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Women Carpenters - Don't call us "girls"!


I'm in my thirties. I don't like to be called a girl I didn't like it in my twenties and I haven’t grown out of the "hang up."

Many other women out there have the same problem as me. Some of them are one, two, three decades older than I am. Men who still call women "girls" should just stop doing that. And yes, some women still refer to women as "girls" and this is for them too.

What I’m talking about is this: I have lost count of how many times I've been on a job and a coworker has asked me if I know "this other girl in the union" or has told me about "this girl" he worked with. If I didn't know better I’d have thought the child labor laws had been abolished in this country. Never, not once, has anyone spoken to me about a boy he had worked with. Somehow it is clearly understood that you do not call a man "boy" unless you know him well and are joking, are over sixty-five, or are asking for trouble.

A black man understands the racism implicit in the word "boy". He knows the history behind the insult

"Girl" has a history too. Women in this country used to be considered permanent children under the law. A woman was passed from her fathers house to that of her husband. She was little more than a slave with no rights of her own, not even the right to escape an abusive marriage.

Women may have gained some rights, we can vote, divorce or choose not to marry, and support ourselves. We even have the right to work in construction where we can earn a wage equal to that of men. Yet many women feel that the equality stops with the paycheck. If we are acknowledged in the Brotherhood" it is rarely on the merits of our work. It does not seem surprising to me that a person called a term meaning "child" would not be taken seriously in the workplace. So there seems to be only one logical solution to this. Don’t call my sisters and me "girl" or "chick" or any of the other even less flattering words. I am woman, you know the song, now don’t make me roar!

Elizabeth G. Carpenter