A female’s perspective of working in parks by Pip Reece
A view from a female park manager
A female's perspective of working in parks by Pip Reece
I thought long and hard about this blog and if I should cover this topic.
The topic of being a female working in a male dominated environment.
I’ve heard about a not so nice work environment for a female in a male dominated environment and it’s motivated me to do this blog.
I’ve had some horrendous aspects happen to me and I’m sorry to say I’m not the only female who has had this experience.
You are not excepted on face value.
You must have been promoted ‘because you are having a sexual relationship with……’ – put any old name there as who it is, is just made up.
You therefore start on a back foot. With gossip surrounding you and negative narrative about you. Hardly welcoming and a supportive work setting to start your working life with this new team. You need to work harder, prove yourself again and again and again before you are able to start at a level pegging and become part of the team and that can take a good 6 months. Up until then, you are an outcast.
I’ve been patted on the head in a condescending way ‘as a little girl’ in my role as a young, junior manager as I ‘couldn’t possibly know what I am talking about‘ – how do you even respond to that?
I’ve had contractors wanting the ‘top man’ to sign off paper work on projects and them really not grasping that it’s actually a female, not a male who can do that for them and me actually needing to explain it to them.
Male staff members trying to publicly humiliate me in team meetings to try and make me leave, as ‘there is no place for women in this work setting‘
Junior staff members saying ‘they don’t know what to do with me‘ as they have never worked with a female before. This person was at the end of their working career as well.
Being interviewed by 5 senior males and them really not thinking through the ‘minority’ aspect here as it was just a tick box exercise rather than it actually being thought through and delivered for all the right reasons.
This is just a small window into what I have been exposed too in my working career.
I am proud to have stood up to these environments. Changed policy and process along the way. Started female working / support groups. Help share, so others can see how that might feel or be for me to enable understanding and change. Stand my ground when I have needed too.
In my present role, I am the only female that has worked in this role. As part of my team, we now have our very first female grounds maintenance operative. We have our very first female coastal wardens. We have our very first female within the rangers team. We have our very first female senior manager within my team. We are all pioneering within our own right. Carving a way for others to follow. We are part of our individual teams as well as our wider team and organisation. We are welcomed. Supported.
We all need to play our roles in welcoming people. In supporting people. In valuing people’s differences as well as challenging practice that is not acceptable and behaviours that are not welcome.
I value my journey. My learning. My opportunity to challenge and pave the way for future generations. May we continue to create positive change where it is needed.