By LISA MARTINThe story of the land surveyors land survey team is part of a larger tale about women in sports.
As the girls of Australia’s land survey teams prepare to embark on a two-year tour of America, they are learning what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated industry.
They are also taking stock of what the surveyors experience in the field.
While some of the work that is carried out by the girls’ teams can be seen as a rite of passage, some of it can be difficult to take.
For the Land Surveyors of Australia team, the surveyor experience is challenging.
Land surveyor Emily Johnson says there is a lot of sexism in the industry and she feels it affects the women who come out to report on the survey.
“The surveyors, they’re the ones that actually work for the land,” she said.
“They don’t just sit around and take surveys, they actually put their life on the line for the communities they work in.”
As a land surveyee, Johnson has faced sexism.
“We’re really good at asking the questions that we need to ask,” she explained.
“Some of the questions we ask have been very hurtful and very disrespectful to women in particular.”
Johnson says the survey process is one of the toughest she has ever done, and it is challenging to talk to anyone else about it.
“When you’re interviewing a person you’re really trying to do the right thing,” she added.
“I have had quite a few people come up to me and say, ‘you know, you’re so right, I feel so bad about this, but I don’t know why you have to do this.'”
I’ve had some really good people come in and say to me, ‘I have the same thing you’re doing, I just think it’s so wrong that we’re doing it, but you’re right.’
“Land survey team members have to deal with being questioned, and not being able to answer questions in their own time.”
It’s really stressful, it’s really nerve-racking,” Johnson said.
While the girls are doing a tour of the US, they will also have to contend with the pressures that come with making it to the next level.”
Every time we get a call about a new job, or we have to interview, it is really, really stressful,” Johnson added.”[And] there’s also the fear of the backlash, and so on.
“Johnson and the other surveyors in the team are not alone.
The Australian Land Surveyor Association says it has received about 400 reports of sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination in the Australian land survey industry.
The association is working to change attitudes in the workplace, and has also introduced an online survey platform.
It’s a change that has had some negative consequences for the girls.
One surveyor told The Sunday Telegraph that she had to quit her job after she was sexually harassed on the job.”
That was really traumatic for me,” the surveyee said.
The women in the survey teams are hoping the online platform will help them to address the issues.”
There’s some really powerful tools out there that we can use, and we can work together to change the attitudes of people around the world,” Johnson explained.