Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Winning Women

Having worked in a predominantly male field for the last 24 years I am, not surprisingly, a big advocate for women in the workplace. I admire women who try to make it in fields that are dominated by men. Having tried it myself, I can attest to the amount of work and blows to the ego this effort requires. How many times did I have to hear 'GAF.' Gash Ain't Funny. I'll let you figure out what part of the female anatomy Gash refers to.

How many times does Hillary have to hear about the Facebook group: Hillary Clinton, Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich or Roger Stone's anti-Hillary organization Citizens United Not Timid. You figure out the acronym. Is there a similar group for Obama? Imagine if there was something like that for him, the huge uproar that could create. But since it's only for a woman, no one bats an eyelash. Nowhere is sexism more alive and kicking than in government. 16% of Congress is female, 11% FEWER than in Afghanistan's parliament.

But amidst all of this, there are these bright lights:

Danica Patrick crossing the Japan 300 finish line in Indy car racing. It was her 50th attempt to win and her only regret was that it took her so long. I used to follow Lyn St. James' career until she retired. From Lyn's website:

When Lyn St. James completed her first Indy 500 at the age of 45, she was just the second woman in history to race in the event. Some doubted that a woman could keep up with male drivers, and Lyn struggled to get the sponsorship she needed to race. She took eleventh place, and became the first woman to be selected Indy 500 Rookie of the Year.

Fueled by inspiration and limitless motivation, Lyn St. James managed to rise through the ranks and eventually become known as the American Woman Racing Icon of the Century. She is undoubtedly a testament to the power of determination and positive thinking.

Another fierce female, Alison Vincent, won season five of The Biggest Loser. Like Lyn and Danica, she beat incredible odds since men lose weight more easily than women. But Ali just kept looking into the camera and repeating that she was the biggest loser, even when she got BOOTED OFF on the 4th episode. In a twist, she was brought back on the show after working her ass off, literally, at home and losing an additional 33 pounds on her own.

So for all the women out there struggling in a man's workplace, take note. Anything is possible.

End of chat.

20 comments:

  1. You say, "nowhere is sexism more alive and kicking than in government." And I say, you've never been to Kentucky.

    Also, If men lose weight more easily than women, what's my excuse? Then again, I am part woman - So don't answer.

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  2. People attempt to suppress what they fear most.

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  3. I like what you commented on MadMad's blog once: Chin up, tits out...

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  4. We are women, hear us roar . . . !

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  5. "In order to be considered competent at a job, women must work twice as hard as men at it. Luckily, this is not hard to do. Sadly, they'll still only make three-fourths of what men will."

    I have my own acronyms and suggestions for organizations against Mr. Obama, but I'm not posting them. The Democrats don't need anyone's help in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, which is what's going to happen if they keep up all this in-fighting.

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  6. Working where I do, I have to deal with attorneys and physicians.

    Both try to treat me like yesterday’s warmed up dog food! All because I’m a woman.

    Boy do they underestimate me! ;op

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  7. tommy, I'm pretty sure you're all woman.

    merecat, you got that right.

    suburban, thanks for saying it for me!

    jenn, that's the problem, no man wants to hear us roar, they want to do all the noisemaking. HAH!

    Jami, women now make 77 cents an hour compared to the man's dollar. In 1984 we made 59 cents an hour. In 18 years we didn't go up much.

    bee, glad you're kicking ass with atty's and dr.s, they are the most sexist of all white collar men. I've dated them both!

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  8. Yeah it is all over the place. I've only recently started to point out conflicts with coworkers or customers to my management. Good thing actually. I used to just take it. Media's attitude about Hillary really pisses me off.

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  9. You should've told those guys that GAF referred to what the last guy found out after he told you women aren't funny...and you axed him in the head.

    Too bad no one told Minnie Pearl she couldn't possibly be funny because she was a woman; could've saved her all those decades of standing in front of people putting up with their annoying laughter and adoration, and all those entertainment historians of having to include her name in the short list of most beloved stage performers of all time. Not to mention, she was a classy lady. Same for Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball...you know, all those nobodies.

    As for Hillary; her gender is not on the list of reasons I won't be voting for her. But it is too bad political campaigns bring out the stupidity in so many, on both sides. It is entertaining, though, in a sick sort of way, to see them trying to tear each other apart while maintaining political correctness. And then we'll get to see them pretend they like each other after the nomination is made.

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  10. I met Lyn St. James and Linda Sharp a number of times in my corner-working days - both wonderful, strong, and inspiring women. I never had to fish one of THEM out of a gravel trap or tire wall.

    Cheers to the women who aren't afraid of their strength and who believe in their dreams!

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (who was once actually told she didn't get the job because she didn't have FOA - Front Office Appearance - which is the business world's way of telling you talent doesn't count, you're too freakin' ugly, fat, or whatever to be seen)

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  11. Anonymous11:10 AM

    Suzy,
    I applaud you for telling it like it is.
    Aloha,
    Martha Jane

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  12. I am a nurse and still, at least at this hospital, males still dominate the nurse manager roles! And definately the male doctors favor talking with the male nurses and like to just talk down to the female ones.
    Go girl power!
    My husband doesn't understand why any woman wouldn't vote for Hilary.

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  13. Anne, the media is highschool when it comes to female candidates. They talk about hair and clothes.

    Mark, NOT TALKING ABOUT THE FEW WHO DO MAKE IT. Talking about the majority who don't.

    kyddryn, shame on the FOA distinction. If men were hired based on their looks there'd be a lot less of them in the workplace.

    MJ, you ought to know, you were there.

    gm, your huz is right. Any female not supporting a female candidate is either a housewife, a young girl with no esperience in rising through the ranks of the workplace or a woman who doesn't want other women to succeed. Sad.

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  14. Yes, it has always pissed me off as well, but I've never, ever stood for it.

    If you've never heard of a band called Saving Jane, you must seek out their latest CD, titled "One Girl Revolution". A quote from the title song:

    Raise your hand if you're smart girls
    More than push-ups & pearls
    Let them stare at our pictures, baby
    While we take over the world.

    You don't even stand a chance
    I'm not taking off my pants.....

    The closest we ever got to those lyrics when I was growing up, was Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" and I was already grown. So, albeit in small amounts, the attitudes are a changing. Maybe by the time my great-great-grandchildren are born, things will be more equal. But probably not.

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  15. This whole blog and the subsequent comments remind me of an old monologue joke I sold for 50 dollars. The joke was:


    A new study says stay-at-home moms would earn $131,000 per year, if they were actually paid for all the work they do. Of course stay at home dads would make about 200 grand.


    Needless to say, had you Suzy written this joke, you'd have been paid 10 bucks. ZING!

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  16. "Mark, NOT TALKING ABOUT THE FEW WHO DO MAKE IT. Talking about the majority who don't."

    Uhhh...you were talking about Hillary Clinton, Danica Patrick, Lyn St. James, Alison Vincent. As examples of the few who make it...as inspiration to the many who haven't (yet) and as proof it can be done. Right? And I was using Minnie Pearl, etc. as a few examples of why the GAF attitude is not valid, and that women can be funny. So...what am I missing here?

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  17. [OK, this is too long, and I know you're not well...but here goes anyway!]


    "Any female not supporting a female candidate is either a housewife, a young girl with no esperience in rising through the ranks of the workplace or a woman who doesn't want other women to succeed. Sad."

    Really? So qualifications, political principles, character, etc., don't matter, just gender? Let's hope McCain doesn't get a sex-change operation between now and the election, or you'll really be in a pickle! HA! And what if Ann Coulter were running instead of Hillary? (Shudder!). Assuming she passes the physical to prove she is, indeed, a woman. And human.

    Seriously, I think your statement is an unintended insult to all women, and especially those who are young and/or inexperienced in the workplace and those who are married and work full-time at home.

    Voting for (or hiring, or whatever) someone just because of their gender is just as sexist as NOT voting, hiring, etc. Isn’t it?

    The Affirmative Action approach you seem to be advocating has short-term benefits with a long-term effect that's worse than the original problem, because it presumes inferiority and creates an attitude of entitlement. How's that going to result in stronger women?

    For what it’s worth, I think it's crazy people don't get paid the same for the same work.

    Also for what it’s worth, I’ve worked for some qualified women (incl. one of my best bosses at Precept Ministries, an international orgzn. fronted by teacher Kay Arthur, consisting of and aimed at mostly women)…and some not so qualified. We had some conflicts that were based more on personal issues (theirs & mine), incl. job qualifications. But it might’ve been easy to attribute conflicts to gender, and the differences in communication styles compounded the problems.

    The best approach (for any minority, and each of us belongs to at least one) is to learn the rules of the game in which you find yourself, find your advantages, and use your strengths to succeed (not that I'm ready to write the book on success). It's one thing to protest unfairness with the hope of changing things, but it's easy for that to slip into using unfairness as an excuse for failure. And nobody wants to listen to a whiner, much less hire one. Would you? Songwriters in Nashville whine about how the music biz is “all politics” and “who you know”…so, become a politician and shake some hands if you want to succeed. Or, in some cases, maybe learn to write.

    I realize this may sound like the same old arguments white men have always offered toward any protest for change, including the Women’s Lib movement and the Civil Rights movement (and Ireland, and South Africa, etc.). You COULD force a lot of changes through legal means, violence, withholding sex (!), etc. But short of the breakout of a man-killing plague, I think to get the kind of results you want and minimize the potential for a nasty backlash (or for driving opposition underground), it'll take time, perseverance, and patience. Maybe even a village.

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  18. Mark, Jews support Jews, blacks support blacks, white men support white men, even priests and the Pope support the bishops who molested all those young boys. How do you think OJ walked free? A black jury supporting a black man with incontrovertible evidence that he was guilty. And you can't possibly think that George W made it a second term based on experience and prowess. That was simply the good old boy network putting him back in office. Because they support each other in SPITE of the lousy record he had.

    Women are the ONLY group of people who do not support each other. It has long been acknowledged that the biggest perpetrators of glass ceiling attitudes come from fellow women. Maybe they're the most insecure and think there's only x amount of jobs available to go around. When I mentioned housewives as a group not supporting a woman, it's because a lot of women have never left the home, have never had to compete with men, like the rest of us have. Have not had to experience first hand the difficulty in navigating the man's playing field. So they have no idea what it's like.

    I will not vote for one more man in my lifetime. I have done so since I earned the privilege to vote and I think it's time to give the other team a chance. To see if we can unscrew all the damage these bellicose men have thrown upon the world.

    If McCain wins, thank George's team.

    I think I misunderstood the other Minnie Pearl comment so thanks for setting me straight..

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  19. I initially wasn't going to post this comment because of its length, but that restriction seems to have been lifted, so here goes:

    "Any female not supporting a female candidate is either a housewife, a young girl with no experience in rising through the ranks of the workplace or a woman who doesn't want other women to succeed. Sad."

    Up front, I'm going to put aside MKH's argument that Suzy implied that we need to pick "someone like us" simply because they are like us and despite their lack of any other qualifications. I'm doing that because to imply that I (or Suzy or any intelligent person) would do something like that impugns our intelligence, and I know that Suzy and I are smart folks and I assume others here are, too.

    Yes, women don't support women. Unfortunately, I've seen this all too many times, especially for the last reason. I'm not sure about the first example you give, since I know too many housewives who DO give a damn about fairness and equality. The second example is simply ignorance, but that's a correctable condition. But the last example is one that pisses me off whenever it happens and it happens a lot, I think. Women as a group quite often are the worst perpetuators of inequality. My belief is that they have some sort of belief that equality and advancement for women is a kind of zero-sum game; i.e., there's only so much to go around and if I want some of it, I have to take it away from someone else. Either that or they're simply so steeped in the societal notion that women don't belong on top that they do all they can to insure that they aren't.

    Anyway, women not supporting and helping other women in their quest for equality and advancement has always been a pet peeve of mine. I guess there were slaves who wanted to stay slaves, but my mind doesn't work that way. And I won't go into the whole lesbian/gay versus transgender deal (since I have stake in that game, too), but it's a similar situation to my way of thinking. Thanks again for this post!

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