Happy International Women’s Day. You might want to check out the free album Talis Kimberley created for International Women’s Day:
On Thursday I saw someone tweet that she’d like to celebrate International Women’s Day but she’ll be busy with “precarious part-time work”, housework, and child care.
This started me thinking. International Women’s Day isn’t all that big a deal in the US, so I will celebrate by working my salaried professional job at a large company that provides me with vacation, sick leave, and medical insurance. I have been acting as the technical lead on my team; recently I was promoted to team manager. Some coworkers have said, “Congratulations on getting the job I thought you already had!” The primary difference is that I’m officially managing people now. As this is a big company, this responsibility comes with training videos & documents on management duties and expectations. I am pleased to have these resources available.
Image courtesy of the Rudd Center Image Gallery
I began working at this company as a temp. The offer to convert to employee included the largest salary I’ve ever had, a signing bonus, and a stock grant.
What does this have to do with International Women’s Day? Besides that at one point it was International Women Workers Day?
For one thing, women—at least in many countries— have more opportunities now, and I benefit from that.
For another, it shows how far we have to go. I know that women are more likely to be underrated technically and underpaid compared to male peers in my field. That’s an industry problem. On a broader scale, the US is one of the richest (if not the richest) country in the world to not have universal medical care. How many people in the US die from lack of health insurance? How many are tied to employers for the benefits? I grew up with good healthcare (thanks to the Teamsters negotiating my father’s contract) and I had a good public education, but not everyone does. I lived at home, worked part-time, got loans, and completed a computer science degree before starting full-time work.
My parents were working class. Mom completed 8th grade before getting her first full-time job as a maid. Dad graduated high school and worked in a warehouse; Mom ran a home-based child care business for most of my life. Working in software meant I was making more money than both my parents combined in my early thirties. I’m a professional who’s brushing against upper middle class, despite being fat and dressing casually. In some ways I have a charmed life, even though polls show some would rather “give up life or limb” to avoid my life.
I’m not sure I’d have the life I have if I’d been born earlier. Yes, women have always worked. Some inspiring women, for me, are Dorothy Sayers, Dorothy Stimson Bullitt, Grace Hopper, Anita Borg, Mary Gates, and The Rt Rev Barbara Harris. I’m not sure I would have had the moxie to do what they did. Then again, I don’t have to.
Updated to remove screencap and twitter name of locked tweet that I did not realize was locked.