather in 2004. Where did I get this idea? How had it been taught to me? Why did I think that being a woman of childbearing age was an automatic mark against me in the interview process? I am not sure of the answers to these questions but the point it, they existed for me. And, I am confident I was not the only one with these thoughts back then…or even today.
It’s not all better. Women are not treated equally and these messages are passed on to our young people. There is much work to be done, my friends, much work to be done.
I know I am not the only one with a story like this and I would love to learn about yours. Please share your story in the comments to show how important the work on gender equality still is today!