Motherhood in Germany

Sometimes you learn things that make you realise how ignorant you were. I really didn’t know much about gender roles in Germany until J-Bro sent me an article a few days ago. I kind of assumed Germany would be really good on gender equality, support for working mothers, etc. Not like Sweden or Finland, but certainly at least as good as the UK and probably better. How wrong I was:

Manuela Maier was branded a bad mother. A Rabenmutter, or raven mother, after the black bird that pushes chicks out of the nest. She was ostracized by other mothers, berated by neighbors and family, and screamed at in a local store.
Her crime? Signing up her 9-year-old son when the local primary school first offered lunch and afternoon classes last autumn — and returning to work.

Not quite believing what I was reading (most schools in Germany end before lunch; West German wives needed their husbands’ permission to work until 1977; only 3% of 3 year olds have nursery places in the former West Germany), I checked with a German woman I know. She told me it was all true, and that well-educated urban people in their 20s tell her with some regularity that she should conceal her intellect so as not to put the menfolk off.

I’m learning too many depressing new things this week. (Thanks, J-Bro and T!)

Haiti and UPS: updated

I heard this on Pacifica Radio: Any package that would cost under $50 to send to Haiti can go for free with UPS.

It’s time for some early spring cleaning…

It turns out this is a  hoax, and even if it weren’t, it would probably not be a good idea.

Thanks to The  Lady and j.

The early spring cleaning is up to you!

Health Care Petition

CREDO has a petition arguing the following:

The loss of Ted Kennedy’s seat — due to a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats and Independents — sends a clear message to Congress. The Senate health care bill is not the change we were promised in 2008, and it must be improved. The Senate must use ‘reconciliation’ to pass a better bill with a strong public option.

Personally, I think we should make the Republicans filibuster. But this is an effort worth supporting as well. If you think so too, go here and sign.

Adoption Conference

Adoption: Secret Histories, Public Policies

A conference sponsored by the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture
at MIT, Cambridge, MA
April 29-May 2, 2010
For more, go here.

What Not to Do

Bakka sends us links to discussions of this misguided effort in the legal profession, which she describes well:

there is one panel called, “What’s Our Problem?” where female lawyers get to discuss problems that are framed as “ours” rather than problems of the profession. Then there was a second panel, “Their Point of View: Tips From the Other Side,” where distinguished gentlemen will help women figure out how to correct “our” problems.

There has apparently been quite a bit of criticism.