Page 32 - October 2020
P. 32

Painting by
                                                                                                 the author

            When the men discovered that we were planning something, they grumbled about
            our  “Not  knowing  our  place”  and  insisted  we  were  “undermining  society.”  We
            didn’t let their fear stop us; if  anything, it inspired us. The idea of equity for women
            had become a movement and I was leading the charge.
            We came out of hiding and orchestrated rallies at the center of the box. Peaceful
            protests, where we’d chant, “No more ceilings, no more stoop, firing women is a
            load of poop!” Some men encouraged us; others snickered and told us to “Pipe
            down.” The indignant ones said that our behavior was “unladylike.” The more stern
            husbands told their wives to go home. It hurt to see some comply.
            Soon I realized we’d come at our protests too soft. Not that this was our fault, soft
            is what we were taught. It was as if women were brainwashed, even me. I realized it
            when Lily was a teen; she told me she wanted to be a CEO when she grew up and

            I’d laughed before saying, “I hope you make it.”
            I was taught not to expect to rise to the top of the box. The idea of women thinking
            outside  of  the  box  sounded  like  the  rantings  of  an  unemployable.  No  one  knew
            what  was  out  there.  We  women  were  practiced  at  running  households,  the
            secretarial pool, cooking in cafes, and  various facets of business that helped men
            relate, or sell products to women, nothing more.
            People often told me that I was lucky to be as high up in the corporation as I was.
            For years no one knew I despised hitting my head on the box’s ceiling everyday;
            the  knots,  bruises,  and  humiliation  were  as  familiar  as  morning  coffee,  but,  I
            suppose it looked lucky to those that had even less room to move than I did.
            Eventually, I’d hit my head enough to wake my inner radical. She got me thinking
            there might be something beyond the box.
            At times, both sexes advocated against women in the workplace, but eventually all
            conceded that the insights of women were necessary for corporations to maximize

            revenue. Necessity was our gateway. It sizzled and burned in us until it ignited our
            will to do the unimaginable.
            Of course, years went by without any real progress or action. I was resolute in my
            vision even if nothing appeared to be happening around me. Nothing discouraged
            me, until Lily entered the workforce and I had to face the fact that her prospects
            and  paychecks  weren’t  going  to  be  better  than  mine.  Escalation  was  necessary.
            What did we have to lose?
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