Sexism is in the news lately.
We’ve seen fiery political debate and high profile resignations, as well as serious discussion about the objectification of women and the ‘pornification’ of culture.
According to Julia Gillard’s recent and widely reported speech in parliament, “sexism should always be unacceptable.” And rightly so.
But the federal government’s gender equality agency argues that sexism is rife in Australian workplaces, thanks to our ‘blokey’ culture.
Now, the mining industry is traditionally male dominated, and a place where you’ll find plenty of ‘blokey’ blokes. Which prompts the question, what’s your workplace like?
Does it have a culture of genuine respect for women?
Or is it still a place for dodgy jokes and thick skins?
Can you and your co-workers tell the difference between sexism and a bad joke?
Before we get into trouble saying ‘blokey’ things we don’t mean, it’s important to check the issues here. Sexual discrimination means things like wage inequality, gender-based hiring and sexual harassment (unwanted, unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that makes a person feel intimidated, offended or insulted). These behaviours are not OK.
Yet also caught up in this debate are some ‘old-fashioned’ and maybe harmless habits. Can you still open the door for someone? Can you tell a colleague they look nice?
Or let’s be more controversial: can you still tell a raunchy joke?
I reckon it comes down to this: we need to keep in mind the difference between discrimination (bad) and poor taste (bad, but there’s no accounting for taste sometimes).
We want to hear your thoughts on this. What is your workplace like? Mind what you say, but say what you mean! Let us know in the comments section below.
This article was contributed by Adam Finlay from The Feisty Empire. Any comments or feedback directed to Adam can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Disclaimer: The views and opinions of authors expressed do not necessarily state or reflect those of Mining People International.