Updated: Nov 13, 2019
As a young girl growing up in rural Victoria I so often heard on the news about the inequality between women and men, I didn’t take an awful lot of notice to it, as in my eyes my parents were both equal contributors to our household and choice of occupation was the reason for the pay inequality; my mother a chef and my father a business owner.
I was raised equal to my brother, we had equal chores and expectations made of us, we both played lego and barbies. I wore blue and he so often wore pink, there was no division of gender. I had beliefs of a man’s job being something I just simply didn’t want to do with no particular reason merely I took displeasure in completing the task, therefore, it was automatically made a job for my brother. These tasks included cleaning, mowing and pretty much all domestic chores except for feeding the dog. And that is how I was raised. I was spoilt and treated like the princess I am.
This mentality was further assumed as I entered a university course which I expected to be dominated by men, oh how wrong I was; there was a 3:1 female to male ratio. It was here I learned the power that women have when they enter conversations in groups. It was also here that I undertook my wool classer's ticket; entering a ‘man world’ the dreaded shearing shed. Thinking how hard it could be, dad and my uncle both had careers as shearers and they’re almost imperfectly fine. I was so right, I love my job, the industry with all its quirks, rules and expectations, there are traditions and hierarchy.
You always know where you stand, the divisions are caused by position, not gender or age, respect is for everyone. The work is hard, and the beers taste even better at the end of the day, but this dreamy idyllic workplace only works if everyone has that same respect. This, I discovered last Thursday is not always the case.
I’ve been in this job now for 4 years; I’ve worked through NSW and Victoria; with my fair share of people, different farmers, different sheep, and different attitudes. And Thursday changed it all. Thursday, I dealt with a farmer whose attitude, STANK. It smelt old and neglected, forgotten about and behind the times. His attitude wasn’t one of tradition but of archaic beliefs, fuelled by entitlement and arrogance.
His disbelief and undermining actions have hurt me, I know what I am doing. I was raised to be capable of anything I put my mind to. I am capable of all those things. I am passionate and knowledgeable. I continue to listen and have learned from the best. I watched him deal with my superiors and then watched, as it changed when addressing me. He was snide and unfair, however, his doubtful attitude isn’t one I’ll forget easily, its one I’ll hold onto and make sure that the young boys I take part in raising will not think that they are above someone, they will know that they don't undoubtedly know better, they will know that people do know better, that they need to trust people.
That doubting the capabilities of a woman is not only unfair to her it’s unfair to them, the wonders that that woman may know; her passion that lay behind her knowledge, this woman will be able to help instead of hinder you, but you need to let her flower, let her be, and trust she knows what she’s doing because if she wants something she knows to ask, as do you.
Don’t be patronising. Don’t undermine her. Above all support her, as she unwaveringly supports you. this farmer is someone who I will never work for again, I'm worthy of more respect and people who believe in me. I am grateful for the men that I work with daily, how they're able to lift spirits and stand up for me, however, the time has come for me to do the sticking up for myself. The world is harsh out there and its time I stop being protected. I will start standing up for myself like I stand up for others, and I will never stand for the sexist ageist bullshit ever again.
I am a (wo)man.