I was driving into my local town recently, minding my own bee’s wax. Chilling out, maxing, relaxing after (play)school (drop-off). You know the way.
Anyhoo, I passed a ‘Men At Work’ sign and it sparked immediate outrage. I mean immediate. Outrage that an extremely sexist road sign was here, on my turf, being offensive to my face, excluding women from road maintenance type work and, I mean, who is even manufacturing signs with such archaic assertions? The fact there were no men actually at work was beside the point (although it did not go unnoticed).
And what is my point? My point is that this is new to me. The fact that a sign I’ve become as immune to as ‘Yield Right Of Way’ suddenly looked different. No longer informative, it came across as exclusionary. I’ve never seen a woman working on the roads and this sign isn’t helping that change.
This orange sign making me see red is squarely down to the #metoo movement. Because the #metoo movement hasn’t been polite, it hasn’t shied away from power, or strength, or reputation, or money. It’s pushed the gender debate beyond the realm of the often-branded ‘crazy, bra-burning feminists’ to the ordinary woman on the road driving to her local town.
It has changed everything by asking why, pushing for real change and not accepting no for an answer.
Why don’t we have more women at the boardroom table? We need to change that. Why don’t we see more women’s sports on TV? We should change that. Why aren’t more women employed to tarmac our roads? Let’s change that.
My smart, hard-working, funny sisters. We should all be pro-women
I truly feel that up until the #metoo movement grew wings and started to question the way women are treated, portrayed and viewed, we were fighting for an equality we didn’t actually believe existed. I’m talking deep, deep down. Because we’re programmed not to. In very general terms, we are unknowingly, unwittingly shaped to live in a man’s world. And if you can’t see it, please, just accept it. Because the injustice of gender isn’t always a tangible thing – it is subtle and so ingrained as our way of life that the innate imbalance in terms of how we live our lives as men and women are decidedly different. Don’t argue with me. Just take it from me, a woman, who’s lived her life not seeing women equally represented in politics, in the nobel prize listings, as heads of business, in space, on the alter… and thinking that was perfectly normal and therefore almost acceptable. Men are born with a sense of entitlement and I applaud that. Us ladies just need to play catch-up. We too are entitled.
Gone are the days when men can’t iron and women can’t drive – and if you’re a man that doesn’t iron or a woman who won’t tackle parallel parking, get on it, immediately. You’re letting your respective sides down. Because neither of these things are gender-specific-rocket-science.
#metoo has been a call to action. As the title of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book and now famous 2013 TedTalk says ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. And we should. No excuses. Feminism is not ‘un-feminine’. It is not only for the ‘career-woman’ or whatever label you’re having yourself. We can all own it – you can wear pink, stay at home, be a man – it is not an exclusive club. Equality is not about being the same, it’s about equal opportunity. And all to the advancement of both sexes and society and the world.
You can check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s excellent Ted Talk by clicking Here