We’re here to do work. Business work.
Hi there, we’re Megan and Cynara. We’re delighted to join the accomplished team of bloggers at Shameless with our new blog “Shameless at Work.” Our column will be a monthly mix of all topics related to women and work. We’re both in our twenties and are navigating the trials and tribulations of being female professionals. After having worked in academia, childcare, retail, publishing, marketing, communications and project management, we have a lot of advice to share, issues (vs skirts) to raise, and topics to debate and discuss with you. This column will incorporate the insights of our friends (Internet and Outernet) and colleagues. We’ll give some how-to-survive-the-office tips, talk about empowerment in the office and discuss about the challenges that you face on the job, and/or when you’re pounding the pavement in search or gainful employment.
Since getting thinky about pop culture and new media is kind of our unpaid full-time job, we’ll also delve into our favourite representations of working women in television, music, and film. One of our professional heroes is Mad Men’s Peggy Olsen, the junior copywriter at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. She’s independent, smart and ambitious; holding her own and making her own way in a hostile, Boys’ Club environment. But ever since last (last) week’s episode of Mad Men, “The Summer Man,” we’ve been intensely thinking about how little has changed since Peggy and colleague Joan Harris—another powerhouse at SCDP, played by the scene-stealing Christina Hendricks’—and their real-life working women counterparts were clocking in and punching out in the early 60s.
For one, women are still, like Peggy, in the minority and at a disadvantage in creative industries.
Of course this has zero to do with ability, and everything to do with kyriarchy. According to a study by the Council of Education Ministers that looks at education levels, spending on schools and the benefits of education across the country, women with a post-secondary education still earned just 63 percent the salary of similarly-educated men, up only slightly from 61 percent in 1998. And that’s also despite the fact that women are better educated.
We’ve seen our male friends and colleagues get promoted before us and get offered great opportunities in front of us. It’s a minefield sometimes. There are a lot of wonderful things about being the workplace: being there, for one is a good start. Work also lends a sense of accomplishment, opportunities to learn, and most of the time, the people that you work with make it fun. On the other hand, we’re not fans of sexism at work, inappropriate customers, the lack of role models and mentors for women, the wage gap between genders, and unpaid internships (particularly in female-dominated industries).
Our 2010 work places have policies against gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment that the whiskey-swilling, grabby-handed men of 60s-era SCDP could never have imagined, but when it comes to wages and opportunities, statistics reveal that men receive recognition instead of and at the expense of women.
Well-deserved hat tips to Mary Wollstonecraft, Emily Faithfull, and Gloria Steinem, but there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to women getting due recognition for a job well done. And we’re here to get down to business, and heavy lifting necessary to help make that a reality. Let’s all get to work!