Mary Wollstonecraft wrote “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” setting out a practical basis for extending human and political rights to women.
Sojourner Truth – an African American woman born into slavery, made a famous speech in 1851 – “Ain’t I a woman?” A white man said to her that women were inferior because Christ was a man! Such idiocy. You’d think those days were long gone, wouldn’t you? But they’re not.
Elizabeth Blackwell 1821 – 1910 was the first American woman to become a doctor, and we all know of Marie Curie and Helen Keller. But wonderful as these women were, they were only a few.
Someone de Beauvoir wrote the wonderful and fascinating book, “The Second Sex”. All girls and women should read this book. It certainly opened my eyes.
How much has the world lost because women learned to sew and sing? To bring forth children; to care and love and bow their heads; to cook and clean and iron? How many frustrated brains wearied of the struggle to be heard? Their opinions scorned; indeed forbidden, their menfolk outraged if opposed.
Women who could have been great healers, artists, musicians, scientists, were all lost to the world and posterity. So, women must work, develop their talents, contribute to the world, live their lives.
But . . . children, and this is a big but! What about the babies, the small ones who cling to mother? All children go through separation anxiety at some stage during their early months. I live beside a creche – I’m sure it’s a good creche, but every morning around 8.00 the children start to arrive. Some of them don’t want to go in. I hear their cries, on and on and on . . .
“I don’t want to. I don’t want to.”
It seems a lot of fathers have the job of leaving them at the creche. You wouldn’t know who to feel sorrier for; it must take a heavy toll on them. Later in the morning there are only happy sounds. There are swings and slides and bikes and scooters, and several minders. The 3 and 4 year olds are perfectly happy to be there. But there are babies inside, who never get out for air, aged from 6 to 18 months. They are rarely seen, too small to be risked in the play area. Very occasionally the babies are wheeled out and around for a short while.
From 5.30 parents begin to arrive to collect them. Some of them are still there at 6.30.
Women must work, so is there an answer? For society this is the conundrum. Women will always be on the back foot until the structure of society changes completely. It needs to be deconstructed completely. All workplaces should have creches; all workplaces should have facilities for breast-feeding women, or women going through the menopause who need a break, or women with severe period pains. The workplace should encompass and accommodate all, women and children as well as men. Otherwise we will continue with guilty, overworked mothers, children with attachment issues, and men who don’t know how to solve the problem.
Any solutions? Anyone?