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Its not just a matter of rights....

(51 Posts)
Ava5 Mon 08-May-17 16:22:29

...but of also of burdens and safety. On paper, Western women have had equal rights since the 60s, but it's the unequal burdens and unequal physical safety from the violence of the other sex that really weigh them down.

It's good reasoning againsnt all those yelling: "But women already have equal rights! No need for feminism anymore!"

BMacklin Wed 10-May-17 07:33:11

It's the word "equal" which is troublesome. I'm not equal to my husband because I have periods and carried a child and breastfed. All of which he can't do. It is MY biology alone. Making us equal doesn't make sense and isn't necessarily fair. I need protections as a woman that men don't need. I'm not sure what the correct word should be.

BMacklin Wed 10-May-17 07:50:42

Or maybe it's correct but a misuse of the term. I'm equal as a human and deserve medical treatment and care on equal grounds. I.e a man having a heart attack shouldn't have more care than a woman giving birth.

Women should be paid the equal amount for the same job as a man.

Our interest in an issue should be treated equally NOT that we have equal interests in an issue.

Datun Wed 10-May-17 08:53:11

It's all a bit of a minefield talking about equality, in my opinion. The system is not set up for equality.

The way we work, office hours, school hours, etc, forces inequality.

Any father who achieves a position of power could never have done it without someone at home raising the family.

It's more common obviously now for both parents to work. But if they both want highflying careers, they will have to pay someone else to raise the children.

Culturally we just don't accept that women having a highflying career with a stay at home dad, as being the norm. It's bucking the system.

Raising a family is massively undervalued in terms of the current system.

How many CEOs regularly leave the office at 3pm to pick up the kids, go to a recital, etc?

I'm not sure what the answer is.
Because change would have to be radical.

Until more women are in positions of power, they won't be able to alter the lot of women in general. And it's hard for women to get into positions of power because of their lot.

FlaviaAlbia Wed 10-May-17 08:57:02

And even when both parents work and pay for child care, that tends to be provided by women mainly, on low wages to make it affordable...

Elanetical Wed 10-May-17 09:00:36

For me it's about two things:

- Equality. To say we have equality is bollocks. Why is the world still run by men then? Why are women still paid less? Partly because the rules are broken then not enforced, and partly because of an equity issue

- Equity. Like the video game analogy, not everyone starts the game of life on an equal footing. Achieving equality necessitates taking this starting point into account. So, for women, it means using more than half the available resources to fix issues that are female-centred or female-dominated - domestic violence, the disproportionate impact on women on health and livelihood that comes with parenthood, the impact of unconscious bias on things like hiring and so on

Datun Wed 10-May-17 09:12:17


Exactly. Personally I don't think paying someone to raise your children is the best option. For the reason you stated (it still reinforces the system) and because I think a family member is preferable, if possible.

I've been giving it some thought, but I always get stuck.

Grandparents are an option. But then why should grandparents spend their twilight years raising more children 24/7, instead of joining the National Trust/playing golf?

In my head, I see a massive overhaul. Stop business trips that take three days for one meeting. Make better use of technology (Skype, conference calls). Get rid of the drinks after work/business dinners assumption.

Better use of flexitime, job sharing.

But I see all these as merely concessions to the system. A minor tweak that might help a few people.

Globally, everyone accepts the current infrastructure.

I struggle to see a way around it. It requires more vision than I'm capable of!

Elanetical Wed 10-May-17 09:19:30

Datun, I think the problem partly centres around the work model. Other countries, e.g. in Scandinavia, have cultures that are far more pro work/life balance and this lends itself to seeing child-rearing as central rather than as an inconvenient add-on that must work around paid employment.

Making things more affordable would help too! But that's a bit of a pipe dream. I do wonder what would happen if we dramatically limited advertising. Companies wouldn't need to sustain massive marketing machines, stock turns would be reduced, people wouldn't feel the need to constantly consume...

Datun Wed 10-May-17 09:38:03


Yes the work/life balance there seems to be a bit of a 'national pride'. It's fantastic. It's getting the attention it needs.

Finishing work on the dot of 5pm should be seen as wholly necessary, not a cop-out. Or finishing at 3 PM and putting in an extra few hours after the kids go to bed.

I don't know enough about economics. So I always wonder if these things are pie in the sky.

I do know that working every hour God sends until you conk out of a heart attack when you're 50, is positively encouraged. But maybe that's changing.

FlaviaAlbia Wed 10-May-17 09:42:05

I would love a massive shake up of the career type jobs expectations of 9-5 so if parents could manage on one wage so they could both work part time and split things evenly...

Elanetical Wed 10-May-17 09:48:04

It would be brilliant if we didn't all feel the need to work constantly. It's such a pointless Sisyphean exercise committing so many hours to it anyway - work just creates more work, it never ends. The economic machine can happily move more slowly and no one suffers other than those at the very top. Increasingly my peers (30s/40s) are looking for ways to check out of the rat race and slow down.

I hope that this is a chicken and egg thing. What I mean by that - the people at the top (companies etc) are very much still of the old model. Men who have every single thing at home done for them by wives who do not work. In companies where this is no longer the case, e.g. the CEO makes sure he goes to school sports day or whatever, there is a trickle down effect.

It's one of the reasons I support quotas in the short term. When you get genuine diversity at senior levels, the established ways get properly questioned.

Datun Thu 11-May-17 07:18:40

It's one of the reasons I support quotas in the short term. When you get genuine diversity at senior levels, the established ways get properly questioned.

Same here. I used to be a little on the fence about it. Thinking that a meritocracy worked.

When you have a 50-50 split at the top. Then it might. Because the system will have changed to accommodate women/child care. So women will get a fairer crack of the whip.

NoLoveofMine Thu 11-May-17 18:51:37

Personally I don't think paying someone to raise your children is the best option.

I don't like this choice of phrase though it may not have been meant as I took it. My parents have both always worked (except when my mum's taken the maternity leave she's entitled to) and both have very successful careers. They did pay for a nanny but she didn't "raise" my brothers or I. My parents did/are doing. My parents have always been present and fantastic, supportive and there when I need them. I'd also add that the nannies I've had were paid fairly and are still friends with my parents, coming round for dinner and so forth.

I agree about the need for more flexible working hours and a complete shift in culture. I've actually read of a few major firms shifting (very slowly) towards this, largely due to the increase in the number of women attaining high positions at them (Deloitte and PWC for example). However, there's probably a level above which this stalls - I've heard of a few women at the top level who work more flexibly but very much the exception I'm sure. The expectation of working every hour you possibly can is bad for everyone, women and men, with or without children, I think. I want to succeed in my career when I embark upon it, but I don't want to be expected to do nothing but work to do so.

I also completely agree on quotas. They're not so women get jobs for being women, but to stop men getting jobs for being men. Brilliant women far more able than their competitors are often passed over for promotion for mediocre men (I know I have no personal knowledge of this but I've read of it a lot). A quote on this I like: "Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult."

NoLoveofMine Thu 11-May-17 18:56:56

There are also statistics that show whatever the set up at home, women always end up doing most of the household chores. So whilst most men who reach the top of business have, as has been said, women who stay at home and do absolutely everything, even women who are high flying in their careers are ending up going home and doing most of the work which needs doing there. It's only a tiny number of women who have husbands who stay at home. This also needs a cultural shift; despite so many women thriving in the workplace, we're still perpetuating those outdated roles, which are in turn being learnt and adopted by children, I think.

Sorry these messages are disjointed!

DJBaggySmalls Thu 11-May-17 18:58:45

I take 'equality' to mean 'equal respect, in respect of our differences'. We do not get treated with equal respect.
Thats why we need quotas. The current system allows people to claim all candidates are selected on merit.
It also deals with the vacuous MRA claim that 'equal' actual means 'identical, the same'.

Datun Thu 11-May-17 19:07:17

Personally I don't think paying someone to raise your children is the best option.

"I don't like this choice of phrase though it may not have been meant as I took it".

I standby it, NoLoveofMine.

There are some people who can afford top-notch childcare. Many parents will still have time to invest in their children.

But, for others, it's often still a make do and mend approach. You frequently end up with the wife working part time, and using a mix of grandparents, favours from friends or other parents, and childminders to make it work.

It's not that I think a dedicated nanny/housekeeper isn't worth their weight in gold. I do.

But most people just have to scrabble around and do the best they can.

Which is why I don't think a system that relies on other people to do the 'wife work' should be in place.

NoLoveofMine Thu 11-May-17 19:27:44

Which is why I don't think a system that relies on other people to do the 'wife work' should be in place.

I agree, was probably just a bit over sensitive and wrongly took it personally as I know how committed and supportive my parents are. Also that work in the home is still seen it as "wife work" by so many needs to change. We need more flexibility in workplaces for everyone, not least parents. Another benefit of more women (especially mothers in my opinion) attaining positions of power influence would be potentially bringing this outlook to workplaces I think, as would a general shift in culture, facilitating fathers to be primary carers for their children, not expecting someone to spend every waking hour working to succeed in certain professions etc. Sorry again I'm not articulating this too well!

BMacklin Thu 11-May-17 20:45:07

I used to be against quotas but I'm beginning to feel the world has had long enough time to let people get to the top based on merit -and it doesn't happen.

Datun Thu 11-May-17 20:46:17

You know what NoLoveofMine?

Here is something I have noticed about you, over the last six months or so:

First of all your mastery of feminism is impressive. You totally get it.

Secondly, you're an idealist. Which I admire. And you can usually back it up.

Thirdly, you have absolutely no hesitation in ceding a point.

I know you sometimes get a hard time because you are very passionate and people sometimes see passion without experience.

Which is true.

And I have no doubt that your future experience will make you even more convicted, whilst tempering your understanding with empathy.

Please, go into politics. Strength of character such as you display, at such a young age, will be invaluable.

Life experience will knock a few corners off, as it does for everyone.

But, personally, the woman I envisage emerging will be formidable.

SylviaPoe Thu 11-May-17 21:07:34

OP, on paper women haven't had all their rights since the sixties, and violence against women is contrary to their rights.

Consider these rights, for example:
Article 2, that the government must...

(f) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which
constitute discrimination against women;

or article six...

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.

NoLoveofMine Thu 11-May-17 21:16:18

Thank you very much for your fantastic words Datun. They're so heartening for me to read and it means a great deal that a wonderful feminist like yourself feels that way. Being able to post and read the thoughts of other women here helps me understand and explore feminism a great deal. I'm definitely an idealist and can see how I can come across badly or rudely sometimes (though I don't want to), as you say it is down to passion but I need to work on that (and maybe taking too much personally in terms of feminist topics).

I definitely hope I can carry on learning and solidifying my feminism, which being on here helps me do. Politics would be an interesting potential path!

Thank you again for your kind words!

Xenophile Thu 11-May-17 21:31:44

On paper women do have equal rights under the law. However this doesn't mean we have anything approaching equality. In the same way as PoC have equal rights under the law, but I don't think there's anyone sensible who would suggest that we've got rid of racism.

And yes NoLove, we've locked horns, but you are a real asset here.

NoLoveofMine Thu 11-May-17 21:49:28

Thank you Xenophile.

Very much so regarding the law. It means women ostensibly have equality, yet so many of the barriers to that being the case in reality remain. Equality under a patriarchal law doesn't actually lead to equality.

There are also ways in which the law doesn't even afford women equality in practice even though it's written in a way which suggests it does; one which springs to mind is that on high heels at work. I believe due to the government declining to take action on it, employers can still insist women wear them as long as it's "considered a job requirement" and men are required to dress at an "equivalent level of smartness" ("equivalent", of course, not being remotely the same/equal).

SylviaPoe Thu 11-May-17 22:10:17

Giving rights to women (and these weren't written internationally until 1979) isn't a process of putting laws in place and then saying equality has been achieved by the law existing.

The purpose of putting the rights in place is so that there is a legal obligation for governments to continually work at improving the well being of women.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 12-May-17 01:46:38

Personally I don't think paying someone to raise your children is the best option

Personally I am puzzled why you think a mother who works is paying someone to raise her children. My son was raised my me and his father - his nannies looked after him when we're at work.

Once he started school were his teachers raising him?

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