OPINION: Women are at work too

Randi Gibbons, Staff Reporter

Summer time calls for more road construction across the country. It seems as though every single main road leading to essential destinations are riddled with construction and therefor traffic.


Although I do despise traffic, I think I dislike misleading signs even more.


Miles before a construction site it is common to see signs that read, “ROADWORK AHEAD,” and “CREW WORKING,” which are all very suitable warnings for what is to come. Then, there is this-




Sure, sometimes a crew does consist of only men. But, that is not always the case.

The last three times I found myself driving by a sign in Kittitas County that stated, “MEN AT WORK,” the first crew hand I would see, all three times, was a woman.


Why does gender need to be involved in the warning? Is this not selectively putting down women by not recognizing their existence in the work place?


Some would argue that what I am saying is only for politically correctness, but that is not what this is about. It is about equality and the recognition of females in all work environments.


In an article by TIME magazine, Sherryl Kleinman, sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said “Signs such as ‘Men at Work’ unintentionally reinforce the idea that only men are suited for — and are capable of — doing outdoor physical jobs.”


Not only do the signs deter women from working in the road construction industry but their use has also been prohibited for over twenty years.


According to the TIME article signs that are located on “publicly accessible roads are subject to the regulations of the [Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices] MUTCD.” In 1988 the MUTCD prohibited the use of “MEN WORKING” and similar signs.


So why is Kittitas County and various other places still using them?


In the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways it states that a worker is, “a person on foot whose duties place him or her within the right-of-way of a street, highway, or pathway…”


In an article for Neatorama.com, Alex Santoso discusses what happened in 2008 when the editor for PINK magazine, Cynthia Good, started her own rally against the signs.


After Good saw multiple “MEN WORKING” signs around Atlanta, Georgia she decided to make a statement. To prove a point and to get the city’s attention, Good spray-painted the letters ‘W’ and ‘O’ in front of ‘MEN’ already on the sign.


Good told officials she would pay to replace the damaged sign if the city replaced all the signs similar to it. That is exactly what happened.


“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,” Good said.


Apparently Kittitas County has fallen behind the times because it is 2015 and we were called upon in 2008 to correct these mistakes.


Something has got to change around here- HERE’S YOUR SIGN!