I recently went to a local company and spent three hours lecturing on the topic of workplace etiquette, which includes dress, behavior and sexual harassment.
The company is just starting up but, as with all start-ups, they are growing and people are being introduced daily who will always have the potential to put the company in a liable position if ground rules aren't laid out and abided by.
So, I was asked to do an hour's presentation and provide additional materials which employees would need to sign in order to establish a base level of understanding.
Sadly, the employees who needed the workshop the most were the employees who were noticeably absent. They will not be allowed to return to work until they read and sign the policies.
During the workshop, employees would chime in with various comments and suggestions. Every one had something valuable to contribute, and I considered it to be a huge success as it got everyone talking and more aware of potential problems and difficulties.
But I found it sad when one sweet woman quietly confided that she has eczema and can't wash everyone's dishes. She said it reluctantly, as if admitting a failure. And when trash duty was mentioned, it was determined that everyone would take turns although another woman willingly volunteered to do it for everyone.
Why is it assumed by so many women (and men) that the women in the workforce must act as surrogate mothers or servants?
I quickly put a stop to that, telling everyone that they must be responsible for cleaning their own cups and dishes, and cleaning up for themselves. As for trash duty, everyone needed to take a turn. I also pulled the women aside later and let them know that as the company is being established, the last thing they want to do is to create a role of servitude in the work place.
All the men that were present have excellent reputations, and are very fair-minded, educated and practical. They would not have taken advantage of these women, but others would.
I realize that women are supposed to be equal in the workplace, and firmly believe it can be done. But it cannot be done when women are willing to settle for less.
And they wonder why there still isn't equal pay for equal work.