Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gender Inequality

I am taking a class called "Global Gender Inequality," and we are currently reading a book about immigrant domestic and sex workers in the global eye. Before this class, I still thought that the inequality in the United States was appalling, but it is much much worse in other places. And there are good steps we have made in the US. For instance, I consider my career as important as my future husband. But the price of female equality (at least in terms of occupation) is rarely discussed. For if both the man and the woman are working full-time, who is going to take care of the kids? Who is going to cook and clean?

One solution to this is to do as much as you can yourself. Once the kids are in school, you can find them a few hours of after school care, and then pick them up on your way home. But then when you get home, you might not be able to spend much time with your child as you and your spouse are maintaining the home, cooking dinner, and taking care of whatever else your busy workday makes you put off. The result is equality and independence for the wife and husband, but what's the cost? To the child and to your own sanity? You spend less quality time with your child and leisure time is a rarity. Besides this, what are you going to do until the child is old enough to go to school? If you continue working, you're missing out on being there for a critical time of the child's life, while that time is instead spent at daycare or with a nanny. The benefit of this is that you get to have your own career, pursue your own personal dreams.

For those parents that turn the child over to a nanny, most of the time this nanny is a woman. And more often than not, this nanny is an immigrant worker who left her home country in search of better opportunities. She might have children at home that she never sees, that she left with her mother or sister or nanny. This situation reveals equal opportunity for the American woman, while the basic gender inequality exists, it is just being imported from another country.

I consider myself to be a feminist. I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to be an veterinarian, and astronaut some day, and still have children. So what can I do to make things equal for everyone? It seems that regardless of how I do it, someone must suffer for my opportunities. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

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