Friday, February 10, 2006

The Mommy Wars

Much has been written about the mommy wars. But I always felt that the media debate was heavily skewed towards the experiences of upper and upper middle class white women. The NYTimes finally decided to take a tiny step towards rectifying this imbalance by publishing this.

I highly recommend reading The Second Shift for the way it covers the both the lives of the women working at an unnamed Fortune 500 company and the lives of the (mostly) immigrant women who take over the "women's work" that frees up the first group to pursue their privileged careers. Global Woman shows how little has changed in terms of the expectations placed upon professional women both at work and in the home. The care deficit needs to be made up somehow and globalization provides a low resistance path.

One point that is not discussed much is the obligation that women in traditionally male occupations feel to not let down the women coming up after them. Throughout my education, I heard comments about how so and so (professors) had a point in not supporting female graduate students because women were going to quit science anyway when they had kids. Thus, scarce resources were preserved for men who would presumably stay in science. Therefore, if we quit, then we will prove those people right and make it more difficult for younger women.

The NYTimes article quotes an educator who put it eloquently,
"Your journey is not just about you," Ms. Luckett said to the two dozen women, aged 19 to 85. "It's about adding to the journey of those who came before you and paving a way for the journeys after yours."

keywords: feminism, sociology, women in science

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