Netroots Nation: "Men Working"  

I hadn't been all that happy with the last Yearlykos (now Netroots Nation). So, after Chicago, I decided no, not 2008. Now, I'm having second thoughts because I got this in my e-mail today from Mr. UnionReview himself, Richard.

If I was able to post a blog to your site tonight from Austin, where I am sitting in a hotel with a web connection that seems slower than dial up, I would have posted the following:

Men ... and Women ... at Work

When Atlanta-based magazine editor drove past another "Men at Work" sign, she clearly had about enough. She filed a complaint with the city about the gender-specific signs, which in turn ackonwledged that half of the area's Public Works employees are women, and complied.

Atlanta Public Works Commissioner Joe Basista, who was interviewed by, said that the project, which involves painting over the exisiting 50 "Men at Work" and "Men Working" signs with the more gender neutral "Workers Ahead" or "Workers," will cost a whopping $1,000. The City will then have to pay about $110 per sign in the future to get the gender neutral signs.

I have to admit that I've thought about this once or twice recently.

In Takoma Park, where I live, there is endless construction on Carroll Avenue, a main street that runs like an artery through downtown. The construction workers seem to dig one hole after another, drop a metal plate over the hole, lift the plate, dig more, etc. While I have wondered why they don't just fill the holes, I have not seen any cement trucks roll through. At the construction zone there is a feeble attempt to control the flow of traffic. Regardless of how feeble, it is a woman worker in a hardhat holding a "Slow" sign or "Men Working" sign.

Well, no more "Men Working" only signs in Atlanta. Basista says that the project to repaint the signs will be completed by the end of the month. Now the fearless editor, from what I hear, is looking to bring her campaign nationwide.

"We're calling on the rest of the nation to follow suit and make a statement that we will not accept these subtle forms of discrimination," she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

I don't think they are so subtle; I think it is just a matter of "Huh, we hadn't thought of that..."

I worked road construction back in college. I had flag duty (which no one ever wanted to do. I'd rather put down the tar to be perfectly honest, no matter how hot) far more often than anyone person should have to have it.

Our signs were often simply stop signs and slow signs, not men at work signs

I'm glad that this injustice is being corrected. And I'm even happier to see that it's being done for so little cost. $1000 isn't a lot to pay to remind all of us, that workers are workers and not men or women. In the end, we're all just workers.

In case you need linky goodness for this, head on over to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and read up on the changes.

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