I hesitate to admit this, but I think I am probably qualified as an expert of sexual harassment.
Well, I have sued a company for that once, although we settled before actually going to court. In the end I sort of won, in terms of money. But I lost all my ambition climbing the corporate ladder. I bet there are not many CPAs sitting at home writing now.
To be honest, I hate confrontations. Seriously, I don’t bite, I only write! But what else can a girl do after being fired for refusing to have a nightcap with her boss in his hotel room? Sorry, I am not one of his Asian sex dolls.
And I am sure even now he still thinks it was all my fault, with my long raven hair, big brown eyes, etc etc… You see, I should have cut my hair short, dyed it platinum blond, and worn thick glasses. (OMG, did I just start another fantasy here?)
When I first came to Japan, I worked for a Swiss company which had the typical organization structure of the foreign companies in Japan, with the top management all from the homeland and the rest of the employees all Japanese. And I was shocked at how primitive and politically incorrect the working environment was for the women there.
Once I ran into 4 or 5 middle-aged male coworkers in the corridor, and heard one of them saying loudly to the others, “Hey she is quite a looker, isn’t she?” I guess I was not really there in his eyes.
It had never occurred to them that a girl might have more degrees than any of them, and possess a much higher IQ than all of them can put together, even if she did somehow resemble a doll.
Although my fellow Japanese female colleagues didn’t seem to mind, I was simply amazed. And I know many other foreign women also have similar experience here. No wonder we have all developed pretty thick skin over the years.
Many Japanese women work till they get married or have a baby. And even those who stay usually have clerical work (i.e., fetch coffee and look cute), not professional or managerial. The workplace is still a boys’ club here basically.
One of my friends working for a big Japanese bank told me they are now trying to increase the diversity by hiring more women. And in the future, they will hire more foreigners and handicapped people! :)
Things are certainly changing, but I can already see lots of conflicts coming at the same time that will be unavoidable. More and more women will not tolerate what I had to put up with. Hmmm, it will be fun to watch.
But now I will just sit here and smile at my doorknob hanger hidden behind my office door and only I can see. It says,“ Sexual harassment will not be reported, but it will be graded.”