I had a very honest conversation with a male friend of mine which has inspired this blog entry. I truly appreciate my friend’s honesty. The conversation left me pondering a couple of things. I’ll touch base on a few….
So there I was, comfortably sitting on a sofa when my friend casually mentioned that he is significantly reluctant to hire women. “WHATTTTT!!!! WAIT…..”, I must have not heard him correctly! Sure enough, I did. For a split second, I struggled believing that this was his true thought. How could my friend, a guy who I have seen debate unflinchingly in support of women earning equal pay and having equal protection under the law, have this bias. I have seen him argue against injustices, not just on behalf of women but on behalf of other oppressed groups as well. Surely he did not admit that his personal preference is to hire men because to him a man will always be his best candidate for any non-domestic job, did he? YES, he did.
I resisted the temptation to argue with him. Whatever he said would be unsatisfactory to me. Anyway, I was more interested in determining how my friend could hold and potentially practice this view. He explained his position, typical opinions I have heard before. We would have to agree to disagree.
I left our conversation that day with many thoughts. I still wonder how many men in hiring positions share his views. Such practices, when gender is replaced by race/colorism, seem easier to spot and more commonly shamed…at least in theory. The issue, at least with my friend, is not a question of “qualification”. It is the idea of the traditional roles of women, minus the barefoot part (I hope). In a society where so many women are financially heading households, in many cases singlehandedly, can she realistically expect to reach the top of her professional and financial ladders, even in situations when the entry door is slightly cracked for her entry? Do women have a responsibility to help each other succeed? Is such collective operation necessary for her individual success? My thoughts…my thoughts…these are only a few…only to be met with that last one of, “am I the only one with them”.
I am happy that not all men follow this practice. I have been hired by both men and women. In turn, I have hired both men and women. Both genders have helped me further my career. Both have tried to hinder it. I have learned that not everyone is comfortable with a strong, opinionated, educated, professional, and in my case minority-labeled woman. Let’s face it, when found outside of our traditional roles women make a lot of people uncomfortable. Oh well, we are here now. If “dude” won’t hire me, I will be left to determine whether I should hire “dude”.