Gender Equality in Engineering?

We’re moving offices at work. Due to a massive construction project, we moved to temporary trailer-offices about a year ago.  As of this week, the new office complex is complete. Although i felt quite at home in the trailers, all good things must come to an end, and i’ll be camped in a cube farm by the end of the week.

All logistics for the move have been orchestrated with military precision. Our Division Admin Assistant is in charge of letting us know what to do, when to do it, and all that crap. He’s been great about giving us plenty of advance notice.

For over a month, we’ve known that today would be moving day. Our responsibility? Pack up everything in secured boxes. Write our name and new office number on the outside. Nothing personal, or fragile, as the movers would be palletizing each office, wrapping in shrink wrap, then delivering to the new digs.

Last week, DivAdmin reminded us that “fragile” items included our desktop computers and phones. Given that our IT department is always short-handed, we were to pack ’em up, move ’em, and plug ’em in. Seeing as we are engineers? Seems reasonable.

On Thursday, a recently hired ovaried engineer managed to cause a bit of a flap by hitting “Reply All” to the DivAdmin’s reminder. She said “We have to carry our own computers to the new building? That’s a long walk! I’ll have to make at least a dozen trips to get it moved. This seems outrageous!”

Well, it would be outrageous if we all didn’t have these things called “cars”.  All she had to do was ask DivAdmin. He’d made arrangements for us to load everything in his truck and he was going to do a couple of runs to the new place. Walking it over, one mouse or keyboard at a time, was never part of the strategy.

On Friday, whilst drinking beer with the last crew at the summer picnic, one of the guys mentioned the whiney e-mail. Naturally, he then asked me if i was moving my own stuff.

daisyfae:  Well, i had planned to just throw it in DivAdmin’s truck like everybody else, but now i feel compelled to carry the entire arrangement on my head the half-mile to the new office just to make a point. In heels.

We continued to talk shit about it.  Until it occurred to me that if it had been one of the guys who’d sent that message?  We’d have been calling him a big fat wussy right to his face, rather than snark about it behind his back*.  So i informed the guys that unless they called her out on it, they were guilty of gender discrimination.

i was greeted with a few blank stares.  They weren’t sure if i was serious or not.  To be honest, i wasn’t entirely sure either…

Gender equality.  Seems to me that includes taking your fair ration of shit when you deserve it.

* Truth is?  We’d call him a big fat wussy to his face AND snark about him behind his back.  Probably for several months.

26 thoughts on “Gender Equality in Engineering?

  1. This fits in with my definition of non-racism. When I (white caucasian) can admit to not liking someone who is brown, black, yellow, green or ultra-violet and not have the racism card played on me, then I will know that racism is dead. Being non-racist means being able to dislike people on the basis of their personality, regardless of race. Sexism is another politically correct ideal which needs to come into the real world.

    But then I am a curmudgeon who hates everyone!

  2. First of all, words have gender. People have sex. (I know, this is a losing grammar battle I have been fighting for too many years.) But there is no equality. All we can hope for is equity. Make sure to get pictures of you carrying your mouse in heels.

  3. Gender has nothing to do with getting shit where I come from.
    You get it 3 times a week whether you need it or not.
    The phrase wussy pussy comes to mind here….

  4. archie – my freshman year at university i had a roommate who was simply awful. she was bitchy and manipulative. she also had cerebral palsy, and was restricted to a wheelchair. i gave her an extra few weeks before i finally gave up and realized i was never going to like her. your definition of ‘racism’, or ‘genderism’, or ‘whatever-ism’ is pretty solid…

    unbearable banishment – funny thing? i work for a black woman engineer. who was just as annoyed with the whiny note as the rest of us… i’m thinking i may be in the best position to call out the whiny girl. and i might, if presented with a ‘teachable moment’.

    chris – i’ve often said “gender will always be an issue in the workplace. the trick is to make sure there are no ‘gender problems'”. my thought is that it’s my job to overcome whatever gets between me and getting the job done. equity would be good enough.

    DP – nice thought, and much appreciated. but sadly, there are just as many incompetent goddesses out there as peabrains. no quarter for incompetence in my world…

    nursemyra – you are quite resourceful! i’m sure you’ll find a way!

    anonymum – a ration of shit should be delivered whenever and wherever deserved! walking on eggshells makes for a noisy office!

  5. Reminds me of the time we had to pay a hefty Worker’s Comp fine because one of our java programmers lifted his own monitor. At least he had the good sense to unplug it first …

  6. She’s a whiny doofas, and I resent her making the rest of us chicks look bad. I’m not even in your damn office, and I now feel compelled to eat nails for breakfast and walk to work on my hands just to prove a point.

  7. I’m not an engineer, nor do I have ovaries any more, but I agree with you.

    When I was in an office environment I could never understand why I was supposed to cut a bitchy co-worker slack just because it was “her time of the month.” If I were a guy and another guy said those same things to me, I’d punch his lights out. But with another woman, you’re supposed to smile wanly and say “there, there, hon…it’ll be okay.”

  8. gnukid – i work with nerds. they don’t scratch or talk about sports. belches are, however, often deployed. usually while speaking.

    stephanie – the liability is a reasonable concern. and if someone isn’t physically able to carry a computer? the obvious thing to do is to ask for assistance options. not whine globally….

    kyknoord – are you casting aspersions upon the nerd-herd? oh, wait. i do that too. nevermind…

    tNb – i just miss common sense. if you need help? get it. if you do something you shouldn’t and get hurt? suck it up. if you trip over worn carpet, knocking yourself into a cabinet full of improperly stored toxic chemicals, triggering a fire in the basket of oily rags stored by the coffee pot and your hair and clothing are burned off? then you probably need to seek legal advice…

    robinaltman – i also tend to over-react to such things, feeling as though every whiney-assed chick-ineer sets the rest of us back. that is truly not the case, but i get it…

    blaiser – that, or ‘estrogen-deficient stagehand’….

    alonewithcats – i’ve been trying, but the dorkboy who handles computer purchasing has been too busy packing up his office to process my request!

    texastrailertrash – exactly. we are ALL different. we STILL have to get the job done, because that’s why we were hired.

  9. dear god. What are men for if not to carry stuff? And open jars. And kill spiders. Surely we can’t take *everything* from them. So what if I missed the point. Ask that cute mover guy to take his shirt off.

  10. There is also this cool invention called a ‘cart’. One could always put ones puter on it and wheel it to the courier truck…um, I’m lazy! I’m a girl. I can be whiny but prefer red or a nice white wine-y.

  11. I’d invite this weak sister to start attending the gym. Anyone, male or female, who is not disabled, who cannot lift a computer is in dire need of upper body exercise. Furthermore, I invite this woman to come visit me for a couple of days and work along side of me. Then she would be happy to cart her computer to the moving apparatus.

    • Oh, and I’m not even going to get into the whole PMS thing. Dog gone it, we were provided with a certain amount of impulse control in our brains, and whether our hormones or the heat are causing our distemper, we need to exercise some of that control. It’s called BEING POLITE, and it is an essential aspect of being in the workplace.

  12. Why aren’t all women Xena? Because it would make Xena less special? Bullshit. If all women are Xena then we’d develop Super Xenas and Mega Xenas and Ultra Omega Xenas. It’s called evolution and it’s in your orientation manuals.

  13. hereinfranklin – there was no shortage of folks who didn’t want to haul anything, either. male and female. she distinguished herself by whining about it!

    dolce – i can think of many duties i’d rather have a man perform, but you make a valid point. we don’t want the to feel all lost and everything…

    carlae – lazy and resourceful! yep. fine combination! get it done, be efficient. that’s the way to do it!

    HMH – we’ve got a few men on staff who are smaller than a few of us ‘strappin’ peasant stock’ women. and as for hanging with you for a day? i’m pretty sure i’d be looking for a nap before noon!

    renalfailure – i like the idea of a world where all women are Xena-variants. write that as a screenplay and i’ll audition!

  14. Funny stuff !!!

    I’m just a crow on a wire just hanging around looking at all the funnies posted herein. Oh, you may not want to stand just below me if ya know what I mean : )

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