Posted by John Borst on May 13, 2019
Variations of the statement below, I have seen many times over the years. A male, with many years of dedicated service, made it in a Facebook post, this past week.  
I believe he made it, believing he was speaking positively about women without any awareness that some women and men would perceive it as negative, even discriminatory.
 
Let's take the sentences apart to see better what might offend women.
 

“I also agree that women are the strength of Rotary and when the time is right, a good one will be chosen to lead our great organization. In the meantime, let's cut out the lobbying and bickering.”

 
The statement “when the time is right” begs the question; When is the time right? I guess in 30 years the time hasn’t been right. So how long is it going to be before it is right? And who can decide when the time is right? Males of course.  Sixteen to be exact, this past week.
 
Then you get the phrase “a good one will be chosen”. Is it just me, or do you not think the writer is consciously or sub-consciously condescending? Regardless, intentional or unintentional, the statement is condescending. Worse, it may even be seen as an insult.
 
Since it was made in response to the current selection of another male when two very qualified women were available, it implies that neither of them was a “good one”. That is an insult.
 
And then the insult gets broader still with the closing sentence. Women and the men who support them should stop “the lobbying and bickering”. Talk about a put-down. I can imagine a woman thinking, “Oh yes, it is women who bicker. You know, it’s like we are just “bitchy”. Uppity even. Like don’t they know their place?” Some words carry a lot of baggage, so much so that I am almost afraid to post this.
 
All too often we fail to comprehend the implications of the language we use. It is a problem that is still endemic among some men within the organisation when it comes to women. It is time it stopped. But how can something like this stop when the writer is not aware of it in the first place?
 
When I was nineteen, I trained to be a teacher. I grew up in a very working class neighbourhood, where we all used “I seen”. Every practicum the supervising teacher would point it out to me, yet I never heard it. Fortunately, on my last practicum a wise teacher, checked off the number of times I used it. The number shocked me. The very next time, I heard myself use the term. It was the being of the end of its misuse.
 
So fellows, check over what you write or say on a social media site and ask yourself before you click to post how might a woman reading this, view it.
 
Yes, indeed, #ItsTimeRI can have more than one meaning.
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