Skip to comments.She Gives Thanks -- American women have much to be thankful for.
Posted on 11/26/2003 6:48:48 AM PST by ReleaseTheHounds
Traditionally, Thanksgiving means work for women. Dressing the turkey, setting the table, ensuring every family member's favorite dessert is on hand sometimes it seems like a holiday where men do the thanking and women do the giving.
Nonetheless, American women should be thankful that they live in a time and place where women are thriving. By virtually every measure, American women are succeeding as never before. Women account for 56 percent of bachelor's degrees and master's degrees, and 40 percent of doctoral degrees. They also earn 41 percent of degrees in medicine and 44 percent of law degrees prestigious fields that, just a generation ago, were almost exclusively the province of men.
Women are entering the workplace in record numbers 60 percent of women are in the formal workforce today compared to just 43 percent in 1970 and are becoming leaders in the new economy. Standouts include Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay Technologies, and Carly Fiorina, president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, ranked 13th on the Fortune 500. In total, there are more than 8.5 million women-owned businesses in the United States.
The future for American women looks even brighter. Telecommuting and innovative new work arrangements, such as job sharing and flextime, promise to replace the once stark choice between working and parenting with the ability both.
Despite the good news, groups that claim to represent women often fixate on and overstate old grievances that are anachronistic in our modern world. The National Organization for (some) Women, for example, continues to call for government action to remedy gender disparities in paychecks. They claim that, on average, women make 73 cents for each man's dollar. In doing so, they ignore evidence that this disparity virtually vanishes when variables like education, occupation, age, and years of experience are taken into account. Women generally take about a decade off to care for children or elderly parents. Those men and women who work continuously are justly compensated for their extra knowledge and experience. That's not sexism; it's common sense.
There are still obstacles for American women to overcome. Confiscatory tax rates discourage married women from entering the workforce; at the same time, they push women who would rather stay home with children to work in order to pay the bills. Our health-care system remains biased in favor of employer-provided health insurance, raising costs and making it harder for women who move in and out of the workplace to obtain coverage. Burdensome regulations on business stifle job creation, and hinder flexible work arrangements that suit women's dual roles as mothers and employees. America's outdated Social Security system often shortchanges working, married women, and denies all workers the opportunity to build real wealth for retirement. Social Security reform is particularly important to women because they are less likely than men to work in jobs that offer retirement savings plans.
Still, this is not 1950. Women today enjoy choice and opportunity, both in and out of the home. Feminist organizations should stop fighting the last war; they should refocus their energies on reforming policies that limit flexibility and stifle economic progress. And they might focus more attention on our sisters overseas, in places like the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
The millions of women languishing in these regions are living testaments to how much American women have to be thankful for. In Saddam Hussein's Iraq, for instance, men who killed female relatives for the "defense of family honor" were spared prosecution and punishment. In China, women are required to use specific birth control measures and can face significant penalties when they fail to abide by birth limits. These policies have encouraged abortions, especially of female fetuses; for second births, China's ratio was 151.9 males per 100 females. In African countries like Nigeria, women found guilty of adultery may face death by stoning. Such brutality against women should remind American women that we are uncommonly fortunate in the freedoms that we enjoy.
Thanksgiving is a time for all Americans to recognize the blessings in their lives. For American women even if many will be hitting the kitchen while their husbands, brothers, and fathers hit the couch those blessings are plentiful indeed.
Carrie Lukas is director of policy at the Independent Women's Forum.
Hmmm. In my opinion, this is a blessing.
Sad, isn't it? In my opinion a success is to create a home that's a haven for my husband and daughter....the very opposite of what many people consider successful in a woman.
My favorite line, too :-)
I think the column does a superb job of examining the real status of women in America today and then exposing the factually and morally incoherent foundation of the current "womens lib" movement.
As a women thawing a turkey as we speak, I'm bookmarking this as a keeper and thank you for such a terrific post!
The hardest job of them all and yet given such little credit.... it's turning back around, though, IMHO. I read something recently about the high numbers of "career women" that increasingly and voluntarily drop their high-powered positions to stay home when they have children because they find it more fulfilling and valuable :-)
Great opportunity for women without young children and more respect in society for women who are homemakers... it's a great time to be a gal :-)
The future for American women looks even brighter. Telecommuting and innovative new work arrangements, such as job sharing and flextime, promise to replace the once stark choice between working and parenting with the ability [to do] both....
(1) There is no such thing as generic "parenting". Fathers and mothers contribute to their children's rearing in distinct ways, as God designed. Pretending otherwise is just an excuse for one or both parents to neglect their children for their careers (This project is really crucial and, besides, my spouse or the nanny or the day care center can contribute sufficient "parental" unit inputs...)
Another negative consequence of the "generic" parenting idea is that it removes any possibility for objection to children being raised by two same-sex "parents".
(2) Raising children is work; it's not the alternative to work. Good mothers have always worked hard to raise their children. Furthermore, before the modern industrial era split up the family household-centered economic unit by providing jobs in factories and other locations far from home, wives also contributed to the family's income by assisting their husbands in their work.
Still, this is not 1950. Women today enjoy choice and opportunity, both in and out of the home.
This snide aside is likewise misplaced in implying that women had neither choice nor opportunity in or outside the home in the 1950s. Why is the author giving up so much ground to the feminists by buying into their caricature of the 1950s?
Are you saying that women had the same educational and career opportunities as men in the 1950's?
As a woman and homemaker, I agree that a woman's highest priority should be as caregiver for the children and wife in the traditional role. I've put a serious dent in my career by staying home with my children. I did so joyfully and humbly and don't regret it even a tiny bit. I am pleased, though, that when they are grown and I am back working full-time that I won't have to fight tooth and nail to work as other than a nurse, teacher or secretary.
Additionally... not ALL women are mothers or mothers yet. It is not "feminist" to acknowledge and be satisfied with the fact that those women who are facing higher education and the workplace DO have expanded opportunities.
This author destroys much of the traditional myth that supports the current womens lib agenda... I think she is an asset to conservatism and am happy to see her addressing this issue :-)
"Despite the good news, groups that claim to represent women often fixate -- and overstate -- old grievances that are anachronistic in our modern world..." Now that's pitching to the NOW-crowd... ;)
"Confiscatory tax rates discourage married women from entering the workforce; at the same time, they push women who would rather stay home with children with children to work in order to pay the bills." That statement should make Jill Ireland proud, right?
"America's outdated Social Security system often shortchanges working, married women, and denies all workers the opportunity to build real wealth for retirement. Social Security reform is particularly important to women because they are less likely than men to work in jobs that offer retirement savings plans." Yeah, look for Hillary Clinton to adopt this into her campaign advertising!
Why is the author giving up so much ground to the feminists by buying into their caricature of the 1950s?
Tamsey: Are you saying that women had the same educational and career opportunities as men in the 1950's?
SLP: No. Reread the excerpt from the article, reproduced above. The language of the excerpt necessarily implicates the 1950s as a time when women enjoyed no choice at home or in the workplace. Obviously, that's historically inaccurate. Just as obviously, it's the modern feminist line.
You may say the author could have chosen her words better, and indeed she could have. But the fact that her error in word choice just happened to be one that reflects the false femist line and the fact that this error, like other errors in the article, was not caught by the editors suggests many feminist assumptions have been internalized at NRO.
You may know that by the many furrowed looks of stressed out, 'issue'-burdened, rushed, irritable and neurotic anger peering back through drive-time traffic in the SUVs rear view mirror, and legions of female "f-you"s easily issuing forth from many lips, when hoped-for galleria parking spaces don't open up.
The only child-rearing term worse than "parenting" and more supportive of the feminist agenda is "caregiving". That's because anyone, even a so-called day care teacher can give care to one's child. This concept is thoroughly modern and thoroughly radical; it has nothing to do with traditional roles. Given that, conservatives must be more careful not to use the language of the enemy and, thereby, give much ground to them.
With that in mind, I hope you are mistaken in your claim that you're a caregiver to your children; rather, I hope you are their mother.
It was extremely limited choice based entirely on gender, not intelligence or ability.
suggests many feminist assumptions have been internalized at NRO.
Yes, an equal playing field based entirely on intelligence and ability was part of the original feminist battle-cry, but it is in fact a core plank of the right-wing with regard to all groups. She simply points out that women have achieved that. I'm suprised more gents here at FR aren't applauding her article... Code Pink is probably frothing at mouth over it ;-)
Yes, I know :-) And I enjoyed the way this column makes that very point.
Oh, pish... I turned down a much desired promotion at Merrill Lynch 12 years ago when I found out I was pregnant and have been home full-time every moment since my first child was born. My entire focus since then has been on my children and I not only don't consider that a sacrifice or a technical position that even a teacher could perform, I consider my place as their full-time mother an honor and sacred gift.
Your criticizing me for using the term "caregiver" in the course of a political discussion is beyond silly... yes, I am very much their mother and thank God every day for that privilege and joy.
Yes, I'm aware of that. And the only reason YOU are not carrying a prayer rug around is because there are American men killing those that wish to make you do so. Your point?
Now, if you'll excuse me... this feminist radical's daughters are home from school now and we were looking foward to baking the pies together for the Thanksgiving feast I will take immense pleasure in cooking for extended family tomorrow ;-)
Given that this woman not only stays at home to take care of her child and her husband and home but does so willingly and proudly, your nitpicking at terminology is ridiculous to say the least. How about, damn good job?
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