Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:31 PM
UnrepentantLiberal (11,700 posts)
Why Gender Equality Stalled
By STEPHANIE COONTZ
The New York Times
February 16, 2013
THIS week is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s international best seller, “The Feminine Mystique,” which has been widely credited with igniting the women’s movement of the 1960s. Readers who return to this feminist classic today are often puzzled by the absence of concrete political proposals to change the status of women. But “The Feminine Mystique” had the impact it did because it focused on transforming women’s personal consciousness.
In 1963, most Americans did not yet believe that gender equality was possible or even desirable. Conventional wisdom held that a woman could not pursue a career and still be a fulfilled wife or successful mother. Normal women, psychiatrists proclaimed, renounced all aspirations outside the home to meet their feminine need for dependence. In 1962, more than two-thirds of the women surveyed by University of Michigan researchers agreed that most important family decisions “should be made by the man of the house.”
It was in this context that Friedan set out to transform the attitudes of women. Arguing that “the personal is political,” feminists urged women to challenge the assumption, at work and at home, that women should always be the ones who make the coffee, watch over the children, pick up after men and serve the meals.
Over the next 30 years this emphasis on equalizing gender roles at home as well as at work produced a revolutionary transformation in Americans’ attitudes. It was not instant. As late as 1977, two-thirds of Americans believed that it was “much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes care of the home and family.” By 1994, two-thirds of Americans rejected this notion.
1 replies, 1362 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Why Gender Equality Stalled (Original post)
|Gormy Cuss||Feb 2013||#1|
Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)
Mon Feb 18, 2013, 03:01 PM
Gormy Cuss (30,858 posts)
1. Really interesting opinion piece.
This really resonates with me:
Other feminists worried that the equation of feminism with an individual woman’s choice to opt out of the work force undermined the movement’s commitment to a larger vision of gender equity and justice. Joan Williams, the founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, argued that defining feminism as giving mothers the choice to stay home assumes that their partners have the responsibility to support them, and thus denies choice to fathers. The political theorist Lori Marso noted that emphasizing personal choice ignores the millions of women without a partner who can support them.