The Big Bite and Feminism
David McWilliams raises the point about ESRI study women earn less than men but also work less hours.
He had Helen Sheehan, lecturer in DCU and Harry McGee (father and journalist) on the one side of the couch and Brenda Power (journalist and mother) and Brenda Raggert (mother of 5 and involved with the ICA) on the other.
Sheehan was the greying feminist of the bunch who thoroughly agreed with Robinson. Women have a responsibility to do the work of the wider world to the best of their ability and are Letting themselves down, letting other women down and letting society down by leaving the world of work.
But what really upsets her are women with children not yet born (like moi) and who are already talking about giving up work. She’s disgusted with students of hers who say things like they’d rather be good mother than good journalist.
Sheehan gets last word on show by lamenting that young women don’t realise how hard these opportunities have been won.
Brenda Power was my heroine on this show – I agreed with her completely. Unlike Sheehan who thinks that educated women have an obligation to toil away, Power makes the point that obligation element of education is quite small and that education is about making us happy fulfilled complete people. She also attacks the narrow definition of female fulfilment which involves being like a man, working like a man and contributing to society in male fashion.
McWilliams made the point that many women now in their 30s never expected to have the urge to actually raise their children now are.
Power makes point that there will always be a trade off; sacrifices will always have to be made for women to work or not work.
Harry McGee didn’t really say much of substance. He did however mention hierarchy of women in society – which I totally agree with. Educated women have these choices but our insistence on the need for women to be equal in the workforce has left many poorer women with no other choice but to work – they’re unable to make the choice that they many desire – to spend time with their children.
He also mentions how many men as well as women are deciding that some things are more important than just making money. McWilliams also says that many women look at corporate ladder and just don’t want to keep going. This is good thing, people! Women are making decisions for themselves in their own lives and are perfectly happy with this situation.
Brenda Raggert makes the point that most important thing in society is rearing of next generation and also that for most women taking time out of workforce is only a temporary thing.
It is this notion that the gender feminists tried to turn on its head. That the only way to effect power in society was in the world of work. Previous generations believed that the “hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” and that the care of the future generation of citizens is perhaps the most vital thing in civilised society.
Sheehan and the other feminists of her generation may whinge about how awfully callous young women are abandoning them in their middle age, but the reality is that young women view their equality as part of the basic framework of a civil, democratic society. They do not consider their personal lives as part of a greater female crusade against the current structure of society. They do not think that they’ve any special responsibility to other women. (Well, I don’t anyway!)
The idea of equality is no longer radical. This is perhaps the greatest victory for modern human beings.
Women are now faced with the choices that their mothers did not make, and they fail to see what is so awful about raising their own children, while not working or working part time.
As McWilliams pointed out having large families is now part of being really swanky and posh.
This is on of the reasons I abandoned the notion of feminism – what was once considered a beautiful part of being female, the ability to be a mother and actually spend time with your children has now been relegated to the preserve of the wealthy, a bit like having your own helicopter.
I’m going to end with a quote from Danielle Crittenden’s book – “What our mothers didn’t tell us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman.”
“I’d like to think that an enlightened society is not one in which all its economic and cultural forces combine to encourage women to deposit their children in state crèches and walk away without a backward glance. And if I’m right, then any solution must begin with the recognition that women need help getting away from the workforce to be with their young children and not, as current advocates would have it, in subsidizing day care to free Mom to go to work to pay taxes to fund childcare.”
Labels: I'm Not A Feminist