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!
Leaning in, leaning back, overwork and gender February 24, 2014
Women and professional philosophy in continental Europe November 16, 2013
Over at New APPS, a discussion about the situation of women in academic philosophy in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy:
On a Morning Joe broadcast from 2007, Mika Brzezinski became indignant when her producer tried to have her to lead the news with a story about Paris Hilton getting out of prison, as opposed to talking about the Iraq war, among other things. (There is also something worth saying here about why Paris Hilton is taken to be especially unfit and undeserving of attention in the news, and why an anchorwomen is pissed to be covering such a story.)
You can watch a few clips edited together here of her two co-anchors then telling her to “take control” of her job, to not use her producer’s commands as a cop out, and to make her own lead…and then proceed to ignore her commands, physically control her actions, and make light of her indignation over lax journalistic standards. The editing may be making the interactions look more disrespectful than they actually were, since there is usually is a lot of bantering on the show. But even granting that, grabbing a lighter from someone’s hand belies your insistence that they should take charge. Even if Brzezinski didn’t feel disrespected by her colleagues, their actions have such a weird patronizing undercurrent to them. (I’m sure someone somewhere can describe this with more exact philosophy-speak.)
Here’s an article written shortly after the newscast aired. And here’s a previous Fem Phil post from 2012 about another incidence where Scarborough claims that he respects Brezinski while his actions cast doubt on that point.
Pinky Mosiane was murdered at her place of work, the Anglo Platinum owned mine in South Africa. This article brings to light the context of that murder: one in which formal moves towards gender equality (the Mining Charter prescribing that 13% of employees should be women) have not been accompanied by changes in material conditions that ensure the safety of women (and indeed men) working in those environments. Sisonke Msimang writes:
although women are now being sent underground in greater numbers, nothing has been done to make mines safe spaces in which they can work free from sexual harassment and violence.
Women’s increased participation has been accompanied by informal practices (within problematic bonus structures which incentivise risk taking) in which women are treated as inferior workers and sexually exploited in exchange for their ‘share’ of the team bonuses:
In mines where women are part of underground teams, their male colleagues often resent their presence, suggesting that they are unable to mine as quickly. To meet team targets for production bonuses, a practice of bartering sex for bonuses and substitute labour has evolved. Essentially, female miners are coerced into stepping aside to enable their teams to meet the bonus targets. They receive a reduced share of the financial reward that goes to the team. Often, they are also forced to have sex with their colleagues in order to qualify to receive the bonus payments.
The judiciary have suggested that the rape and murder of women in mines is a ‘gender specific issue’, rather than a safety issue, and as such not a matter for investigation by the Chamber of Mines.
Women Breadwinners and Fox News June 2, 2013
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.
One Perk of NYC E-Hail Taxi Apps: Reducing Discrimination April 24, 2013
In a case about whether to allow New York City Taxis to use E-hail apps, which allow passengers to summon a taxi by using the app on their phone, the judge points out how this app may reduce the degree to which taxi drivers discriminate by passing over some fares.
“At least on its face, the program appears better aimed at avoiding discriminatory passenger selection,” she wrote. “The driver must accept an e-hail without knowing the passenger’s identity or destination.”
“Academia’s indentured servants” April 18, 2013
It is hard to know which parts of “Academia’s indentured servants” posted on Aljazeera, and written by Sarah Kendzior, to quote because I find the whole thing so quotable. So here are a couple of important bits that I hope will encourage you to read it all.
On April 8, 2013, the New York Timesreported that 76 percent of American university faculty are adjunct professors – an all-time high. Unlike tenured faculty, whose annual salaries can top $160,000, adjunct professors make an average of $2,700 per course and receive no health care or other benefits.
On Twitter, I wondered why so many professors who study injustice ignore the plight of their peers. “They don’t consider us their peers,” the adjuncts wrote back. Academia likes to think of itself as a meritocracy - which it is not - and those who have tenured jobs like to think they deserved them. They probably do – but with hundreds of applications per available position, an awful lot of deserving candidates have defaulted to the adjunct track.
“Hijacking feminism” April 4, 2013
“Yet the ideal for both women [Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter] remains the same – having a very successful career and a heteronormative family and being able to enjoy them both.
This, unfortunately, is how the “truly liberated” woman of the 21st century is increasingly being construed. What is particularly troubling about this feminist moment – especially since both women espouse liberal ideals – is exactly how little emphasis either Slaughter or Sandberg ultimately places on equal rights, justice or emancipation as the end goals for feminism.”
“ Zillah Eisenstein calls this imperial and trickle-down feminism.”