"Nothing's ever done.... No matter what you do, or what you pretend, the past is there. You can't ignore it"
~JOHN SAUL, When the Wind Blows
"Men - their rights and nothing more; Women - their rights and nothing less."
~Susan B Anthony
"You do not have to be anti-man to be pro woman."
~ Jane Galvin Lewis
It was not my intention to ease-drop but the truth is, that is exactly what I did. Then I interrupted a conversation ... it was an invasion of privacy. It was Friday and it had been a long, stressful day. Two managers (one a man who is a nurse supervisor and a woman who is a social worker) were sitting in the conference room that connects to the office I had borrowed to finish the day's paper work. As I scanned a new batch of applications for the 3-11 nursing position that had just opened, I heard the deep male voice say, "my old boss (Director of Nursing) only hires men into management positions because she thinks women with power are too catty." The woman murmured her agreement. I groaned...'not this old conversion again!' There was no choice...I had to join the conversation.
"Sexism is a social disease"
~ Author Unknown (ergo, probably a woman)
I was the uninvited guest in this later afternoon salon. I immediately asked if he thought his old boss was discriminating against womenx? I pointed out that the person who made the decision to hire only men was a woman. Did that seem inconsistent or odd in anyway? What did she mean by catty? Did he agree with that definition? Did he ever think about why women might engage in mean spirited talk. Did men ever engage in mean-spirited talk? Did he think all women were catty? I wanted to know how he planned to supervise the women nurses whom he managed. What were his plans to assure that people with talent would rise through the ranks ~ regardless of gender. Before long we had discussed everything from the different ways in which men and women compete, to who becomes a nurse in the first place. I find him to be an intelligent man who is steeped in stereotypes. When he is working the nursing unit he is kind and compassionate to of all his residents. The jury is still out on how he manages his staff...mostly women. He probably wishes he'd said nothing for now he is engaged in an ongoing conversation with his boss's boss. Oh well, there are worse things to be sure.
"The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes."
~ Bella Abzug
The more things change, the more (some) things stay the same. I wonder what Florence Nightingale would have made of this conversation? Would she have wondered that there were men who were professional nurses and not doctors? Would she have been taken back by a woman who supervised those men who were nurses?