Today the newspapers are filled with articles on the position of women. Among all the figures and background information I found one sentence sticking. “Not until women can set the rules and change them like men can, there is no equality”. My heart started pumping with adrenaline when I read that sentence hidden away in lots of text on how little things have improved over the years. How the glass ceiling is thicker than ever, how refugee women and children get the worst deals ever.
The lines highlight the essence of my frustration of my work in the police force in the Netherlands. I enjoy the company of enthusiastic men, strong men, clear men, hard working men etcetera. And I hate the disparaging patriarchal ways of some of them so much. How to react to repeating remarks as: “Ït is great you are here as a women: it brings out my soft skills”. Or, “ you should understand our way of working together, is the same as dancing. I lead, you follow”. Or, “don’t you dare disagree with me: my decisions are always right. I expect loyalty. “
It is not difficult to give a prognosis of the ensuing behavior of the group members. I see the effect on the groups that are subject to such leadership. Yes, the group members seem to be relaxed and seem to be enjoying themselves. But the productivity is low, the ownership is low, they keep coming back with the same questions and some opt out. The Leader starts to feel even greater; look everybody is asking him where to go, it must be that he is the greatest
And of course the other side of the medal: it must be they are not capable: why otherwise ask so many questions? Some days I succomb other days I avoid and again other days I go to gym to fend my frustrations. I seem to get fitter these last few years:)
There are days- this is one of them- I am so fed up I can’t resist taking it out on my 17 year old son, especially when he calls me a ‘money bitch”. “No, stop it – I find myself saying in a very low clear voice – at work I am being bullied and am expected to fulfill the norms men set, here in my home I can set the rules. Not you.. ” And for those of you who haven’t heard about money bitches: it is a women who makes money. Poor boy, I have to resist showing him what a money bitch can do, but I suppose that is women’s thing too. I can see that lots of men in my surroundings don’t hesitate to use their power and enjoy it. I wish for all women around the world not to be afraid of their own power and start setting the norms for a peacful equal society.