My personal story
R: So practically I used to work in a shop selling cloth. The owner of that shop was a foreigner and since he was in the textile business he was often coming and going abroad to buy cloth anyway and he used to tell me 'in my absence you must manage my establishment'. I was employed there with four ladies and the same thing it was a headache to settle these four ladies to do the work. You know, this one doesn’t want to do this job, the other does not want to do the other task, even when they saw that I took his place, in his stead, they sort of did not really accept the situation, in fact one of them told me once 'listen, we salesgirls, you are a salesman, sort of, you do the same tasks like we do', and I had told them 'listen, he asked me to take his place'. He used to be absent for a month, two months (...) away from Malta and I had to manage the shop, I was responsible for the finances, I mean I was responsible for stocktaking, everything) (and he used to tell me, for example, there are certain documents you must get them from customs, and it was difficult to leave the shop, to leave the salesgirls alone, and when I return and you know they were supposed to clean the shop window and they didn’t, the floor was supposed to be washed and it wasn’t, there was that sort of pique because you are like us, now I used to do all the jobs too to be totally honest, but he used to tell me 'no, you must give the orders and they must obey', but they did not really accept this.
I: Let us see whether it was because of the fact that you were a man that he asked you to be in charge.
R: I think that was one of the reasons, a man among four women, and he also gave me his place, in his absence, and that they did not really accept it
I: For instance had you been working there for as long as they did or had you been there longer?
R: No, I had been there longer, in fact I also kept the keys of the shop, I was responsible for opening and closing, I think this had also affected them also that I had been there longer and then the others were employed later
I: Could it be that the fact that you had been there longer and not that you were the man? What makes you think that he gave you the responsibility because you were the man?
R: It is possible that it’s because he gave me the role of the shop owner I was taking his place and it could also be that it’s because I was a man among four ladies
I: Were they younger, much younger than you?
R: Yes they were younger, much younger or younger.
I: So it could be there was the age factor as well.
R: It is possible that one factor was age because at that time I was over thirty and they were twenty-five, twenties. I mean, they were younger
I: So there were two factors in addition to gender, the fact that you had been working for him for longer and the fact that you were older.
I: But you believe that it was because he was a man and you were a man.
R: His concern was that what he could not do himself he asked me to do it. He told me 'you must manage' and this was kind of not accepted on their part because they knew that if they were salesgirls, I was a salesman I was that means in the same role but he had given me greater responsibilieties which they did not accept (...).
I: Now do you think that as a result of this experience with these four ladies you changed somewhat your ideas about women and men? Did it affect you?
R: I sort of adjusted, it did not really affect me
I: You adjusted in what way?
R: Sort of today first of all one has to keep in mind that the role of the woman and the man are equal, the same. In those days it’s not that they were not equal but you had to adjust according to changing times. Nowadays I can’t say that because I’m a man I am superior to the woman or that woman is superior to man.
I: But the fact of that experience in the shop affected that you said you had to adust.
R: Let me tell you, in a way, I had to adjust truly because (...) as I told you if they were salesgirls I was a ... I had nothing less or more than them, the fact that he gave me that role to take his place I couldn’t refuse yes by force because he was my boss (...)
I: I’d like you to tell me more about adjusting, what do you mean you had to adjust, what did you have to adjust, what do you mean for example?
R: There were moments you know when they were right and I accept what they say (...) I used to say they are right it doesn’t mean that because I’ve been here longer sort of I don’t want to humiliate them.
I: In a general way you mean?
R: It doesn’t mean that because I had been there longer I act as ...
I: the boss
R: the boss or that I am superior but because ...
I: You accepted their argument that 'listen, here we are all equal'.
R: Yes, I used to accept it, yes I used to accept it.
I: But at the same time you had to shoulder the responsibility.
R: I shoulder it and I don’t want to go against his word that 'I want you to be their boss' but I sort of to obey him I had to do it.
I: Mela issa ha nitkellmu dwar meta kont tahdem go hanut tad-drappijiet u hemmhekk domt ghal zmien twil hux veru?
R: Mela hemmhekk ghamilt kwazi disgha u ghoxrin sena
I: Mela tirrakkuntali naqra
R: Mela prattikament jiena kont nahdem go hanut tad-drappijiet u l-owner ta' dak il-hanut kien barrani u peress li hu kien mitfuh fuq it-textiles u kien gej u sejjer jixtri d-drappijiet insomma u kien jghidli fin-nuqqas tal-prezenza tieghi inti trid tmexxi l-establishment tieghi kont impjegat jien u xi erba' tfajliet ohra u l-istess haga kien ikolli ugigh ta' ras biex nghidu hekk biex nipprova nissetilja 'l dawn l-erba' xebbiet li kelli taf int dik ma tridx taghmel hekk dik ma tridx taghmel hekk speci anki li kienu jaraw lili niehu l-post tieghu, floku, qishom ma tantx kienu jaccettawha, il-ghaliex darba minnhom wahda kienet qaltli isma' speci ahna mhux salesgirls, inti mhux salesman, speci ta', taghmel dak li naghmlu ahna wkoll, u kont ghidtilhom isma' dan poggieni floku, dan kien jaghmel xahar, xahrejn ...nieqes minn Malta u jien irrid immexxi, irrid niehu hsieb flus, jigifieri rrid niehu hsieb l-istocktaking, kollox, u niftakar ukoll kont kwazi kwazi, nghid kollox, anki kien kwazi qabadni speci ta' break-down ghaliex kont qed inhoss, l-ewwel nett kont inhoss in-nuqqas tieghu l-ghaliex imbaghad meta kien ikun imsiefer kien ikompli jdum hemmhekk ghax kellu t-tfal hemmhekk u kien jibqa' maghhom, u telefonati u kien jghidli pez ghandek certu karti trid tmur iggibhom mid-dwana, kont inhossha wkoll li rrid inhalli l-hanut wahdu, inhallihom wahedhom, u nigi lura u speci ta naf li jkunu jridu jaghmlu l-hgieg u ma jsirx il-hgieg, jahslu l-art ma tinhasilx l-art kien hemm qisu dak ic-certu pika ghax inti bhalna, jien kont immidd idejja wkoll ta ha nkun ghidt kollox imma hu kien jghidli le inti aghti l-ordnijiet u huma jridu jobdu, u qishom ma tantx kienu jaccettawha din
I: ha naraw hux minhabba l-fatt li int kont ir-ragel li qabbad lilek
R: nahseb dik hija dik hija wahda minnhom ragel fost erba' xebbiet u anki li tani l-post tieghu fin-nuqqas tal-presenza tieghu qisu dik ma tantx kienu accettawha
I: perezempju indaqs kontu ilkom tahdmu mieghu jew forsi inti kont ilek aktar
R: le jien l-aktar li kont ili infatti anki c-cwievet tal-hanut biex niftah u naghlaq kien ihallili nahseb kienet affettwathom ukoll lilhom ukoll jiena l-aktar li kont ili nahdem hemmhekk imbaghad ovvjament l-ohrajn gew warajja
I: Jigifieri jista' jkun li ghax kont ilek hemm mhux ghax kont ir-ragel, xi jgaghlek tahseb li ghax kont ir-ragel tefaghlek dik ir-responsabbiltá?
R: Jista' jkun li ghax kien itini ir-role qisni l-owner tal-hanut kont qed niehu postu u jista' jkun ukoll speci ta il-ghaliex ragel fost l-erba' xebbiet
I: Kienu izghar fl-etá jew kien hemm qabza
R: Le kienu izghar izghar hafna kienu izghar minni
I: Jigifieri jista' jkun il-fattur tal-etá ukoll
R: Jista' jkun nahseb wahda minnhom l-etá ghax dak iz-zmien jien kont over thirty u huma kienu twenty-five twenties jigifieri kienu izghar
I: Jigifieri kien hemm zgur zewg fatturi apparti li kont ragel, il-fatt li kont ilek qabel u l-fatt li kont ikbar
I: pero inti thoss li peress li hu kien ragel u int kont ragel
R: ried ihalli dak li ma setax jaghmel fil-presenza tieghu kien tah qalli biex tmexxi inti u qisha ma tantx kienet tigi accettata min-naha taghhom ghax huma jafu jekk huma salesgirls jien salesman kont jigifieri l-istess role imma li kien tani xi haga iktar qisha huma ma accettawhiex
I: pero ghalik int interpretajtha ghax ragel flok ragel
I: huma ma accettawhiex ghax huma erba' nisa forsi nghaqdu flimkien kontra l-uniku ragel jista' jkun?
R: jista' jkun ukoll
I: mela meta bejn wiehed u iehor grat din?
R: mela dika kienet fis-sixties ukoll
I: qisu bejn is-sixty u s-seventy ukoll
I: issa tahseb li minhabba din l-esperjenza ma' dawn l-erba' tfajliet inbidlu l-ideat tieghek dwar in-nisa u l-irgiel, kellha effett fuqek
R: ghax imbaghad qisni eggestjajt, ma tantx qisha effettwatni ta
I: eggestjajt b'liema mod?
R: hekk speci illum l-ewwel nett wiehed izomm f'mohhu li r-role tal-mara u tar-ragel huma equally l-istess, dak iz-zmien mhux ghax ma kinux ta imma trid teggastja ruhek maz-zminijiet ta' llum ma nistax nghid li jien ghax jien ir-ragel ghandi xi haga iktar mill-mara jew il-mara ghandha xi haga iktar mir-ragel
I: Imma dak il-fatt ta' dik l-esperjenza fil-hanut affettwatek li tghid kelli neggestja?
R: Ha nghidlek, in a way, kelli neggestja ruhi vera il-ghaliex (...) kif ghidtlek jekk huma kienu salesgirls jiena kont salesman ma kelli xejn inqas jew aktar minnhom, il-fatt li hu tani dak ir-role nohodlu postu ma kellix nghidlu le kelli nghidlu iva bil-fors ghaliex hu kien ta' fuqi jerga'
I: ma takx paga izjed talli tak aktar responsabbiltá
R: Ha nghidlek prattikament paga ma tantx kelli aktar minnhom, ftit u responsabbiltá kienet aktar mill-paga
I: Nixtieqek tghidli naqra izjed fuq din kelli neggestja, x'igifieri kellek teggestja, x'eggestjajt pez?
R: Kien hemm mumenti hu jigifieri kien ikollhom ragun u noqghod jigifieri (...) kont nghid ghandhom ragun dawn ma jfissirx li ghax jien ilni hawnhekk izjed minnhom speci ta l-anqas irrid inwaqqaghhom
I: B'mod generali jigifieri?
R: Ma jfissirx ghax jien kont ilni aktar hemmhekk speci rrid naghmilha
R: tal-boss jew li jien xi haga iktar minnhom imma peress li
I: kont taccetta l-argument taghhom li isma' hawnhekk kulhadd indaqs
R: kont naccettah iva kont naccettah
I: pero fl-istess hin trid terga' r-responsabbiltá ta
R: Nerfaghha u ma rridx inwaqqa' l-kelma tieghu li jiena rridek tkun speci hu kien jghidha rridek ta' fuqhom imma jien x'jien speci biex inkun ta' fuqhom imma biex nobdih irrid naghmilha hu
I: ehe, ehe, meta thares lura lejn din l-esperjenza thossok sodisfatt u pozittiv fuqha, taraha bhala esperjenza pozittiva
R: esperjenza pozittiva naraha pero nghidlek il-verita ma nkunx irrid nerga' nghaddi minnha ta
I: ghaliex le?
R: (laughs) il-ghaliex kif ghidtlek illum speci l-mara u r-ragel ghandhom l-istess rights u kif naqbad nghid ma tantx naraha speci qas irrid nohlomha li jkun hemm erba' tfajliet u speci ta rrid nghidilhom jien x'ghandhom jaghmlu jigifieri (laughs) dik hija xi haga
I: U ghaliex le
R: (laughs) hekk il-ghaliex ghalkemm kont naghmilha kienet iddejjaqni ftit imma kif ghidtlek irrid naghmilha ghax kien hemm min kien qed igaghlni biex naghmilha li kieku kellu jerga jghidhieli llum naseb nirrifjutaha ma naccettahiex
I: Imma ghax ma thossokx komdu
R: Ma nhossnix komdu ezatt
I: Id-decizjoni ma kinitx tieghek f'dal kaz ghax hu talbek
R: Hu talabni jien ma ridthiex jiena anzi jiena xtaqt inkun tal-livell bhalhom speci ta
I: Nahseb li dak li gara kien komuni, jew kienet xi haga normali li tigri dak iz-zmien
R: Nahseb li dak iz-zmien kienet hafna komuni li tigri il-ghaliex anke l- (...) kif naqbad nghid (...) hawn l-istruzzjonijiet tax-xoghol kienu naqra iebsin dawk iz-zminijiet
I: il x'inhuma?
R: l-istruzzjonijiet tax-xoghol jigifieri l-employees kien ikollhom certu kif naqbad jghid forsi biex wiehed jifhimni tkun salesman orrajt niftakar jiena plus salesman kont naghmel hafna affarijiet ohra meta kien ikun hemmhekk hu mhux l-ewwel darba li kien ikolli noqghod nahsel l-art jew nimsah xi tieqa
I: jigifieri x-xoghol kien difficli
R: Kien difficli wkoll hu
I: Fl-ahhar mill-ahhar tahseb li kienet esperjenza pozittiva
R: Kienet ta pozittiva iva
I: Taqbel perfettamet, tahseb li kienet gusta?
R: Gusta ma nghidlekx li kienet
I: Ghax kont taraha li kellek tkun bhalhom
R: Bhalhom dik hi u kellhom kull dritt jghidu isma' dana ghaliex qed jaghmilha daqshekk...u again mhux minni personali kont imqabbad biex naghmilha u ddejjaqni ftit kienet
I: Il-fatt li int kont ragel hu importanti hafna f'din l-istorja?
I: Il-fatt li inti kont ir-ragel fil-hanut?
I: affettwat dik id-decizjoni tieghu?
Gender did matter