This month the CTM team are thinking about gender discrimination, after a recent episode was reported at Google. The report on Goggle can be read here. Here’s what our columnist had to say about gender discrimination.
Conscious Thoughts: Women Must Not Plan Extensions.
I am at the beginning of a building project on my house, I am also beginning to wonder if there is some unwritten rule out there that I’m unaware of. Is there something stating, “all building work enquiries must be carried out by a man. If a woman does contact you, please ensure to be patronising or ask to speak to her husband?”
It’s only the beginning stages, and already it’s difficult to communicate with the people that I need to because… well… they are men. They don’t seem to want to answer my questions and would prefer to speak to my husband. To be fair, I’d rather they did too, it’s not very exciting asking questions about how deep foundations need to be dug, or what kind of coving we want to have. However, the problem is this my husband isn’t around during the day to talk to them. He doesn’t actually understand it all and I do.
I know! It is shocking, me, a young woman with two young children actually understands why we need steel work within our foundations, and not just the usual cement-only. I know the difference between planning permission and building regulations, I even know the best places to source the bricks we need too. I am not unusual, there must be so many of us females who know what we want, how the build works and we want to just get the job done. My goodness it is so difficult when every trade I am coming up against, waste so much time patronising me first.
Last night we had a builder come to our house to measure and price up the job. My husband happened to be here at the time, and every time the builder asked a question he looked to my husband. My husband looked blank and would turn to me. This is because I am the one who is in charge of the plans, designed it, and talked it through time and time again with the voice in my head. The builder kept looking surprised every time I answered a question. Is it really that unusual for a young woman to know her own mind when it comes to building work? At the end of his visit last night, the builder shook my hand, thanked me for my time and then left. My husband didn’t even get a handshake– I felt quite smug that at the end of the thirty minutes, the builder had realised it was myself he needs to refer to.
But isn’t it odd? Odd that in this day and age where women can be up scaffolding, grafting away or on their knees fixing boilers, that we are still talked down to. Are we not expected to know what we are talking about when it comes to construction? It is bizarre that many men just assume that we won’t understand, or will need extra time to have processes explained to us.
I shouldn’t have to feel as though I talked the builder round to my level, and had him eventually realise that I’m not daft, that I do know what he’s talking about. He should walk into our property to discuss our work and talk to both myself and my husband in the exact same manner.
Later today, I have another builder coming who is pricing up the job too. I am anticipating that he will talk to me in the same manner, but you never know, he may surprise me just as much as I surprise them!