I have been working a stereotypically “man’s job” for over 13 years now. I am used to having to wear coveralls and uniforms that are cut for men, not a curvy woman. I am used to having to be “one of the guys”. I am used to being the only female in meetings. It is just part of the career path I have chosen.
Yesterday just frustrated me horribly. I do not know why this one thing frustrated me so much when it is so much smaller than all the others.
I am required to have full leather steel toed shoes when working in the plant. I needed to have them immediately as my previous shoes had been damaged at work.
When I went to pick out my new shoes from the company selected store, they had no female shoes that 1) met my company’s safety requirements and 2) were waterproof boots. My company’s requirements aren’t that stiff, and even if you threw that out, there was only one pair of shoes that were waterproof boots. There were walls and walls of men’s boots that would have worked.
But men’s shoes are cut differently. I have been forced to get men’s boots before. They don’t fit well, they are uncomfortable, the soles are so very unpliable. And I need to be able to walk and work in these all days.
I do work as a safety person. I know what requirements these shoes need to meet. What I am asking for is not unreasonable. However, they just aren’t made for women. I am frustrated at being a woman trying to work in her selected job safely. I am frustrated at uniforms that don’t allow for hips or a bust without becoming massively oversized in other areas. I am tired of doing a penguin walk in uniforms to try to get them to fit right.
This isn’t an issue of equal pay, equal ladder climbing or any of the like. It is the small things that make a difference in day-to-day working. And maybe one day it will be the standard. One can hope….