I happen to be one of 2 female trustees on a school board of 7. This translates into 28% female elected representation on our board which is significantly higher than the national rate of female representation in municipal, provincial, territorial and federally elected seats which sits at about 21%**… though maybe the participation rate will be higher after this most recent election.
At any rate, even though there’s 28% female representation in that room, sometimes being 2 out of 7 feels a bit outnumbered. Especially given that a lot of the Administrators that are in these meetings are also men.
Now I know that some women watch hockey. I definitely KNOW in my heart that when everyone in the room starts talking about hockey except for the only women present, that they aren’t purposefully trying to exclude us. People talk about things they know, things they have in common, they use these topics to build relationships. I do it too, if I know someone has a boat, I talk to them about it because thats what we have in common. BUT….
There we were… the two women… finding ourselves kinda sitting there, time and again, looking at the table with nothing to add to the casual conversation happening around us feeling awkward and excluded.
So after my fellow trustee and I talked one night about how we sometimes feel left out when the hockey talk starts we decided that every time we find ourselves sitting mutely while everyone else is discussing a sport that we know nothing about, that we would start our own conversation that everyone in the room could join in on: Birthing stories.
By the same token that one could argue discussing Hockey isn’t sexist because many women watch hockey, there are a lot of supportive men out there who have witnessed the birth of their children and were really involved in the pregnancies that created them. In the spirit of expanding on potential participation in stereotypically genderdized pre and post meeting conversation topics; we are hoping that our birthing stories serve to include everyone in the room particularly because we all have children.
I shared a story about a baby coming out of the birth canal so fast that the after birth hit the wall behind the doctor…. That was my son. It was like the scene from Carrie in there, seriously…
** source: http://equalvoice.ca/index.cfm