Gender equality has been high on the social agenda lately. So has sexual harassment. If you get yourself a nifty job in a nice big corporation, you get the lovely induction that include the policy in place should you be subject to sexual harassment. That’s an excellent thing for corporations to do, but what about women who work for small businesses? Women who work in traditionally male dominated industries and roles, like tradies?
A friend of mine, lets call her Sady the Tradie, disclosed some stories of blatant sexual harassment directed at her, and her feelings of having little to no protections.
Sady worked in the building and construction industries as a painter/decorator. Sady tells that when she worked for, let’s call them Sexist Pig Painters, “while sometimes well intended sexism, like men offering to carry heavy paint tins for me, 9 times out of 10, the sexism was expressed in super creepy, misogynistic ways. These included cat calls, whistles, loud and suggestive whispers”. The list goes on. As an apprentice, her boss at the time told her ‘if her eyes were greener she’d be his perfect woman’, and when she expressed concerns, she was told to ‘harden up’ several times. After she resigned from Sexist Pig Painters it came to light that her boss was a convicted rapist. That’s it. No punch line. Convicted rapist running a small business, hiring young women without having to disclose his sex crimes. What else is left to say?
Sady felt that in a male dominated world there was no safe channels to report this inappropriate behavior if you wanted to keep your job.
WHY ISN’T ANYONE ELSE TALKING ABOUT THIS?
I have printed out the Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Ending Workplace Sexual Harassment: A resource for small, medium and large employers 2014’ so clearly there are protections in place. It is a thick booklet. Why are these protections not being enforced or trickled down to where they are desperately required!
These are the questions that need to be asked. This is where the light needs to be directed. In this day and age no one should be subject to such treatment. If you’re reading this and you’re in a similar position, I urge you to seek legal advice. The only way to stop this behavior is to stop it!