"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."








Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

If there were an International Men's Day, it'd be called sexist. I get called sexist and misogynistic on occasion (only online; people who know me know better), but I believe very strongly in equality... not promotion.

In much of the world, women are considered second-class citizens, but nowhere are women more vocal about sexual discrimination (both real and perceived) than in the United States. It's men that need help in the U.S. More women than men graduate from high school. More women go to college, where they receive more grants and academic scholarships; since Title 9, they also receive more athletic scholarships. Women are more likely to graduate from college and more likely to go to graduate school. More women than men are getting degrees in the biological sciences, in chemistry, in architecture, in chemical engineering and in electrical engineering and they will soon surpass men in mechanical and civil engineering. More women are getting medical degrees than men. More women are becoming lawyers.

More women than men are employed. More women than men own their own business. More women than men own their own house. Women live longer and are more likely to have health insurance. They are far less likely to die violently or to be imprisoned. Women are less likely to be homeless for more than a year.

So, stop whining about how tough women have it in the U.S. and do something to help them where they need it.
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And now, to go from political soapbox back to objectivication, here's some of my favorite international women:






16 comments:

Colin said...

So your position is that women have achieved full equality (if not superiority) here in the US?

As the father of two daughters I'd love to believe this, but from what I've seen (in the business world particularly) women continue to face significantly more obstacles than men in getting ahead ...

SteveQ said...

Colin, it depends upon what you mean by "getting ahead." While women are more likely to be employed, they're also more likely to be underemployed; the relevance of this has been hotly debated from "mommy-tracking" to multiple part-time jobs without benefits. There's still an "old boys" network and a glass ceiling, but they're quickly eroding. I will say that black women have reached a position of superiority over black men and I think that trend will carry over to other races soon.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Evidently, people who only know you online are the ones who know better.

Xenia said...

I understand what you're saying but I disagree. Yes, women in other countries are facing far worse inequalities and that needs to be addressed asap, but it's still unequal in the US. I realize I work in a tiny field of academia, but it's still out of whack. The majority of undergrad and grad students are indeed female, but the tenured faculty positions are overwhelmingly held by men. I'd like to think that in 10-20 years it will even out, but I doubt it. Also, the birth control issue in the healthcare debate is messed up. Giving me the option to obtain affordable birth control is bad, but let's not infringe upon men's right to get viagra. Double standard much?

I hope you understand I'm not attacking you, Steve, or blaming you for the state of the situation. I'm just saying my piece.

Olga said...

Feminism had gotten out of hands here, and so are complains of women and other groups. My husband says that the real minority is "single white male", because there are no special considerations offered for them. Everybody else can sue for whatever they want to. Screw that! I still like this holiday, more so than V-day. Nothing to do with socialism or equality (screw that), just kind of sweet. In a meantime, with all the sexual harassment cases, men are petrified to whisper a compliment and we are all middle gender now. Why would I want that?

sea legs girl said...

Things will not be equal between the sexes in the US until men and women take equal reponsibity for unintended pregnancies - or there is a huge change in the culture of sex ed, abortion, birth control, etc. Single moms fight an uphill battle. Don't even get me started onthe cost of good quality day care. Things may be equal among highly educated men and women, but there are a lot of women who have never had the chance to get that education due to the above reason.

Alene Gone Bad said...

I find your post intriguing, and not just because this week Rush Limbaugh happens to be under the microscope again for his latest misogynistic barrage. If, as you say, men are the ones struggling in the U.S., my qestion to you is, Why? Why are men struggling? Is it really because women have asserted themselves for equal treatment for so long? Or is it something else that's causing men to struggle? I wonder about a sense of entitlement- to have been the dominant group for so long, and seeing that slowly erode with more and more "minority" groups standing up for equal treatment- I think that white, Christian, straight, working and middle class men in the US feel like they are always ending up giving up something. But then I don't know, and it would be arrogant for me to assume that men feel any particular way having never walked in their shoes or having lived in their lives. I am a minority in this country on several counts- I belong to several "groups"- and and I cannot presume to know the experience of someone belonging to another group. Just like as a nurse treating patients with cancer, I cannot presume to know how they feel, no matter how many of them I see, because I've never had cancer. I would prefer that we treat each other as human beings, recognizing that we do have differences, but that we all belpng to the same human species and afford each other the respect of which we are all worthy. If we stop looking at resources as "mine" and start seeing them as "ours", that we bear responsibility for the well-being of all of our fellow human beings, we might be able to rid ourselves of this sense of entitlement, which leads to things like war, hunger, assault, economic injustices, and many of the other things that continue to happen because of the "mine" vs. "yours","us" vs. "them", superior vs. inferior, and other divisive mentalities. Just my 2 cents...

pensive pumpkin said...

Totally agree with your underemployment comment. I think a lot of that has to do with the men who are (still) in charge assuming that every woman will eventually BE on the Mommy track.

I have no children. I will have no children. Yet men in positions of power assume that I just haven't been "baby crazy" yet and one day I will abandon my career in favor of changing diapers. So they don't want to "waste time" hiring/training/promoting me. I've dealt with it over and over. I dealt with it so long as a woman who did not want children that I eventually said screw it and ended up in fertility treatment. Give them what they want, maybe they'll shut up. Thank God that didn't work.

But I don't play well with others. Hence being self employed.

Still, bitching about needing to be self employed beats the hell out of genital mutilation, human trafficking, and being considered chattels elsewhere. I was lucky to be born in this body in this country in this time. No doubt.

And frankly, I like men better than women anyway. Even if I do want to hold them down for a change and see how they like it.

Karen said...

I think the same thing can be said for affirmative action with employment and universities. I think we've gone too far to be politically correct and equal that we've pushed it too far. The white male is most discriminated against. I wonder when they'll start some kind of program to lessen discrimination against him.

Xenia, I was flipping through the TV channels one night and found some old guy on Fox News (I know, shame on me) complaining about the college student demanding that her birth control being covered and thought the same thing as you. I even told my husband, "But we're expected to pay for his Viagra so he can have sex? Really?!" I'm not very political, but you should've seen how I was screaming at the TV that night. Hubs thought I was gonna have a meltdown. :)

wildknits said...

Okay, I'll bite.

Interesting position, Steve.

I would have to say that it feels like a bit of a backlash by a population group that is used to having it their way and now has to share a limited resource (money/power/jobs/education).

I have to agree that when all individuals are held to the same standards and responsibilities then we might have achieved equality.

Systems like homeostasis. The things you point out may very well just be a shift that will balance out.

I am not sure where you are getting your data though as I can not say - anecdotally - that I have seen this shift to more women in athletics/medical school/etc. At least in this region.

wildknits said...

http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/

A well written post regarding International Women's Day and choice.

SteveQ said...

Lots of good points and nothing I disagree with. There isn't space here to go into the sociobiological reasoning I used. Perhaps another post is in order (after all, I only lost one follower).

SteveQ said...

@Xenia: The ratio of male to female tenured faculty will depend upon the nationalities of the staff. I don't know how it is in your field, but in engineering and biological sciences, it's becoming a very asian world and their values are coming with them.

SteveQ said...

@Alene: I hope that's the only time I'm ever mentioned in the same sentence as Rush Limbaugh! I'm extremely liberal in my politics. I think we have many more safeguards for women than we do for men - and, frankly, I think it's a necessity of civilization that we do - we simply do not allow women to fail. Things are equal for men and women who have money and opportunities, but harder for men who don't, because we expect them to take care of themselves, even when they can't. The colder the night in Minneapolis, the more men show up at homeless shelters, where the women outnumber them and only the men get turned away (usually for drunkenness; the drunk women get hospitalized or put in the drunk tank). We have food programs like WIC ("women infants children"), where a single father could get food for his children but not himself (this admittedly has changed). While we measure the average incomes of genders, we don't count those who died too young or those institutionalized, which are heavily male.

The rich are killing the poor. They're just killing the men first.

SteveQ said...

@pensive pumpkin: I like women more than men, even when they don't play well with others. Maybe especially then.

SteveQ said...

@Wildknits: I am not part of "the powers that be" backlashing. Far from it. One has to have something to lose it.

The statements I used were, admittedly, carefully chosen to make a point. People choose which facts (or "facts?") they notice or ignore, depending upon preconceived notions. I wanted to point out it's not all doom and gloom for women everywhere all the time.