You hate the cat calls from construction sites. And the shouted “Hey, shake it for us, baby!” It could be much, much worse. You could work on a construction site.
From the NY Times:
Women in [blue-collar] jobs also often endure deliberate humiliations like not having bathrooms provided for them on construction sites. They can be blacklisted in construction or similar fields where tight networks and referrals are crucial to win the next job.
Construction culture has a range of humor more direct and crass than other workplaces, ” Soph Davenberry, a sheet metal worker in Burien, Wash., wrote. “It’s a tough balance to gain trust and acceptance while staying respectful, yet not come across as politically correct.”
And as we saw in the post below this, retaliation for getting it wrong can leave one feeling ones’ life is threatened.
At least in academia, feeling one’s life is threatened is relatively rare, disturbed gun carrying students and brutal rapists aside. Blue-collar work can be different. What can academic feminists do?
A woman on a repair crew was deliberately stranded on top of a 200-foot wind turbine by her male co-workers after enduring months of lewd taunts. An aerospace worker got the nickname Bird Seed because men flocked around her like pigeons. Men dropped tools on female co-workers or deliberately turned on electrical power when they began working on lines.
Sexual harassment has been endemic in blue-collar workplaces from the moment that women entered them and continues to this day, according to interviews with more than a dozen employment lawyers, academics and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission workers, as well as dozens of women who described such incidents. More than 80 women in these fields responded to a call for accounts of sexual harassment. They, along with several others interviewed, cited sustained, even dangerous, abuse in workplaces from factories to shipyards, mines to construction sites…
Physical danger is one issue that sets sexual harassment in blue-collar environments apart; unions, torn between representing the accuser and the accused, are another.
The situation of so many women seems so awful. We do teach some of their abusers. We can organize conferences to increase community awareness. We can write academic books and less formal pieces.
Could we get some part of our professional organizations to highlight work already done? And to find ways to increase attention to such problems?