Tag Archives: advocacy

The Mommy Tax

There is a podcast I’ve been aware of for some time, Stuff Mom Never Told You, that is fabulous but I’ve never been what you might call a religious listener. The amount of fabulous content created by the creators of the podcast was so immense that I felt overwhelmed and never really dove in. But, the show has two new hosts so I thought this would be a good time to start tuning in.

The Mommy Tax, which “aired” on May 19, 2017, was just excellent and I wanted to respond at length so I felt that my weekly post would be the best way to do that. Emilie and Bridget  do a really excellent job of giving the perspective we need to understand that women have been penalized professionally for having children for a really long time. Either we couldn’t have careers because we had to care for the children, or we can have careers but it’s not “a good move.” But, having children is a really solid career move for men, who enjoy higher rates of promotions and more raises particularly when they are working hard to be involved dads.

I will stop for a second here to say that I am a white, cis-gendered woman pursuing a M.A.. My husband already has a graduate level degree. We both have really good jobs (him in county administration, me in higher education) and our children reap the benefits associated with having college educated parents. I am not down on anyone for getting a promotion or a raise. Nor am I particularly concerned about my financial well-being as a result of my lower societal status as a woman. This is a very privileged place to be.

This is a very privileged place to be.

More than anything, and why I think it’s important to advocate for equal pay for equal work, flexible work schedules, subsidized quality child care, and a whole host of other things is for my sisters who are single parents or parenting in a same-sex relationship.

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In the course of the podcast, and what I really wanted to talk about, is something Emilie asked. She asks, at one point, what would make the working day easier for working moms. I want to extend that to working parents, because increasingly we see new parents being more equal partners when it comes to parenting.

What would make my time as a working parent a whole lot easier in the short term would be a flexible working day. My dream day is six hours in the office, two hours at home. I bet you have some kind of combo that would make your day, or week, a lot easier. Something else that would make a ton of difference to me would be on-site daycare. I work at a university with an early childhood education program and it makes a whole lot of sense to me that we would capitalize (for lack of a better word) on that program to provide parents with child care and students with a required practicum experience. Heck, how awesome would it be if it was an option for parents who work there to pay for it through a payroll deduction? One less bill to have to worry about paying! Finally, what would help so much is if women who are already in those C-level positions and higher could let go of the mentality that because they got to where they were the hard way the rest of us have to as well. Women, support each other!

I just have to end by encouraging you to listen to Stuff Mom Never Told You. There is a lot of phenomenal content, you’ll learn something new and feel inspired with every episode.

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Woman Identified Woman

Several months ago I read The Woman Identified Woman by the Radicalesbians.  You can find the complete text here.  It was written in 1970 by this group Radicalesbians.  We don’t know who specifically wrote it.  A huge part of this is because it was a group effort.  Another part was because many members of the group values their anonymity.

There has been a particular passage from this piece that has been on my mind lately and was really brought into focus when I read this article by Hugo Schwyzer.  Schwyzer is talking about the need for male plus-sized models.  In The Woman Identified Woman the passage I have been thinking about is this,

It should first be understood that lesbianism, like male homosexuality, is a category of behavior possible only in a sexist society characterized by rigid sex roles and dominated by male supremacy. Those sex roles dehumanize women by defining us as a supportive/serving caste in relation to the master caste of men, and emotionally cripple men by demanding that they be alienated from their own bodies and emotions in order to perform their economic/political/military functions effectively.

When we read this in class my comment was that I appreciated that the Radicalesbians had identified that these rigid sex roles hurt men too.  We often talk about how harmful patriarchy is to women but not about how it is harmful to men as well.  The reaction of my instructor was, in essence, why should we care about men?  Why do the men always have to be included?  Can’t we only talk about women for a while?  Men have been dominating for hundreds of years.

I have been considering these questions for the last several months.  Why do the men always have to be included?  Finally I realized that the answer was actually quite simple.  Men need to be included in the “women’s movement” because we are all being hurt by the same things. Patriarchy is great for the head honcho’s out there.  It is basically horrible for everyone else.  Women are not trying to elevate themselves at the expense of men. We are trying to be partners!  But we can’t be partners if we’re not in it together from the beginning.

So, let’s stop contributing to the system that is emotionally crippling men and women.  Let’s stop talking about who has it worse.  We need to work together for a better world.  This isn’t a pissing contest, this is a partnership.

Looking ahead

Isn’t it funny how one comment can completely distract you from what you ought to be doing?

About ten minutes ago I was wrapping up my “Twittering” after beginning a brief discussion with a fellow self-published author.  His tweet was “I’d rather people be reading my novels 100 years from now than to get rich off them in my lifetime.”   I said that I felt the same way but that I hoped the issues I write about won’t be relevant in 100 years.   He asked what issues I wrote about and I said “My novella is about a young woman recovering from rape. I hope nobody ever has to deal with that.”

It’s his response to this statement that prompted me to drop my homework (which I was just getting started on) and write about what he said.  He said, “I’m sure rape will be around as long as men and women are around.”

Just let that sink in for a minute.

“I’m sure rape will be around as long as men and women are around.”

Now, I can definitely relate to Nellie Forbush in South Pacific when she sings her heart out, “I’m stuck, like a dope, on a thing called hope and I can’t get it out of my heart!”  However, I don’t think it’s my “cockeyed” optimism that makes me think that this statement is completely untrue.  I cannot believe that there will be such intense disrespect for others until the end of time.  I feel that we are getting better all the time.

Look at SlutWalk and all the change that is making. Look at the uproar against Rush Limbaugh for his inflammatory, disrespectful, and untrue statements about Sandra Fluke.  Everywhere there are changes being made that make our society a better place to be.

Finally, I believe that with attitudes like the one I’m talking about here, rape will be around forever. If you think it’s always going to be around why would you do anything to change it?

When 30% of the population are victims of rape and slightly over half of that number is women, odds are good that you know somebody who has been raped.

So, despite these attitudes, I am confident that rape will not be around forever.  People simply need to understand that it is not about sex, it is about power.  Rape is about view someone as less than human.  If we can accept each other as liberated and free-thinking individuals rape will stop.