Boy Jobs, Girl Jobs

- A California reader writes....
(Sex Discrimination on Who Does Which Jobs )

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 2019 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?

Coleen, the working RV 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.

Workers 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" 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.

By the way, please note that the Help Wanted ads here on Workers On Wheels do not indicate if the work is for males or females.

Comments for Boy Jobs, Girl Jobs

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Bias Still Exists

Frank writes: 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

Sandy writes: 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.


An anonymous WOW reader writes: 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

Dave writes: 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.

We have successfully reversed roles

A Workers On Wheels reader writes: The summer of 2018 we explained our skills and that he was applying to work in the office and I (she) was applying to work maintenance with expertise in cleaning bath houses. They were happy, even excited, with that plan. It worked out great! The men I worked with were happy for me to clean the bath house and outhouses. They took on my share of the mowing. The office went well too.

Girls doing boy's jobs

A Workers On Wheels reader writes: My wife and I prefer the "traditional" work assignments. That said, I recently worked a season at a large corporate owned RV resort as a maintenance guy. They hired a lady in the maintenance department, mainly to do landscaping but because we used a service for all the mowing and planting there wasn't enough work to keep her busy all day. She expressed interest in learning all aspects of campground maintenance. Since due to circumstances we didn't have a direct supervisor when ever possible I would teach her on jobs I was doing. In a few month period she learned basic electrical, how to operate a skid steer loader, and more. My point is, if one is willing to learn, and someone is willing to teach, anyone can do any job.

I Agree

A Workers On Wheels reader writes: I agree with the original poster. It is disappointing when you interview for a position that sounded good in the description, but they want the woman in the office and the man outside.

My husband is great with computers and worked at a bank. He is better at dealing with people. We are both good at gardening and landscaping. We both enjoy trail maintenance and things like painting and vehicle maintenance.

Luckily we have found some great positions that are happy to use the skills we both offer!

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