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Boy Jobs, Girl Jobs


(Ann from California writes...)

I am finding more and more that some campgrounds are displaying a sexist attitude. When we got our recent job we were told the girls work the office and the boys outside.... Here it is 2010 and we are going backwards once again.


What if a woman has better outside skills than a man? And what if, like our case, the man has a business system degree and outshines me in the office? Pretty bad.

My friend, a female and single work camper, has a horticulture and landscape design degree but is always shuffled into the office to do the girl's job.

What's up with this?

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Coleen, the working editor replies:

I'm curious as to what the campground owner or manager told you when you asked them if you could switch places, with you doing the outside (boy's) job and your male partner doing the inside (girl's) job.

I agree with you, it is sexist. It continues because it works. Many of the couples volunteering at parks or bartering work for an RV site are older, and come from a time when "men's work" and "women's work" was the norm.

Workampers reinforce the stereotype in their Work Wanted ads and resumes, too. They often write about the woman's qualifications to work in the store or office, and her desire to work there. And, they point out the man's skills doing maintenance and outside chores.

One way to deal with it is to leave out your sex when responding to the ads. Simply say that "one of us" can do such and such and "the other of us" can do this and that.

If you can muster it, you might approach it with a bit of humor. When you point out that the two of you can handle the tasks that need doing, but with the roles reversed, the campground owners may be embarrassed that they worded it the way they did.

Comments for Boy Jobs, Girl Jobs

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Bias Still Exists


We have had the same experiences. Stacy likes, and has offered, to work outside only to be told that woman work in the office, store or housekeeping. The reasons given were usually "that's the way it is".

Even now, we/I am being considered for a dual park management position, (for wages). The parks have hosts, (non-paid). As far as I'm concerned, Stacy is as good or better qualified for the management position and our suggestion is to make me (male) the host, since I am retired. In my opinion, the employers are dragging their feet on the decision since they feel that the management job should be a man's job and may not be appropriate if the woman oversees the host and the parks operations.

In another instance, I was working security while Stacy ran the camp store. I felt uncomfortable in security and when an opening came up in the store I advised management of my concerns and asked to be transferred to the store. Management's response was that only women and students work in the store.

Employee Stereotypes


We also had a similar experience and handled it by specifically informing management on the first day that the female would do the cleaning and the male would do the office. This was a direct reversal of the norm. The management understood very well and accepted and agreed to it.

Our situation became a problem with the other host couple. They just could not understand that a man would want to work with the public and a computer, and that a woman would want to work outdoors and do restroom cleaning.

I guess it depends on the area of the country you are in and the age of the people. It worked for us, but it made our relationship with the other host couple strained.

Boy Jobs and Girl Jobs


I feel the campgrounds are dancing on the edge of breaking federal law. It is discrimination and it's blatant. I work at an RV park now that requires 5 days a week and 7.5 hours on your feet in a store (no sitting allowed). They do not allow food breaks, or any breaks, for that matter, and are in direct violation of the law. I don't understand why no one investigates them as they would any other source of employment. Here as well, they lay out what women and men do and it makes me very uncomfortable. Let's get back to equal rights here and everywhere. If you are disabled and can't do a certain job then they should make exceptions. Other than that, this stuff needs to stop.

Discrimination


I approached them [park owners] and asked to be put outside and let him go inside, and was fired. I was told if I can't follow their rules to get out....

So, it worked out. I am out and it has taught me never to accept a work camping position that is not up to date with discrimination laws and who practice it blatantly.

We are supposed to be protected from sexual and religious discrimination in the work place and it's two things the RV parks practice on a regular basis.

I went to an RV resort once that asked if I was a Christian upon check in. I was stunned. It was not registered as a Christian park, yet she thought it was her business to know.

Sex Discrimination at RV Parks


It sounds like work campers need to "just say NO" to owners/managers who do not allow women to work outside or men to work in the office or with the public. That's how to get them to look at things more realistically. I ran hotels for years and would want to work the office, and my wife loves working outdoors. We would tell an employer who wants it the other way around that their rules preclude us from allowing them to have the benefit of our services. None of these people are paying well enough that their job is that important. Just my humble opinion.

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