Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Woman's Equality and Global Thinking

"Women's Deliberation" by B. Meltz...Summed up at The Philosopher's magazine as: "Philosopher Urges Women to Act Like Equals Gets a death threat as a result. In the US."

Hirshman first became controversial when she wrote an article last year for the liberal American Prospect magazine website saying it's a mistake for women to quit their jobs to stay at home with children. ...In a piece last month in the Washington Post, she didn't back down. Then came her book, just out, provocatively titled, ``Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World".

See also "The Motherhood Manifesto" for another point of view....

For example, the option of flextime would make a world of difference for Renee and her family. "Flextime would make a huge difference in my life because with my job function, there are busy days and late days. As long as I'm there forty hours a week and get my job done, then I don't know why anyone would care. I don't understand why there's such an 8 am to 5 pm 'law' in my workplace."

...Studies show that this mommy wage gap is directly correlated with our lack of family-friendly national policies like paid family leave and subsidized childcare. In countries with these family policies in place, moms don't take such big wage hits.

...Amy Caiazza, from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, notes, "If there wasn't a wage gap, the poverty rates for single moms would be cut in half, and the poverty rates for dual earner families would be cut by about 25 percent."


In the article, "Legal Weapon", Nussbaum considers Catharine MacKinnon's book, Are Women Human?

Inequality on the basis of sex is a pervasive reality of women's lives all over the world. So is sex-related violence. Rape by strangers and acquaintances, rape within marriage, domestic violence, trafficking into sex work, the abuse of women and girls in the pornography industry: In all these ways, argues Catharine MacKinnon, women suffer aggression and exploitation, "because we are women, systemically and systematically."

...Despite the prevalence of these crimes, they have not been well addressed under international human rights law--if, indeed, they have been addressed at all. Typically, there has been what MacKinnon calls a "double-edged denial": The abuse is considered either too extraordinary to be believed or too ordinary to constitute a major human rights violation. Or, as MacKinnon says, "If it's happening, it's not so bad, and if it's really bad, it isn't happening."

...MacKinnon sometimes comes quite close to saying that the modern state is a sexist relic that has had its day. Surely, however, the state is the largest unit we know of so far that is decently accountable to people's voices, and thus it is bound to be of critical importance for women seeking to make their voices heard. I think there is also a moral argument for the state: It is a unit that expresses the human choice to live together under laws of one's own choosing. Once again, it is the largest unit we yet know that expresses this fundamental human aspiration.

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I see feminism as tied to global warming in a global thinking kind of way. It's not like there shouldn't be modern states - but the whole world needs to start thinking differently. Some people like to think of the world as having one mind - and maybe it just needs to start talking to itself (and esp. to the women).

One thing is that with modern technology - people can and should have fewer children - 1 or 2 -for the people having children at all - if we are going to have a sustainable world. So of course that means that mothers will not be spending as much of their life consumed with the bearing and raising of children. And it's not surprising that there would be expectations that if women are not spending their lives raising children that they will be spending their lives more as men (who have not been raising children) have. And that women will expect and demand equal consideration in ways that they have not always had.

It's a problem - balancing the raising of children with having a career. There are still a lot of forces in society that keep women in service roles of one sort or another. It seems that our economy is based on it. And I agree with Hirshman that once women stop taking their career seriously in exchange for what seems like security - it is difficult to regain what has been lost. Even though raising children can be taken as seriously as any job.

It seems that Europe has been moving forward in this area - with more help for parents in raising children and staying in ones career. It seems that the US is moving backward - just as Hirshman gets death threats for her views and MacKinnon wonders if woman are "human" yet. That doesn't mean - are we "men" yet - but rather that the world is ready to allow women's talents and abilities and contributions to be considered equally with men's.

And the world needs quit fighting and start sharing. Listen to the voices of the mothers.

And I need to get to work.

1 comment:

meret said...

An article in the New York Times today (8.6.06) discusses what it's like for women on Wall Street who have such a difficult time working while having children - because the jobs can be so demanding and time-consuming. While the article mentioned mothers using nannys - I didn't notice any mention that the fathers might do more in the area of child-raising.

At least women I know have been able to persue an intense career more easily while having children when the husband has been able to take over more of the child-raising role.

But anyway - it seems that Wall Street may be thinking about ways to keep women working or get them back - which was interesting.

...Women remain the minority sex on the Street and many young recruits say they have grown more circumspect about a career there.

The Street says it wants to change all of this, not simply because it is socially expedient but because the financial world needs a diverse work force to make money and court clients — especially when clients themselves are not homogeneous.

“You can’t build a great company without great people, and great people are not just white, straight men aged 25 to 40,” said Joe Gregory, president of Lehman Brothers. According to a study by Columbia University’s Center for Work-Life Balance, white males represent just 17 percent of the global talent pool of individuals with graduate education.

“The work force of tomorrow is at home,” said Patricia David, global head of diversity and talent management at Citigroup’s investment banking unit. “They are not old or retired. They are in their 40’s and 50’s.”

And like Ms. Stoeber, some of them want to return to the Street."