Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What are women for?

I have quit weeping sniveling and am busily doing research and gathering materials for our big meeting with the school officials in two weeks. I am aghast at the number of "experts" that have suggested that I quit work and home school. Not one suggested that my husband do the same.

She is a girl. I, too, was a girl, full of idealism and spatial skills that rarely occur in nature, much less in the same person. ;-) Through much effort and expense, I trained for my dream career, performing environmental science research in the public interest.

Like I wrote in The Mommy Wars,
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.
While I was ill last month, I watched Raise the Red Lantern. Read a description of the movie and the criticism about 'Confusion Ethics' here. The wives depicted in the movie have value only as bearers of male children.

What was the point of educating me if I were to quit (paid, market) work now? What is the point of educating my daughter? Why go through this charade cycle if our only value to society is when we bear a male child/future worker? (Hopefully, one that shares our spatial and analytical reasoning skills.)


  1. Not to mention, how healthy is it exactly for a child to feel as if their parent's life is entirely focused on theirs? To me, there's something unnatural and weird about that.

    And yes, it's always the mother, isn't it, who people are suggesting should stay home and home-school.

  2. Anonymous07:37

    You know, even if you wanted to be a stay-at-home mom until your kids are teenagers, the *most* it could be is half your working life. That whole "mommy track" thing is such a lie - what, taking 2 or 5 years (or 10 hours a week for 10 years out of 40) makes the other 3 full, fulltime decades irrelevant? "It's not sexism, it's just those women choosing to have kids." Whatever.

    I looked so hard for a part-time job with benefits, and it's just about impossible to find - when I stayed home & my boyfriend worked 70 hours a week, we had plenty of money and both had health benefits. But if we both worked 35 hours a week we'd make less money and neither of us have health insurance. How is that helpful for women, men, kids, or employers?

  3. Anonymous08:44

    I've always felt one of the most important things I should impart/teach my daughter is to have a good work ethic and to be independent. I think I'm setting a better example for her by not being a woman who relies fully on a husband's salary. Hope this doesn't offend anyone..

  4. The whole working part-time thing really bothers me. I hate, hate, hate being ranked lower at work because I 'lack commitment' to the mission. The whole reason I went to a part-time schedule was because my husband travels so much for 'the mission'. I work plenty hard for 'the mission', even when I am not at the office.

    Plus, my husband stopped doing housework because I 'only work part-time'. That it took years of negotiation and nagging to get him to (only partially) see the unfairness of his behavior rankles.

    Meanwhile, the gap between our incomes has grown into a yawning crevasse.

    I still don't see why men with wives and children earn more, while women with husbands and children earn less. We work so much harder for society. Why are we valued so little?

  5. BTW, by part-time, I mean I work 36 hours per week.


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