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We all have heard and sometimes actually believed the term history repeats itself. We see it all around us. From small things like fashion making the rounds over and over again, to a timeline of what we do throughout history. The ideal thought is that it’s to prompt change within our society. Usually a change for the better. As a woman living through the rise of another women’s liberation movement, as this year is now being deemed “The Year of the Woman”, are we not looking at the repeat of history?
Now don’t get me wrong, in no way should women have to deal with lesser wages for doing the same amount of work, if not more, than her superiors solely because she doesn’t have the proper tool between the legs. I am not one of the lucky ones who went without some form of harassment, especially in the workplace. I’ve been told to look a certain way all the way down to the kind of dresses I was wearing and making sure I have lipstick on, to awkward stares and flirts sent to me from a male superior.
If you’re a true feminist, you must know the case of Anita Hill. During the time in the 90s, when women’s liberation was on a rise, she took it to the court system of some grotesque sexual harassment in the workplace. She took it all the way to the Senate to try to change this environment women were enduring just to make a paycheck. Now, I’m definitely for “girl power” and wonder women that try and do “do it all”. But I am also a realist who knows the other term, repeating an action over and over again and expecting the same result is the true definition of insanity.
Men are now afraid to date a woman, be alone with a woman, or even hire women in their workplace. Now, if they’re innocent and true gentlemen, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about. In my mind though, not everyone tells the truth, men and women alike.
Obviously, the liberation in the 90s faded and not much ground was broken for real liberation for women. Otherwise, why would we be going through this again and again and again? There’s always a slap of a bandage on the issues that don’t truly help the cause, followed by the usual backlash and we are right back to feeling like we are the women living the real-life Mad Men lifestyle again.
Remember, and I know this from working in human resources myself, they’re job is to advocate for you while trying to keep the company’s best interests at heart. I personally took all and any complaints seriously and did what I could in that position by taking down the information, asking others questions about certain situations, and mandating a zero tolerance work harassment clause into effect with videos, scenario role play, and mandatory signing of documentation that such behavior won’t happen in the workplace. But, beyond that, it’s out of human resources' control.
It all usually just gets sent to the supervisors who then bring it to either higher management or the owners' attention. After that, it’s a weighing contest of how much damage control there really needs to be, and how they make that person “go away” by very intense watching of every behavior in the handbook, so they could legally make the problem “go away”. Then everything gets filed and you don’t hear another word about it.
Again, we’re not making any real headway by simply blasting out hashtags of “me too” or yelling at the bad men in the same old good old boys club that won’t leave until retirement. There has to be a better way to truly reach the exact goal us as women are truly trying to reach. If you could put it into one word, what would that word be? Heard? Equal? Respected? Appreciated? Or that we as human beings just want to simply be treated like all other humans?