Struggling with Chauvinism


One of our seasonal rangers is a tiny (petite is too mild a word) college sophomore.  She’s a hard worker, she’s game to try anything (well, almost anything) and she’s glad to have a job as a summer ranger.

Last evening she came by out of the campground driving the truck and she was sweating to beat the band. I mean she was soaking! The rangers are often doing things that we are unaware of — cleaning trails, felling trees, lopping branches — you name it — and I often ask what it they’ve been up to.  So I initially thought nothing about the question.

Construction Workers Looking at Roof July 1999

It turns out she had been shoveling gravel;  lots of gravel;  and then even more gravel.  You see our neighbor down the road from the campground gave permission to the CORPS and one of the local equestrian groups to build an equestrian trail across his property.  More specifically, the trail cuts across his drive way — a crushed stone driveway.  As the ‘horsers’ spend more time on the trail the trail (naturally) gets wallowed out into ruts; deeper and deeper ruts.  The other day the neighbor stopped by to ask when the rangers were going to fill in the ruts and knowing nothing about it I simply passed the inquiry forward.  That’s a big part of our job — being “eyes and ears” for the paid staff.  It’s fun, sometimes we learn new and interesting things.woman construction

Well, it dawned on me that inadvertently I was responsible for this young gal working her butt off shoveling gravel — for as chance would have it, the person who gets my email is in charge of delegating duties and it so happened that yesterday there was only one ranger of any sort scheduled to work:  her.

I felt bad about that.  I’m still from the old school that doesn’t like to see women have to work that hard;  and I forget that the women themselves are the ones who want some of those jobs that I would try to protect them from.  And so I nodded my head as she shared the long story about where the gravel went and where it came from and so on.

There’s no doubt about the fact that she’s doing the job.  And she’s glad to have her job.  And with this following on our experience of working for a woman at the Oregon Dunes — a woman who was a better plumber, and tree feller than I am — I have to say that practical experience around these younger-generation women isn’t just showing me that woman’s equality in the workplace is a good thing; it’s showing me that it really work — no matter how I feel about watching them work hard. 😬😀

I guess I have to simply close my eyes sometimes. 😀

Most of my work life was either spend in white collar jobs or driving — so I always had a lot of women around — even as a truck driver.  But while I was working it’s not like I spent much time WATCHING them work.  They were there, I was there, and we all did our thing but I was too busy to pay much attention.

I like this new world. Well, most parts of it.  I’m glad about greater equality.  I’m amazed on occasion about how long it takes people — myself included — to adjust to new ways of thinking about the changes. But that’s human nature I guess and that’s why old ideas take a long time to die.  We have to get them through not only our brain, but also through our emotions and neither assimilation happens quickly.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here again tomorrow.

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