Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Support to Women at Work

Ivan Illyich in his book "Gender" looks at the way gender neutralisation could damage the cause of women's quest for social and political equality. The book demands that women should protect their rights at work in such a way that the biological functions of conceiving, rearing and nurturing are not put in danger. For the last three decades, the State has ensured that the working woman should be protected. And it is this that allows the recent court ruling on the presence of creches in the workplace to be so much in keeping with the humanitarian quest of freedom and human rights for men and women at the work place.
It is singularly embarrassing to read a  piece on men and women's aspirations drawing from a four decade study conducted by Vanderbilt Peabody College, USA. The essay is titled "Defining Success Differently", by Kuruvilla Pandikattu, Financial Chronicle Tuesday, January, 2015.  To quote him, or the findings of the study "Men valued full-time work, making an impact and earning a high income. Women as a group valued part-time work and cherished community, family involvement, time for close relationships and community service."
So true, so true, we might all say. It also means that equal opportunities in school and being equally talented does not culminate in the same occupational drives or attainments for men and women. The women in the study became "generally employed in general business, elementary and secondary education, and health care or were home makers".

The unspoken matrix of women's education, their ambitions and achievements is made possible only if institutions and their families support them. In the late 1970s, the women activists who supported Adult Education, and Universities associated with them in Manchester, argued that Feminism needed the support of men. Clearly, Socialism and Feminism had a long history of mutual support, and History Workshop Journal (HWJ) chronicles the way in which inspite of this known history, the women still had to withstand the protests and laughter of their men comrades when they wanted a Feminism conference. But the men did turn up and took care of the children while work on this was proceeding.
Here's hoping that multinational stakes in  rapid industrialisation does not create the Good Wife fallacy of the 1950s in America. It could be the stuff of a new form of socialisation, more dread than the  Haryana rhetoric that women are invisible, women are non-existent in public spaces, the  uniform rhetoric that comes up when they are routinely hidden away for one reason or another, or plaster moulded into some societal hegemonic injunction to be what men want women to be.

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