Men and Feminism

There’s a lot that’s good in this article. I like the way that it calls on men do something about gender inequality, rather than just e.g. urging women to support each other through networks, etc. I like the fact that it points to the importance of male involvement in childcare, and the need for policies that encourage it. I really like the suggestion that men, too, will benefit from feminism. Some bits, though, I’m not so thrilled with. This bit below, for example:

In the Western world, motherhood remains the barrier to gender equality. Until they have children, young women now earn nearly the same as men and climb the career ladder at a similar pace. With the babies often come career breaks, part-time work and a rushed two-shift existence that means sacrificing informal networks like the after hours beer-and-bonding experience often crucial at promotion time.

I’d be totally happy with this being singled out as *a* significant problem. But it’s not the only one. Motherhood isn’t the reason that the very same CV gets an interview with a man’s name at the top and not with a woman’s. It’s not the reason for sexual harassment, rape or domestic violence that women still face in very high numbers. (Of course, it can interact with these in various important ways, but it’s not *the reason*.)

And then there’s this:

It took a male prime minister to sell the legislation to the country, and it took male leaders in Sweden and Norway to pass similar laws. It was a man who championed Norway’s boardroom quota obliging companies to fill at least 40 percent of the seats with women.

I’m totally on board with praising these men for what they did, and with encouraging other men to take similar action, rather than just leaving it to the women. But there’s an implicit suggestion that women *can’t* make these sorts of changes and they need the men to step in and do it for them.

As I said, though, mostly the article pleases me. I think the changes we need require both men and women to be feminists, and I’m glad it’s being said in such a prominent place.

Pregnant Women to be Tested for Smoking

The National Institute for Clinical Excellent (NICE) has issued guidance advising that, given the risks, pregnant women ought to be tested for smoking. …Yes. You read that correctly. NICE advise that all pregnant women should be given breath tests that can detect elevated levels of carbon monoxide, which will show the midwife/doctor that the pregnant woman either smokes, or is regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.

And I suppose this makes sense, given most pregnant women lack the capacity for language-use; so it would be terribly difficult to ask them whether they smoke. op! What’s that you say? They don’t? Pregnant women can usually both speak and understand some natural language or other?

Last I checked, smoking is harmful to lots of creatures–not just fetuses. In fact, I’m pretty sure that all mammals are negatively affected by carbon monoxide. Do we need to test *everyone*? No? Why is that? Here are some theories I’ve come up with:

  • Those pesky pregnant women lie more than other patients.
  • The health of other human creatures doesn’t matter as much as the health of fetuses.
  • Pregnant women speak too slowly for information on their smoking status to be acquired in a timely fashion verbally.
  • It’s a known fact that most pregnant women are out to harm their fetuses and need to be blocked from doing so.
  • Health practitioners are barred by law from asking the husbands/partners medical questions about the women, which precludes the possibility of acquiring accurate information about the woman (since, really, the head of the household is the only one in the family who isn’t a silly little thing).
  • Pregnant women have no right to privacy.

Have I missed any? OH wait. Silly me. (see? my husband should be writing this.) I forgot the most obvious one:

  • Pregnant women are simply the devious chunks of flesh wrapped around the real patient.

more from the BBC here.