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Reply #151: I think it is American (but not exclusively) [View All]

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Spike89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-09-09 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #115
151. I think it is American (but not exclusively)
I really believe the social upheavals of the last century are still reverberating. It a huge social change to go from a primarily agrarian/rural norm where large families were economic boons and most jobs were muscle/sweat based to a modern urban lifestyle where kids are expenses, not assets (financially) and most jobs, even so called menial ones, are not based on muscle power.

These are often overlooked factors in the gender/job discussions. I know it is accepted that men "ruled" women and kept them down through history until women got fed up and began fighting in the 60s and 70s, but accepted isn't always right. The truth is that effective and available birth control, along with mechanization set the stage. Society (yes, men and women) was slow to change as it always is. People tend to expect and pursue a family structure similar to what they experienced. It took generations after large families had mostly lost their advantage before people even tried to limit the number of children. It also took a long time after it was neccessary to get used to women working outside the home.

We've been struggling to make adjustments to these things. There isn't a blueprint for social change (and really, no coherent or widely agreed upon paths). I firmly believe that women need and deserve opportunities to enter every professional field. More than that, they have needed (and still need in too many fields) affirmative action to break into traditionally male areas.

However, we also tend to try to fix things that are fixed (or well on their way to being fixed). For instance, we noticed that men dominated higher education and got more college degrees. By the time we launched programs to encourage women academically, women were already beginning to dominate in schools and colleges.

We forget that telling a senior in high school "OK, now young women can get engineering degrees" is pretty pointless if she spent her entire 12 years until then believing that marriage or maybe the steno pool were her choices. Telling a 1st grader the same information can make a huge difference, but of course, you won't know that for 12 years.

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