Thursday, March 08, 2012

a woman's work is never done

way more work than I thought

happy international women's day!  i first learned about this day in 1994, when i was studying in russia. it was a big deal there. women got flowers, they dressed up, there was a celebratory parade. it was a festive day. fast forward to today - i've seen tweets and facebook updates and our newspaper's front page has a lovely photo of a royal copenhagen musselmalet plate and says "young feminists' battleground for the good life." and i kind of wonder how far we've come.

when i look around my particular corner of the blogosphere - which admittedly is a pretty big corner, covering several continents and multiple timezones - i see women wanting to do traditionally women's work - sewing, cooking, knitting, crocheting. i see them leaving high-powered jobs to stay home with their children. i don't really see anyone on the barricades, trying to bust into a boardroom. what has happened to us?

in my view, we're in need of a new paradigm. a new way of working. a new way of assessing value - of time, of work, of career. i don't think i'm the only one who no longer wants my identity to be tied to what i do for a living. maybe we as women need to take up the struggle in a new way. i'm not saying that i know exactly what i mean by that - it's more a feeling that we need to look at things from a new angle. in some sense, the women's struggle has taken the world on the male terms which are already set - demanding equal wages, equal rights, equal chances. and in many countries, we have achieved those those things.

but maybe we need a more feminine way of organizing things - less hierarchy, more intuition, more compassion, value expressed in a different way than it is today. because it seems that male way of organizing the world is showing itself to be flawed (to say the least).

so perhaps that's what we need to ponder on international women's day.


The F Girl said...

Amen. Well said.

mignon said...

i agree, especially with a feminine way of organizing things. there's so much to ponder on this day and every day about women's issues. i have spent time in kolding and horsens...i like it there ; )

will said...

Yesterday I watched Apple's new video for its new iPad ... a very slick and enticing bit of work ... but glaringly absent from the company’s gee-whiz presentation were women ... not one woman amongst the VPs and senior this and that. Shameful.

And, regarding one thing you wrote, "traditionally women's work - sewing, cooking, knitting, crocheting" ... there's a few missing traditional activities: care and feeding of farm animals, tending gardens, constant laundry, feeding work parties of men, bearing one child after another, child care, etc. etc.

Also, blogging is a bit of a luxury for working women, especially if they're also mommies, cooks, cleaners, chauffeurs, and partners with unenlightened men.

My mother once told me she had three choices when she was a teen: Marriage, becoming a schoolteacher or a nurse. She chose nursing because it offered educational benefits and a professional work environment. Certainly the social order has improved since her days but it is still far from equal. There are glass ceilings and boy’s clubs which stymie and block women from all sorts of goals.

Here in the U.S. the very fact there’s debate about contraceptives is insane. And, I have never understood why we’ve allowed a bunch of old men (in government and religions) to be the deciders of feminine health and sex issues.

And, I agree, the patriarchal model used by almost every society has, failed to improve itself as we move through time and space. Outside of a total collapse of all governments, religions and militaries … I doubt there will ever be a feminine social order. For that we suffer.

Anonymous said...

Well said. A new way of assessing value is long overdue. Good reflections on this day.

Lost Star said...

Fabulous post. Got me to thinking.

The results are here:

Can we get to establishing that new paradigm now? I think we need it before the world collapses.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Excellent observations. The man who had my job before me ran things on a military model, and loyalty (to him) was the worst sin. I went my own way and did things in ways that felt right to me, which meant that my loyalty was to them, not vice-versa. I'm retiring and gratefully hearing many things about how they've appreciated my leadership. Happy Women's Day.

rayfamily said...

Fantastic! I agree, a new paradigm & perhaps we are in fact blazing that trail :)

poet said...

I agree with you, we need to re-think what work and career and success should even mean. The ideas that we have about them today are a really recent thing and a really class-limited thing: They were shaped by the needs, desires and life paths of middle-class (and to a lesser extent working-class) men since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when "work" and "home" first became separated for a larger number of people. The devaluation of traditionally female work, like housekeeping and textile processing, was probably in part a consequence of the machination of these work sectors (let's not forget that a spinning machine and steam-powered weaving looms kicked the whole thing off!). In pre-industrial times, at least in artisan circles it wasn't unusual for husband & wife to share a trade and work together in the same workshop, which was also next to their home - not to forget agricultural work, which was done by anyone living on a farm, at that farm, regardless of their gender. I think that the virtual mobility afforded to us by the internet and the surrounding technology might enable us to fake going back there for a while, but as long as the economy stays global, factories and offices will probably not disappear again.

Unknown said...

as F girl said....Amen!

Andi said...

I agree, but I am not sure how to do that either without being dismissed as the weaker sex because we want a different approach. It is disheartening!