Monday, June 16, 2014

Obvious News: Female Construction Workers Harassed, MRAs Do Nothing

Men's rights activists (MRAs) often claim that men are "more naturally drawn to" more dangerous, more labor-intensive employment than women are, often citing the construction industry as an example.

Oftentimes, this claim is made in support of two conclusions: (1) Therefore, they claim, men "deserve" higher pay than women (if the MRA can even admit that a wage gap exists); and (2) Therefore, men make up the majority of reported workplace injuries and deaths, with either explicit or implicit argument that, somehow, this higher rate of male injury/death in the workplace is the fault of feminists.  Because logic-reasons. Or, sometimes, the argument is that feminists are "hypocrites" for  purportedly "not caring" about these statistics, or for not taking "enough action," to solve this dangerous situation for men.

Recently, ThinkProgress ran an interesting, and surprising to no one, piece about the pervasive harassment that women experience in the construction industry. Recounting the story of one woman, who studied civil engineering and had hopes of going into construction management:
"Those hopes were dashed on the very first day. She went to the construction site along with another young woman and two young men. The first construction manager who came to get them 'literally split us down gender lines,' she said. 'He grabbed the two boys and said, ‘Come with me.’' As an excuse, he told the two women, 'Sorry, I don’t work with women in this job, it’s nothing personal.'
It got worse from there. 
'These men I worked with asked me out on dates, which was totally inappropriate, commented on my body, commented on my abilities,' she said. That was the hardest part. 'What bothered me the most was the sexual harassment and feeling intimidated.'
Even the work she was assigned fell down gendered lines. She was given administrative tasks like making lists, taking pictures, and checking to see if others’ tasks were completed. 'They would tell me all the time, ‘Honey, stay here, this is really dangerous,’' she said. 
She also wasn’t getting the training she had come for. 'Nobody explained things to me, nobody cared whether I was learning or not,” she said. The boys, on the other hand, were invited to meetings and given in-depth explanations of how things were done. 
Valoy represents many women in her industry. The Department of Labor found that 88 percent of women in construction said they had experienced sexual harassment at work, compared to 25 percent of women in the workforce generally. And, according to NWLC, they 'are more likely to be concentrated in office positions…and least likely to be found in more labor intensive positions,' but those office positions pay less."
This situation of men sexually harassing women in order to keep construction a boys' club might help explain why more men than women are in this industry and, thus, experience both higher wages and higher workplace injuries/deaths, yeah?

And yet, what are men's rights activists doing to help stop men from harassing and excluding women from male-dominated jobs like construction?

Absolutely fucking nothing, of course.  

It's feminists who fight for an end to harassment, gender-based stereotypes, and benevolent sexism on the job that all serve to keep women out of male-dominated industries, while MRAs fight us every step of the way, thereby contributing to the very problems about which they whinge and add to their ready-made lists of "proof" that men are the ones who are really oppressed.

And really, what do MRAs even do, tangibly, to make workplaces safer for men, or anyone, really?

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