- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
1. The opening scene says a lot about Lois’s personality. The roads are so clogged with snow that her three female colleagues miss their first day of work, yet Lois manages to make it on time and even gives a ride to a miner whose truck has stalled. By the end of the book, what has become of Lois’s persevering, energetic spirit?
2. The most common excuse given for the male miners’ sexism is that women like Lois take away “men’s jobs, ” asserting that only men deserve or need a good compensation package. How did that notion survive as long as it did, especially with so many single women raising children in the Mesabi Iron Range? Without the 1974 consent decree, would Eveleth have had any incentive to open its hiring to women? Does your workplace have an unspoken distinction between “men’s work” and “women’s work”?
3. Discuss the worst job you’ve ever had. What made it so unbearable? What enabled you to leave it? Why did Lois and her co-plaintiffs stay at Eveleth for so many years?
4. The Eveleth men who opposed having female coworkers used sex as the main means of intimidation, ranging from graphic talk, posters, and phallic items, to stalking and threats of rape. What does the sexual nature of the harassment say about the men who perpetrated it?
Why was it particularly traumatic in the isolated setting of the mine? What are some of the more subtle ways in which these sexual tactics manifest themselves in modern society, including the political arena?
5. How do sexual-harassment laws affect your on-the-job interactions? Have you ever encountered a situation that was difficultto interpret as harassment?
6. Early in life, Lois experienced date rape. A few years later, she was abandoned by a fiancé when he learned she was pregnant. On the job, she was seduced by a co-worker who tricked her into thinking he wanted a caring relationship with her. She also had a brief marriage with an alcoholic who lied to her about his financial situation. After her divorce, another co-worker developed a disturbing obsession with Lois, sending her bizarre letters and gifts. Compare the different forms of harm caused by these five men. Do you think it’s true that a good man is hard to find?
7. Though Lois was physically exhausted after her first Eveleth days, she enjoyed being free from the mental pressures of her job at the credit union, where tellers’ mistakes were paid for out of their own pockets. Discuss the concept of “hard work.” How does the miners’ stress measure up to that of white-collar workers?
8. Lois defies the stereotype of a miner. She writes poetry, finds solace in self-help books, and exudes femininity when she’s not in uniform. Some of her co-workers claimed that she took the harassment too seriously and was too sensitive. Did her personality keep her from getting ahead, or does it prove that she possibly was stronger than some of her tough-talking peers?
9. In the epilogue, Lois’s friend Kent says, “A lot of good people’s images have been hurt. . . . There were only a select few that treated the women that way but we all got the rap for it.” Do men like Kent deserve any of the blame for what happened? Were there consequences for the few men who tried to intervene?
10. At first, Pat won the respect of the union and resisted what she referred to as Lois’s “gossip sessions.” But once Pat joined the lawsuit, it became clear that she too had been angered by the harassment. Why didn’t her union clout give help her improve the women’s working conditions? Why would miners such as Joan Hunholz even go so far as to testify in favor of the men? Discuss the fickle dynamic between Lois and her co-plaintiffs.
11. Lois’s case was not perceived to be lucrative, making it hard for her to get a lawyer. Did reading about Paul Sprenger change your perception of attorneys? What reforms would have made Lois’s lawsuit less costly and less emotionally painful?
12. Do you think it’s simply coincidental that a settlement was not reached until a female insurance representative was assigned to negotiate on behalf of Oglebay Norton?
13. In “The Verdicts, ” Jean Boler says that she thinks the women “would probably have gone through less stress by not speaking out than they did by standing up for what was right.” Do you agree? After the experience with special master Judge McNulty, and faced with a primarily male jury, would you have accepted the settlement or gone to trial?
14. What are the chances of the pink-collar ghetto and the glass ceiling becoming relics of the past?
Posted October 1, 2002
When women marry, bear children, become caregivers and foundations of families, manage households and bugets, attend numerous activities for their husbands and children, wash, iron, cook, clean and hold down full-time jobs, why wouldn't we ascend to great heights when we decide to take on big business and the likes of sexual harassment? I cannot applaude these women enough!! If it were not for these women there might still be this type of behavior in the workplace. Shame on the judges, courts, lawyers, management, supervisors, and the employee workforce of the mining industry of Minnesota for allowing this type of behavior in the workplace. May the thousand of men who feel the female is beneath them have the courage to read this book and honestly admit some of you need to clean up your acts. Your behavior in the home, workplace, and on the street speaks more of you than it does of the women you label with vulgar words and gestures. The books you buy and the clubs your frequent only lets us know who amongst you are the winners and losers! These women chose betterment for themselves and shame on those men who decided to take their right to work away from them through intimidation, threats, sexually explict language and pictures, and degrading them on a daily basis. I hope Minnesota has cleaned up their act in our workplaces and men truly treat women with respect and dignity when women come out to do a job! It isn't a man's world, it never was!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2002
I was on an emotional rollercoaster when I read this book. I grew up in the area with the plant a mile to the south and the pits three miles to the north of my parents house in the country. Even though I lived in there the whole entire time the case was happening, I never heard a thing about it. I had always viewed things from the male perspective (I'm female), because it is a male dominated society there. It took leaving the area to realize how bad things really are there. It wasn't until I read this book that I understood what was going on from the the female perspective that I never had access to. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a better understanding of what is like to work in a male dominated workforce and not have your voice heard. I've cried, felt hurt, outraged and ultimately relieved. You really do feel for all the women in the case, they come to life on every page.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.