Women Must Work!

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.”

“Daddy, Daddy.”

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?

Advertisement

A SOAP-BOX and A POEM

God. It’s all so one-sided. Generally, we are careful not to offend those who believe in a religion, but shouldn’t that work both ways? I get very annoyed when someone asks me if I believe in god – as if god was a given, and you either believed in “him” or not. For me, there is no god or goddess or godhead to be believed in or otherwise and when I give this answer I get two different reactions:

Some people become defensive and really angry and begin to harangue you with arguments to prove the fact of a god; they tell you that one day you will know the truth and that they feel sorry for you. They tell you to look around you, at the wonders of nature, the intricacies of the human body etc.  

Or, they pretend to be amused; they wag a finger at you and laugh and say that god has not forgotten you; worst of all – they promise to pray for you. Their arrogance and complaisance and condescension, their bigotry and utter stupidity is incredible. and it never occurs to them that they might give offence. As my father used to say about these people – they’re as well raving there as in bed.

All the same, when I was a child I did have faith and here is my nostalgic poem:

THERE WAS A TIME 

In the dim, silent church

A glow of votive lamps

Fluttering blue and gold and red

Whispered prayers in corner shrines

Beneath the outstretched hands

Of painted saints

Beads clicking, slowly told

Sundays burst in glory

Sweet choir lifting voice

The Truth sang in my mouth

I filled my eyes with bright

And lustrous threads

The golden flame of candles

Veiling mysteries at the altar

The heavy scent of flowers

Inhaled security

And a weightless peace

In certain knowledge of hereafter

Our hearts were warm, absolved

Beloved of our maker

And safe in the house of God.