Tuesday, September 13, 2016

the uplifting

Yoko Ono has sent out a call for submissions for an upcoming project called Arising, asking for participants to send a testament of harm done to them as a woman, along with a photograph of their eyes.

Well Yoko, I've got one for you. It was a week ago, but if I think that my eyes are still reflecting the surprise.

Shock, hurt, anger - yep, I think that covers it.

My former boss was someone that I greatly respected and admired. He treated the women on the team with respect and consideration. He often complimented us, telling us how well we were performing. I was unhappy to see him go. He burned bridges when he left. He wiped his computer, taking with him much of the history of projects. We lost years of correspondences. As much as I recognized the wrong in what he did, I understood that he felt undervalued and aggrieved. His replacement wasn't the outgoing, sociable man that my former boss was, and then came the lay-offs and the pay reductions.

So now you have the setting.

Enter my CADD draughtsman from stage right. A new colleague was soon to join the team and would be taking the long vacated desk of the former boss. My CADD draughtsman was tasked with clearing out the leftover paperwork. She had one folder of papers that she wasn't sure how to archive. I opened the folder and began cursing. Among the drawings markups and project records, my former boss had left behind an HR folder which contained the salaries of every member of the team. Thank you, Pandora.

Without exception, every female member of the team was paid on average 15% less than the male counterpart. This was consistent from associate level all the way to the technicians. Now I had the truth of his regard.

"That muthafucka," I said. That muthafucka.

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