With all the recent revelations of abuse of power, sexual abuse, and men being pigs, it’s brought up my memories, some recent, some not so recent of men acting like pigs toward me. I’m one of the lucky ones, I can say I’ve never been raped or groped despite being in precarious positions in college. I was a partier, no doubt about it. I had no idea how lucky I am (knocking vigorously on wood) until I saw my friends coming forward with their own stories.
I have had all the fun trappings that goes with being a woman and an engineer. In college, a dickhead suggested I was tra.ns because I wasn’t interested in him. And then he took great pleasure giving me a wet willy and generally harrassed me the rest of the night. What a charmer. After college, diving into the wild world of construction brought these revelations:
- first female engineer to be hired at a local consulting company (1999)
- “smile” a constant reminder by laborers on construction sites.
- leering and catcalls - also constant
- being ignored
- being treated like I needed help doing my job
- tons and tons of oh-so-graphic artwork on the construction site portapotties. (aside: yeah, i’m not afraid of public toilets after those days!)
Then I got a job at a bigger company where:
- I ended up being harassed by a former college classmate. others were harassed as well, but i got the worst of it. I spent the next several years in fear that i’d run into him considering it’s kind of a small world
- when me and a male colleague both passed the PE at the same time, he got promoted right away and i had to ask for mine
- when I realized I was underpaid and asked for a raise, I was told no
- when another engineer was supposed to mentor me through my first project working with drawings and when it all went wrong, he threw me under the bus and guess who looked bad?
- when i got the offer to go to my current organization and my salary was a huge jump? yeah. they could suck it
In the current organization i work for:
- It took 3 tries to get promoted because of the golden boys in the office
- a former supervisor made remarks (political, about me being a mother, about me traveling) that i could have reported but i didn’t because i fear retaliation. there is supposed to be no retaliation, but you know how that goes...
- I sit in lots of meetings where my suggestions were ignored until an older, grayer, man repeats them. No shit. That really does happen.
No matter what, there is always an undercurrent of having to prove myself more than the men i call my colleagues. it doesn’t matter that i’m smarter and can do the work better. i don’t have a very important body part.