I have had some interesting experiences at work lately. As many of you know, I have recently relocated my chiropractic practice, so this means I am meeting many new faces and being introduced regularly.
A couple of these recent introductions have produced some……. disheartening? annoying? disappointing? eye-opening? thought-provoking? results.
On two separate occasions, once in-person and once on the phone, people have asked me if I am the new massage therapist. Now, before I go on, let me make something perfectly clear: I am not the least bit offended about being assumed to be a massage therapist. I love massage therapists. I have many friends who are massage therapists. I think it is a very valuable and important profession. What I am offended about is the fact that I was assumed to be a massage therapist because I am female.
I can’t say that I’ve experienced a glass-ceiling effect or sexual prejudice in my career thus far, at least not overtly, unlike many of my female counterparts in the corporate world. But I have experienced assumptions, differences in behaviour, and innuendoes, which are all ripples beneath the surface of gender discrimination.
This question would not be posed to a male. People would assume that a new male staff member is the new chiropractor, despite the fact that more female students are now enrolling in Chiropractic Colleges than male students. Despite the fact that it is common to see male RMTs, especially in sports-based clinics such as mine. Despite the fact that it says ‘Dr. Worobec’ on my shirt.
Let’s stop under-estimating women in the workforce. I know female truck-drivers, and police officers, and welders. These women excel in their professions not in spite of, or because of, their gender, but because of who they are as individuals.
Let’s teach our girls that their goals and aspirations are not limited by their gender. Let’s teach them to dream of being a firefighter, or an astronaut, or a surgeon. Let’s teach them that they can do it too.
Let’s teach them… and let’s re-learn it ourselves.