When I was a teenager I had a very memorable dream, possibly because for once it didn’t feature Samantha Fox or Elle McPherson, or a combination thereof.
Instead I dreamed of women ‘tradesmen’ happily toiling alongside the men in the refinery I was employed at. Back then, women were either secretaries, cleaners or tea ladies, and sightings were extremely rare.
But the next morning, when I brightly announced to the old tradesmen who were training me, “I reckon we’ll see women tradies one day,” all hell broke loose.
Judging from their reactions I think what actually came out of my mouth was, “You’re all a bunch of overweight, smelly, unshaven, drunken pigs with no brains, skills, looks or talent and should have been drowned at birth!”
Anyway, word quickly spread and tradesmen came from far and wide to tell me how wrong I was, and why. Apparently women were too weak, too emotional, always having babies, won’t like getting dirty and we’ll spend all day helping them. It will never, ever, happen.
But a Romanian bloke muttered, “There are many women tradesmen and engineers in my old country, it is nothing.” And an old Scotsman admitted that he’d been trained by female mechanics during WW2, “A‘course they were all sent back to their kitchens once the men had finished fighting.”
Sadly neither of them voiced these facts too loudly lest they became the next target.
Eventually most of those old blokes lived to see women tradies working in the refinery, and today it’s perfectly normal to see girls mixing it with the boys in factories, on building sites, and in every other trade or profession.
It’s no longer the stuff of dreams, women can do pretty much any job men do; well, except be Pope or host Family Feud.