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Where do I start even trying to write a coherent story on the sexism I’ve encountered…. Working in student politics over the past couple of years has provided me with a catalogue of examples, such as ‘wear a tight top, you might get a few extra votes’; being a twenty something year old who regularly goes out to pubs and clubs would write itself into another catalogue and then there was everything that happened before I realised I was a feminist or that what I was experiencing had a name. I think one of the latter is the story I will share because it is very difficult to react and cope with a situation when you can’t name the abuse or the discrimination you’re experiencing.
During college, I was working in a bar in Cork City. Overall, it was a really great place to work – despite the sexism that was rife in the place. One Sunday, my manager was doing the work roster (divvying out the duties for the day) and asked if a male colleague of mine would be able to take on my usual duties as I was off to do something else. I said he would, not a bother as he was a fully capable young fella but the manager (a man) insisted that another girl do half of the workload because the guy wouldn’t be able to do it all. Yet I was expected to do it all, every other day. I was so infuriated I just walked away. I was consumed with anger but had no words to actually raise the issue in a productive manner. I felt completely useless and I didn’t do anything about it.
Being the victim of sexism is horrible every time it happens. Even now that I can name it, it may make it easier to stand up to, but it doesn’t make it a nicer experience. Sometimes I’m left feeling exhausted that I have to fight some big battle for women all on my own, which is why a blog like this is really important. I know I’m not alone, in this story and as the saying goes ‘a problem shared is a problem halved.’