Thursday, September 27, 2007

Can't be trusted around women

I got a kick out of this from FemaleScienceProfessor
As it turns out, one dinner that I organized for a visitor I had never met before would have involved the visitor’s dining with an all-female group (not including me; I had another commitment that night). I didn’t think anything of the gender ratio of the planned dinner party until someone who knew the visitor from a previous institution told me that she respected his research greatly but that he should not be alone with women in a social setting. She and other women had some bad experiences with him at social events at their previous institution.


The funny part is the idea that a bunch of professional women need someone to protect them from one old man. It reminds me of something that happened when my wife (now ex-wife) was working at CNA Insurance in Chicago.

She managed a data entry department (this was a long time ago, way before everybody had a computer terminal on their desk) with two shifts. The CNA building was on the southeast corner of the loop, and in the late 70's it was not a good neighborhood after dark. To give you an idea of what kind of neighborhood it was, if she worked late and left the building after dark they'd assign a security guard to walk across the street to the el platform who waited on the platform with her until she got on a train. That kind of neighborhood.

Most of the night shift drove to work and parked in the Grant Park underground garage. At night that garage was even less safe than the streets and they never walked back to their cars alone. One night one of the night shift had some reason to leave work early and two co-workers walked her to her car. (The night shift was all women, and pretty much all black women. It was 1976 or 77).

On the elevator ride down a building security guard got on and patted one of the women on the butt. They responded violently, literally leaving him laying on the elevator floor bleeding.

They went to the garage, the two escorts returned to work, finished their shift and didn't bother to tell anyone about the encounter with the security guard.

When Jeannie (the ex) got to work the next morning she was greeted by her boss with instructions to fire the women on her night shift who beat up a security guard.

She suggested that they wait until they showed up for work that night and see what they said about it. Once they told their story they weren't fired. Neither was the security guard.

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