Growing up, I embraced feminism for awhile - not the bra burning type of feminism, but more of the 'why aren't women being treated the same way as men are?' kind. This kind of stemmed from my father's unfair statements of 'It's too dangerous because you're a girl' or 'I'd let you go to (insert name of place) if you were a boy'
Nevertheless, as I grew older, I decided to toss my so-called feminism into the bin because it was pointless. Plus I work in an environment filled with men, so feminism is not a very good trait unless I want to get offended every single day.
This evening, for some reason (because he had nothing better to do, probably) Joseph decided to hang around where A (one of the other process engineers) and I sit and bug our lives with his conversation. As usual he had an array of complaints about how the company trip this weekend was arranged, to the position of the cutter plotter and a whole lot of other things that I half listened to as I was trying to concentrate on my work.
Not too long into his tirade about everything wrong with where we work (he used to work for one of our customers before this, but was taken in as a consultant after his retirement, the ungrateful sod), CML passed by our office to go somewhere. He referred to her as 'Ah Moi' (loosely translated will mean something like young Chinese lady - a generic term which I personally think is disrespectful) and said something about her taking over the Quality section of our place. As if calling someone Ah Moi is not bad enough, he expressed his horror at our company giving a woman such an important decision making task! I listened with a somewhat interested air at what he was saying, being a woman myself.
He then proceeded to tell both A and myself that in his former place a woman would never ever be given an important decision making task, especially in the important areas such as in manufacturing or quality or even R&D, and he can even proudly claim that when a woman got married, she'd be transferred or requested to quit! That (according to him), is a certain country's style of working! (Don't the women from that country want to murder their men, I wonder) I nearly vomited into the document I was reading then. Instead I asked him if the women ever sued the company for such blatant gender inequality. I was horrified to learn that they never did (and this was as recent as the late 90's)
And so he continued with the story about his old company (why don't you go back there, you idiot!??) and A and I continued to listen with interest (I was looking for an area to enter and launch an attack and A was looking at me, trying to gauge my reaction because I can get a bit overexcited over things I'm passionate about)
Now, the thing is, where we work, a lot of important decision making tasks are held by women. Even my direct boss is a woman, the head of R&D is a woman, and a few other important posts are held by women. I pointed this out to Joseph and even went to the extent of saying that these few people are very committed in their jobs compared to some others and can actually make very good decisions professionally as well as decisions that affect the welfare of the people under them! I'm not saying that women are better at decision making than men, just that we can be given the task and can make decisions as objectively as a man can. All people are created equal except for certain bits and pieces, that is. The excellent part is, even A (who is male) supported my argument, thinking that ideas that women cannot be put into decision making posts are a bit ridiculous in this time and age. From the back of the room, R who was quietly doing his work gave a not-so-discreet cough after I started my argument.
This whole pointless discussion (sometimes, I think Joseph just likes to create a sensation to get some attention like a lousy tabloid) lasted about half an hour. Or he could be an escapee on a time machine from the stone age (although even the men from the stone age would have had more faith in their women) Seriously, no one with such an old-fashioned mindset should be allowed to walk around in the 21st century!
Edit: Sorry about the long ranty post!