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Female sexism

female sexism

In the late 1970’s the workplace was starting to change, long pub lunches were starting to be frowned upon, nude calendars were removed, building sites were instructing staff not to wolf whistle after women, rude jokes were no longer acceptable in mixed company, men were no longer allowed to touch women at work and were frowned upon if they hold doors open all in the spirit of equality etc.

That is not what happened, men immediately stopped holding doors open for anyone, moved the nude calendars into their desk drawers, staff collected together in single sex groups and told rude jokes, the women’s jokes often worse than the men and groups would meet after work for several beers where they let it all out, boorish behaviour was much worse outside the workplace than it had ever been during lunch outings where technically they had been still at work. 

The age of the yuppie was almost upon us.

Working in an office building with Peter, we were both up ladders struggling with getting cables over a false ceiling, unlike most, this ceiling had interlocking tiles and only a very few were able to be removed. 

The following day, I brought a solution to work, a bow, and arrows. We tied a string to an arrow, climbed into the ceiling void through any tile we could remove and fired the arrow to the next loose tile location. 

This worked well, however at one point above fire doors in a corridor, there was a fire break above the ceiling, there was a hole but it required a lot of attempts to fire the arrow through the hole. 

Peter was up the steps at the other side of the fire break in the main typing pool office waiting for a successful shot, when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye, looking down, one of the female staff was standing by the stepladder pretending to touch his groin, much to the amusement of the typing pool ladies.

Peter watched intently and did not move a muscle, she kept up the performance for quite a while before returning to her desk without knowing Peter had spotted her actions. 

He laughed about this later over lunch, but then said, roles reversed, I would have been marched out of the building for less.

Unbelievably, in the same building the very next day, I was clipping a cable in an area where there was no false ceiling, the cable was approximately four meters off the floor level so required a ladder to reach. 

I was using a fourteen ounce claw hammer with a black rubber handle and with a mouthful of clips I would hold the cable straight with one hand and hit the clip with the hammer in the other, between hammering, it was necessary to stretch and pull the cable attach a clip then knock the clip home, whilst working the cable, I held the hammer between my legs by the head with the shaft upwards for easy one handed grasp when required. 

One large black lady spoke to Peter saying, “please tell your mate to stop it with the hammer between his legs, he reminds me of my husband in the morning”.