Some years ago I had a job interview in which I was asked a question that breached equalities legislation. I knew this straight away so of course, I panicked. How best to respond in a way that would show I wasn’t the kind of woman who cared about being asked such questions?
I can’t remember what I said, but I know I fluffed the answer. I didn’t get the job but years later I still feel guilty. This is not for my failure to take a stand on behalf of all women being asked such questions, but for my failure to present a convincing #notallwomen riposte.
It wasn’t that I disagreed with the law. It’s that I knew that there were other rules in play, ones which made me, and not my interviewer, the transgressor. There I was, a woman of childbearing age, asking for a job. What had he done other than call me out on this ruse?
When women demand that their rights be respected, it’s rarely just because we believe that they should be. What’s there on paper doesn’t reflect what we’re actually allowed to expect for ourselves. We know this. We’re not stupid.