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OPINION: They stood their ground

Flora Jean Thompson

Guest Opinion

As a 75-year-old female, I am proud of Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott, Susan Holmes, Cora Plourd Nicholson and Svetlana Tenetko. They stood their ground with the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau and the P.E.I. government in regard to bullying.

I believe the five women. I have to wonder why women are still facing so much opposition from the men in power in 2019.

I have been a feminist since I was 14 years of age. I came from a family of five girls and four boys. The girls were not allowed a higher education in youth because they would marry, and their husbands would take care of them. That was the mentality of so many fathers in the 1940s and 1950s – and such a lie. I noticed at family gatherings the females never stopped what was considered “women's work.”

The men ate first, children ate next and finally the women sat at the table. To accommodate the numbers, the dishes were washed two to three times by women or daughters. Cleaning up was women's work while the men relaxed with dessert, tea, booze, cigarettes and cigars in the parlor. I did not have much education when I was put out to work, at age 16. I was so low on the hierarchy, I was not noticed as a worker or an LPN by the men who had the power. I was a non-person. Yet, I was intelligent enough to witness inequality every working day for 48 years.

Too often females were/are hired and promoted by powerful people. The men knew the women needed the job and paycheque, and could be pushed around to hold the job. I witnessed supervisors, head nurses, managers and teachers brought to tears by doctors, dentists, directors and managers. I saw the pressure that was placed on women simply because they were females. The men in charge often made female's lives a living hell and that hell flowed downward to the front-line workers.

As I became more educated and travelled, I learned to "stand my ground." I quit one job at coffee break, one at noon, one after an eight-hour shift and one after six months. I was given a lot of flack from people close to me, but I never once regretted my decisions. I could not accept the inequality/pressure in the work place. I had union fees deducted but like many women in the workforce, there was no one to protect me.

In my 48 years of working in three provinces, in many different places of employment and later with a university education, all of the powerful positions were still held by men. Single girls, single women, single mothers and married women needed a paycheque, but they have learned, if they stand their ground, they are unemployed.

I am so proud of the women who "stood their ground" despite the outcome.

Flora Jean Thompson of Charlottetown is a retired licensed practical nurse.

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