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When I was at University, I struggled with money – I mean, what kind of a student doesn’t? Desperate to earn a bit of cash, I signed up to the University’s temping agency and started getting fairly regular work. Some admin stuff here and there, a bit of waitressing and then an event steward.
A few of my friends and I had never done the work before but we had been told by the agency it was pretty easy so we thought “Why not – it’s easy money!”
We started going to various events such as cricket, football, horse racing, music festivals, charity races and rugby matches. It was quite interesting work but because I was doing it for extra cash and not a career, my heart wasn’t really in it. I rarely took the work seriously and as it was due my university years, needless to say I turned up more than a little hungover to do my shifts most of the time.
What I did love about the work was the types of people we met – including plenty of sporting legends – and flirting with some of the football players despite being dressed in a fluorescent yellow jacket was a definite perk of the job.
Unfortunately, I soon discovered that the stewarding and security industry, being a mainly male dominated profession, was very narrow minded and totally different in the way that they treat the women in the industry. A lot of the women either laughed off the overtly crude jokes, whereas others were just too plain scary so that the men didn’t even try joking with them.
One day, we were sent to a rugby match – it was only a couple of hours away on the coach and my friends and I always had good fun joking around and singing on the journey there. Once we got there, we waited around for ages (such is the nature of the job!) until we had our briefing. The briefing always consisted of one of the management telling us fire procedures, stadium etiquette etc and then we’d be given our positions for when fans started arriving.
It was always a treat to be put in the stands where you could see the game although technically we were never allowed to watch. This one day, we were given our positions and placed with a supervisor who refused to give me or my friends a walkie-talkie…because we were females!
What the actual hell?!
We laughed at first thinking he was joking but then he went off to find a man to operate the handheld device. Needless to say we were pretty shocked and seeing as we were being treated like we couldn’t handle anything…I decided not to do anything for the rest of the shift as my own form of protest. Still wearing my bright yellow coat, I went and got some chips, sat with the rest of the crowd and cheered on the home team.
That was my last ever stewarding shift and I actually enjoyed the satisfaction of writing the “sexual discrimination” letter that followed…!