And just as work has expanded to require employees’ round-the-clock attention, being a good mom has also started requiring ubiquity. Things were different in my own childhood, but today, parenting has become a full-time job: it requires attendance at an unending stream of birthday parties, school meetings, class performances, and soccer games, along with the procurement of tutors, classes, and enrichment activities, the arranging of play dates, the making of organic lunches, and the supervising of elaborate, labor-intensive homework projects than cannot be completed without extensive adult supervision.
Oh yes: By incredible coincidence, parenting was discovered to require the near-constant attention of at least one able-bodied adult at just about the same time women began to pour into the workforce in large numbers. Sorry ’bout that, girls!
We need to fight for our right to lean out, and we need to do it together, girls. If we’re going to fight the culture of workplace ubiquity, and the parallel and equally-pernicious culture of intensive parenting, we need to do it together — and we need to bring our husbands and boyfriends and male colleagues along, too. They need to lean out in solidarity, for their own sake as well as ours.
Women of the world, recline!
A little research into equal parenting reveals that the satisfying picture of men routinely sharing childcare is simply a myth. Those surveys are misleading at best. Men haven’t taken on childcare in anything like the numbers we’ve been led to believe.
Some thoughts as to why this isn’t happening here.
[Update: Unfortunately, all of the links for the main KMG Ethiopia website do not work now. Usually when this happens, the site goes back up/working within hours, days, or weeks. For now, the following website works: KMG-Ethiopia. All of the links at the top and the top right of that landing page contain important and inspiring material. We will have to see whether they import more material from the older site, restore the older site, or some such combination/variation. So the next three links below do not now work. However, most of the rest do. Please check them out!]
One month ago on May 22, 2013 Bogaletch Gebre received the 2012-2013 King Baudouin African Development Award “for transforming women’s lives by developing an innovative approach to changing community mindsets on a range of culturally entrenched issues”.
Interested readers can find a detailed and elaborate account on pages 8-28 of the 2010 paper “Ethiopia: Social Dynamics of Abandonment of Harmful Practices – Experiences in Four Locations” by Haile Gabriel Dagne, Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices, Working Paper 2009-07, Innocenti Research Centre.
Interested readers can also find a concise summary on pages 29-31 of the 2010 paper “The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Five African Countries” produced by the The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy.
According to a frequently cited 2008 UNICEF study, female genital mutilation in the Kembatta Tembaro Zone decreased from nearly 100% in 1999 to less than 3% in 2008. This study seems hard to track down. Interpretations of it might come from (what is now) pages 8-28 of the 2010 paper “Ethiopia: Social Dynamics…” linked above. Interpretations of that 2008 UNICEF study might also come from a 2008 paper titled “A Study on Social Dynamics Leading to Abandonment of Harmful Traditional Practices with Special Reference to Female Genital Cutting, Kembatta and Tembaro Zone, Kembatti Menti Gezzima – Toppe Project UNICEF Ethiopia” by Haile Gabriel Dagne, study submitted to UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence. If anyone can find a link to this paper and/or clarify this citation matter, please do so in the comments! (I think the paper linked above may be a revised version of (a 2009 version of) the 2008 paper and that the 2008 paper itself may not currently be available, or at least possibly not easy to locate – any help?)
Bogaletch Gebre and KMG-Ethiopia’s successes include certain kinds of focus on certain forms of education and community involvement – very much like the autonomy-within-culture account discussed by Diana Tietjens Meyers in her wonderful 2000 paper “Feminism and Women’s Autonomy: the Challenge of Female Genital Cutting”. See also the “community conversations” based approach of the “Community Capacity Enhancement Handbook” of the UN Development Program (compiled in response to HIV/AIDS but applicable to a wide range of issues.)
Here is a link to an image that represents the KMG Ethiopia “Women’s Perspective – Theory of Change”. It is not as simple as it may first look. After reading about KMG Ethiopia and Bogaletch Gebre’s efforts in the links provided in this post (if not elsewhere too), some of the organizational insights and sophistication should become more clear.
For an excellent newspaper piece that includes Gebre’s story, click here for “Kidnapped. Raped. Married. The extraordinary rebellion of Ethiopia’s abducted wives“.
Readers can find one more piece, not very long but more detailed than most in the 2012 Global Change Leaders Case Study: Dr. Bogaletch Gebre, KMG Ethiopia by Rachel Hess. It is part of a series on Women’s Leadership from the Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University.
Finally, this earlier post by Monkey is excellent and contains relevant links as well:
Afar region, Ethiopia, Abandoning Female Genital Mutilation
Following links on that webpage, you can find this 2012 annual report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joint programme on “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Accelerating Change”.
Click here for a summary of an evaluation of the FGM/C joint programme. This summary covers 2008-2012. Apparently, the second phase of the joint program will cover 2014-2017 and current planning for it is provided here.
In addition to the above material, the UN Population Fund webpage on FGM/C contains many more important and relevant links.
A segment from Fox News simultaneously containing a stunning (though, perhaps, unsurprising) level of sexism, and a wonderful response from Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. What’s especially telling about this exchange is that Kelly is rightly, intelligently, factually, and articulately, taking Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs to task–and they seem to fail to grasp this. More than once, she’s met with giggles from her interlocutors.
A partial transcript is available here.
This is a powerful essay from Deborah Copaken Kogan–well worth a full read, but here’s a snippet:
This is what sexism does best: it makes you feel crazy for desiring parity and hopeless about ever achieving it. A few months later, after delivering a lecture on the media-invented “mommy wars” at the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, a song pops up on my iPhone as I’m walking back to my hotel room: Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” “When you ain’t got nothing,” Dylan sings, “you got nothing to lose.”
Yes, I think. Yes.
I suppress the three words that have haunted me my entire adult life—”They’ll smear you”—and choose Dylan’s instead. . .
Yesterday I was watching the Melissa Harris Perry (MHP) Show and legal scholar Kenji Yoshino talked about a possible paradox at play in regards to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling on Prop 8 (and the other case that no one seems to reference by name). He brought up the following point: a group has to have a significant amount of political power in order to even make it to the Supreme Court, who will rule on whether they are being discriminated against. This can be restated as,
“A group must have an immense amount of political power before it will be deemed politically powerless by the Court.”
I can’t find the exact clip, though here is Sunday’s MHP show. And since I was forced to search the internet for another mention of Yoshino’s quote, I stumbled across a law review article he wrote on the topic (no pay wall!).
Today I was reminded of this paradox as I logged onto Facebook and was greeted with a newsfeed awash in red and pink:
(more after the jump)
Kenya ranks #130 in the 2012 Gender Inequality Index and ranks #145 in the Human Development Index. (Also, click here for a PDF of Kenya’s composite indices for the 2011 Human Development Report.)
Despite serious problems represented by these figures/values, Kakenya Ntaiya and the Kakenya Center for Excellence arguably provide many of the kinds of action, growth, hope, and promise that we need most in this world.
Woman challenges tradition, brings change to her Kenyan village (CNN Heroes story from March 14, 2013)
(Please check this out. Well worth our time. Every single minute – only 15 minutes, 42 seconds. Really gets going, truly inspiring, in the second half.)
– David Slutsky
A diplomatic row between the Netherlands and Turkey looms over who the Turkish government deem fit in the Netherlands to be foster parents to children with Turkish origin. Turkey has started an investigation into the nature of the foster families that currently foster children of Turkish origin in the Netherlands under Dutch law. This was triggered by a mother appealing on television (in Turkey, I think) to get her 9 year old son back, who has been in foster care since he was a few months old. The foster parents are a lesbian couple, who now have had to go into hiding because of all the media attention.
According to various news sites, the Turkish government objects to foster parents being gay or christian or otherwise not upholding Turkish values, and they wish for the Dutch government to see to the issue. The Dutch government is not amused.
The Dutch government has the authority to relieve parents of the care of their children and place them in foster care, which is what happened in the case of this little boy. This is not a measure that is taken lightly. When the necessity to remove a child from its parents arises, the authorities first see if there are relatives who can take care of the child. If they are not available, the preference is to place the child in a foster family, of which there is quite a dearth. If no suitable family can be found, a child will be placed in a home, but it is generally believed that it is better to place a child in a family.
It is going to be a bit tough to find sufficient “suitable” families for foster care that suit the whole world, I suppose.
By all means, let us focus on the best interest of the children involved, shalll we?
Transforming FAMILY is a ten minute documentary that jumps directly into an ongoing conversation among trans people about parenting. It is a beautiful snapshot of current issues, struggles and strengths of transexual, transgender and gender fluid parents (and parents to be) in North America today.
You can watch the video here. (I don’t know whether vimeo is accessible everywhere though; apologies if it isn’t.)