100 years of International Women's Day

By Phil Plait | March 8, 2011 9:56 am

Today is International Women’s Day. In fact, it’s the 100th anniversary of this idea becoming a reality, which is nice. A lot of progress has been made in the past century, and, of course, there’s much yet to accomplish.

A couple of years ago, I wrote on this topic and to be honest there’s not much I would change in that post today. In fact, I strongly stand by what I wrote back then, especially this part:

I am something of a moral relativist; I know that cultures differ, and what is art in one place would be a grave insult in another. That’s OK, because people are different.

But if you take half your population and relegate it to second class, forbid them from learning, don’t let them participate fully in society, then there is no relativism in my book. You’re wrong, and you’re stupid.

There’s a video going around right now featuring Judith Dench and Daniel Craig. I think it’s pretty good, and I love the fact they chose these two actors; in the James Bond movies she’s his boss, in a position of authority in the government.

I think I’ll just leave you with that.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (44)

  1. This is exactly the kind of thing we need to pay attention to, what with all the crap Republicans are trying to do to women, Georgia in particular.

    – Trying to send women to jail for life for having a miscarriage, unless she can show she played no part.

    – Trying to change the law so that victims of rape are no longer called “victims,” but rather “accusers.” Not for other crimes, just rape.

    Seriously, WTF Georgia.

  2. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 1. Jacob :

    Politics. OMFSM. Bleech. :-(

    Okay, since you’ve brought this up, a full list here :

    http://pol.moveon.org/waronwomen/?rc=fb

    of some seriously nasty stuff that is happening and needs to be opposed.

    Law #3 on that liszt especially is just a jaw-dropper, *facepalm*, Aya-yi-ya-yi! one.

    More on that here :

    http://jasonblogsaboutcrap.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/so-apparently-abortion-is-wrong-but-murder-is-totally-ok-as-long-as-you-are-murdering-the-right-people/

    I’m old fashioned and conservative in some ways but paradoxically enough -and isn’t life & human nature one big paradox ;-) – I also consider myslef somewhat of a feminist. If the women will let me! ;-)

    (And, hey, its their call not mine!)

    To end on a positive note (because I’m in kind a good mood tonight) here’s a link to one of the many women I admire and respect :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsha_S._Ivins

    I met her (well saw her speak) at a public lecture in Adelaide many years ago.

    Other great admirable and heroic women that spring to mind – by no means an exhaustive list –

    Sally Ride,
    Pamela Melroy,
    Valentina Tereshkova,
    Henrietta Leavitt,
    Annie Jump Cannon,
    Caroline Hesrchel,
    Carolyn C. Porco,
    Felicia Day,
    Amy Okuda,
    Buffy (Sarah Michelle Geller’s character – not the ice dwarf planet)
    Xena the Warrior princess (Lucy Lawless not the ice dwarf planet formerly known as UB313)

    & last but not least :

    Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) :-)

  3. Messier Tidy Upper

    Plus so many more .. needless to say – or it should be. ;-)

    Sorry, all very stream of consciousness, I know.

    Plus Caroline Herschel is the correct spelling, mea culpa.

  4. KiltBear

    Of course it was ironic that the ad in your RSS stream was for kitchen devices, so it looked like

    “[blah blah blah]
    I think I’ll just leave you with…”
    (ad for kitchen aid kitchen products)

    We’ve come so far, and not.

  5. Red

    “There would be virtually no risk to your career if you chose to become a parent… or became one accidentally.”

    Powerful stuff. And depressingly accurate.

  6. davidlpf

    Who do these woman think they are they give us birth, take care of us and they think they should be treated as equals at work. Where do they get this attitude from, go figure the arrogance of some people. It is just like this website to site this leftist trash. Woman belong in the home or out hunting moose from a helicopter not being a politician that makes sense.
    Also woman can never ran country they would lose every war they went got their countries into, also woman cannot play sports because they would care to much on what the otherside felt and not worry on winning the game.

  7. Joe

    I’m glad you recognize the value of IWD. My mother was a teacher. My four sisters have retired from successful professional careers. Gov Walker of my Wisconsin surely does not. The unions he has singled out for stripping collective bargaining (state employees, teachers) are mostly women. The unions he protected (law enforcement) are mostly men. Is this a coincidence? I think not. Yet, I have not seen any large news media make note of this. Today would be a good day to push this.
    http://www.afscme.org/publications/3934.cfm
    http://www.ncei.com/POT05PRESSREL3.htm

  8. Marcin

    Women will never be equal to men (or men equal to women if you prefere) simply because we differ physically. Women can give birth, men can’t. Men are physically stronger, women are mentally stronger etc. Women will always learn less because there is a chance of pregnancy (and losing employee for year or two). Learn to live with it.

  9. “A woman’s place is in the house…

     

    … and the senate.”

  10. Men are physically stronger, women are mentally stronger etc.

    Buh?

    Women will always learn less because there is a chance of pregnancy (and losing employee for year or two).

    If they’re “mentally stronger,” it should be worth the risk. ::blinks::

    And what if the woman keeps working and the man stays home with the child? Or what if, as it happens pretty often, the woman only takes a few weeks off and then goes right back to work?

    Also, unless the employer is paying the woman for that entire “year or two” she stays home with the baby, then why is that even relevant? Shouldn’t she be paid for the work she does while on the job? Paying her less for that reason is just punishing her for the inconvenience. Which, as stated above, is simply assumed. It would be like paying a black man less because a higher percentage of black males are at some point imprisoned than white males. :|

  11. I think it’s funny how so called “skeptics” love to keep two sets of books when it comes to issues like this. Sexual dimorphism in humans is controversial, yes, but please explain to me (or call me a republican, if that’s easier for you) how believing that men and women are of equal value is anything but a religious sentiment.

    On a side note, as much as I love reading Phil Plait’s blog, announcing to the English-speaking web that women ought to be allowed to learn things is not exactly heroic. In fact, I’d wager he could get by saying something like that at the Republican State Convention of South Dakota and still live to tell about it.

  12. Marcin

    @Jacob: if you believe women and men are equal than maybe we should join olympic disciplines. Maybe we should allow women to fight men directly and judge them by the same standards…

    Employers invest in employee when they give a job. If such employee doesn’t work because of pregnancy it’s a money loss for company (you need to hire and train new person). In case of men probability of pregnancy is close to zero so risk is less. It’s not punishment for women, it’s basic economy.

    BTW if woman decides to have a baby she should stay with it for at least first 6 months (brestfeeding is optimal too). Unless you don’t care about baby of course.

    Men and women are different and no amount of whining will change it.

  13. Uh.

    When someone says “equal” in this context, they do not generally mean “equivalent” in a “equivalent in a blindly straw man sort of way”.

    My job does not involve physical strength, therefore physical strength should not be a part of the pay scale. And if physical strength were part of the job in a way that it SHOULD be actually part of the pay scale, then it should be measured and used as such, not assumed that since ‘most’ men are stronger than ‘most’ women we should pay people as such.

    Try again with “treated equally” especially around “when actual gender differences play no relevant factor”.

    roymeo

  14. Men are generally stronger than women, yes. My “Buh?” was more about the statement that women are apparently generally smarter than men. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one.

    Except for the breast feeding part, staying with the baby can be done just as well by the father.

    Though you are right. It *is* more likely that a woman will take off work for a baby than it is that a man will. Similarly, a black male is more than four times as likely to be imprisoned at some point during his life in this country. Does that mean that companies should pay black men less, based on the economics of the investment? What about immigrants? I don’t have the statistics on me at the moment, but I bet it’s a lot more likely that a Japanese-born man will move back to Japan than it is that an American will move to another country. I suppose they should be paid less, as well. (Honestly, anyone who has moved to another state recently would fall under this category.)

    Of course men and women are different. I’m not sure what I’m “whining” about, except perhaps that one type of human shouldn’t be automatically considered to be worth less than another. I thought that kind of thing had gone out of style.

  15. Truly Anomalous

    Happy International Womens’ day! I especially liked the second paragraph of your old post Phil.

  16. Calli Arcale

    Donald VR — believing that men and women are of equal value (not interchangable, but of equal value) can be a religious sentiment, yes. It doesn’t have to be. I do not believe Phil Plait arrived at it for religious reasons.

    Come to think of it, neither did I, and I’m a Christian. It’s just something I believe. (Note: not all beliefs or opinions are religious. “Religious” denotes an organized system of belief with prescribed rituals. Most people don’t form their opinions because of a religion — though a great many people select a religion because it happens to be compatible with their opinions.)

    Marcin — it’s true that time off to care for a child is time lost in the career, and that is fair. However, even corrected for that, women still are behind. There are many reasons, but time lost to pregnancy doesn’t turn out to be the major one. The major one is that women are predominantly in jobs which are inherently lower-paying. (And ironically, these are also the jobs with the least allowance for things like pregnancy.) If all else were equal, and it isn’t, pregnancy would be treated no differently from any other short-term disability. A male coworker of mine had a hip replaced; his recovery was comparable to a woman’s recovery from a c-section. At my company, these are fortunately treated as equivalent.

    Men and women are different. But they are of equal value, and while tremendous progress has been made, there is still a good ways to go. I was able to spend two months with each of my newborns, paid by my employer’s short term disability insurance (they were c-sections, so a longer recovery was required), and I can afford good childcare for them. This has enabled me to return to work, and I have suffered very little inconvenience that a father would not have also suffered, apart from the physical bits that are really not negotiable (carrying the baby internally, giving birth, breastfeeding).

    I am, in short, an affluent mother, like many of the women who have achieved political office and who may now be making the mistake of thinking it’s all okay, because it was okay for us.

    Most women are not like me. A part-time worker will likely not have paid leave. While it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex or disability, employers do it anyway. Women might become pregnant, and are perceived as being the ones responsible for doctor’s appointments and teacher conferences, so it is expected that women will be absent more often than men. If a woman chooses to be a mother, many employers still regard this as a sign she is less dedicated to the position. There are also many positions where the physical distinctions of gender are irrelevant, such as aircraft pilot and truck driver, which nevertheless are overwhelmingly dominated by males. I have a personal hunch this will change over time; there is definitely still a problem, and the problem is worse the further down the economic ladder you go, but the social change is, in my opinion, now irreversible. Enough people now believe that women are as valuable as men.

    But this is the first world. In the video, it is mentioned that women, despite comprising half the human population, own less than 1% of the property. In many parts of the world, women are still no better off than they were here 200 years ago. They cannot vote, they cannot own land, they have few (if any) professions with which to earn a living, they are largely dependent on the benevolence of their husbands or male relatives, they are usually illiterate, and their prospects are bleak. Do not judge the plight of women by your own fortune — many women on Earth know that they can be beaten to death by their own family if they have the misfortune of being raped, and to a significant extent, many believe that they deserve it. We in America have come a long ways — but we still have not lost that ancient shame. For instance, you, Marcin, have just said that if a woman cares about her baby, she will stay with it for at least six months. If she is a good person, she will accept the harm this will do her career. We still put mothers on pedestals, and pillory them if they fail to live up to our expectations. It is not a very long walk from there back to where we were quite recently, barring women from many jobs because a good woman wouldn’t want to do them, or would be too fragile, or would risk harm to any possible fetuses she might be carrying.

  17. Thank you to all the men who spoke up. Change has to come from both sides. Men are the power group: they have the ability to change the rules. The best solution is a compromise; the power elite cede a little so the oppressed groups can step up. The best revolutions are those without violence. http://scientopia.org/blogs/drugmonkey/2011/02/07/repost-it-doesnt-hurt-a-bit-to-be-that-guy/

  18. katwagner

    When I graduated from college, I really got tired of hearing, “oh, you’re a young, unmarried woman. We can’t hire you.” And ” we gotta hire that guy, because he’s hungry and has to support his family.” And “young, unmarried women have a tendency to get married and pregnant.” I’m serious; dudes really told me that. Women have the same right to grow up to be whatever they want to. We are allowed to go to college to learn whatever we want.

    I was so happy to hear Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama today. But I don’t know what it will take to get Republicans to end their war on women; it feels like all those guys hate us. I mean really.

  19. Marcin

    I’m sorry but you can’t eat cake and have cake at the same time. Raising children is not an easy job and you should take it conciously. Yes, women often have to choose between motherhood and career but there is no way out. Only women can give birth.

    I won’t argue that women situation in islamic countries is good because it’s not. I think christianity is not much better in this matter. It’s just they are more backward. I blame religion in general.

    What I don’t like is forcing “equality” of genders. In my country there will be limits in parliament. No less than x% of members should be female. It’s pure stupidity because members are choosen by people. If people don’t want women in parliament why should we force them?

    Lower pay is similar situation. Maybe women in some jobs are not as good as men and that’s why they earn less? You gave examples of men-only jobs as discirmination. How many men work as babysitters or kindergarten teacher or nurse? Is it because men are discriminated?

    In my opinion, in civilised countries, we have equality already. There are some differences but it’s direct result of differences between sexes.

  20. ccpetersen

    Marcin, I have a hard time taking your arguments seriously. I take from your own coments that you just want women to be second-class citizens and will find reasons to keep it so because of something the women did wrong. How about looking at women as human beings with intrinsic dignity and rights? Same as men.

  21. Grand Lunar

    Need a little help with something;
    I never understood the thing about pay between genders.
    I could imagine differences in advancing to a higher pay scale.
    But who pays different wages for genders to individuals of the same experience?
    Is that something that takes place outside the US? Would a female cashier at a fast food place be paid different than a male cashier?

    I have read that, in the US at least, the figures are fudged, because the averages for ALL men and ALL women were calculated. Because more men are in higher paying jobs, that makes it seem men get paid more.
    Anyone have any facts on this issue?

    I agree with the assessment that men and women will never quite be equal, due to physical and mental differences.
    Where we can be equal is within the law.

    “But I don’t know what it will take to get Republicans to end their war on women; it feels like all those guys hate us”

    Doesn’t help when the best they can do to rectify that is Sarah Palin.

  22. It really is a shame that most of the online news articles and blogs I’ve read today on the subject of International Women’s Day have had the comments sections filled with sexist rubbish from men. It’s such a shame that so many of us just don’t seem to get it.

  23. Keith Bowden

    Men tend to change jobs every 2 years. By Marcin’s reasoning, men should be paid less because it’s expected that the time, effort and money put into training us will be washed away when someone else has to come in to replace us.

    Bottom line: If you have two equally skilled and qualified people doing the same job, starting at the same time, they should be paid the same. Employers shouldn’t take a discount because one is a woman. Or non-white. (Or pay even less because she’s also a minority…)

    I’m also confused by the comment that male-female equality of worth is a religious meme. Since when? All religious texts basically classify women as a dime a dozen, worth so much less than men.

    I haven’t changed jobs anywhere near that frequently, but I’ve worked with and for women, as well as supervised them. I’ve definitely never seen a reason to pay them less. (As a whole. Individuals, as with individual men, definitely weren’t worth higher salaries. Others were worth a lot more than they got. And yeah, i can say that about some of the men I’ve worked with too.)

  24. Paddy

    @Donald VR,

    > please explain to me (or call me a republican, if that’s easier for you) how believing that
    > men and women are of equal value is anything but a religious sentiment.

    Easily. The null hypothesis is that the effect of any given factor is negligible until proven otherwise. Hence, the position that men and women are of equal value overall is a null hypothesis. The burden is on you to prove that one is worth more than the other. Good luck with that ;-)

    There is, of course, also a pragmatic argument for fair and equal treatment: people have a pretty good sense of when they’re being unfairly discriminated against, and it tends to throw their performance. Not a good outcome when you’re an employer.

  25. katwagner

    Marcin – Good grief! Yes we can too eat cake and have cake at the same time. And having children doesn’t make us any less smart. But it is a fact that women in the US make 25 percent LESS than men. Doesn’t matter what the job is, on average, with the same education, women earn less than men because we’re women.

  26. John Sandlin

    @Donald VR:

    How do you set a value on a person? I don’t. All people, male and female, are beyond value, and certainly can be considered equally valuable in the abstract eyes of the law. The work they do, however, can have a value set. For that, the value should be equal for any specific work.

  27. Keith Bowden

    One final comment on how men and women are equal (not “the same”, equal):

    Neither gender can make a baby without the other. (Yet. But women will have the edge there.) :)

  28. Maybe Marcin will support equal pay for equal work if a person has been fixed?

  29. Calli Arcale

    Marcin:

    I’m sorry but you can’t eat cake and have cake at the same time. Raising children is not an easy job and you should take it conciously. Yes, women often have to choose between motherhood and career but there is no way out. Only women can give birth.

    It is true that only women can give birth, but how does it follow that, as you argued, a woman does not truly care about her child if she does not devote six months exclusively to the child? I returned to full-time work after eight weeks, with my daughter in very good care during the work days; by your argument, this means I do not care about my child, or do not care sufficiently. Of course, I disagree. ;-)

    That women are the ones who get pregnant does not mean that there is only one right way to rear a child, nor that women are the ones best suited to govern that rearing. I know enough bad mothers and excellent fathers to know this is not only untrue but potentially damaging. And you say it must be for six months; well, the Muslims say a woman must breastfeed for two years — what makes your line better than theirs? Nothing, in fact — they are both arbitrary, and both perfectly acceptable.

    There are in fact many good ways to raise a child. It is not sensible to pillory those who do not pick the way you would personally prefer.

    Another point: if women must accept always being lower earners, does that mean we should continue to condemn the families of widows? It used to be a terrible thing to be a widow; it meant certain poverty. Today, in the West, widows have a chance, but widowers have a better one.

    I won’t argue that women situation in islamic countries is good because it’s not. I think christianity is not much better in this matter. It’s just they are more backward. I blame religion in general.

    I don’t blame religion, honestly. Religion is the excuse used to justify what people had already chosen to do. Note that with the same religion, we have women with no rights whatsoever (Afghanistan, under the Taliban) and women who are literate and responsible for major financial decisions (Somalia, before it imploded).

    What I don’t like is forcing “equality” of genders. In my country there will be limits in parliament. No less than x% of members should be female. It’s pure stupidity because members are choosen by people. If people don’t want women in parliament why should we force them?

    I agree that quotas are not a good solution. Real social change can only come from within. However, if people don’t want women in parliament, something is badly wrong with society, in my opinion.

    Lower pay is similar situation. Maybe women in some jobs are not as good as men and that’s why they earn less? You gave examples of men-only jobs as discirmination. How many men work as babysitters or kindergarten teacher or nurse? Is it because men are discriminated?

    First off, the jobs I listed are *not* men-only. They are dominated by men, but there is no a-priori reason why women should not do them, and the women who are in those jobs do just as well as the men. There are some jobs where physical size and power are significant (firefighters, for instance), and there there is a natural skew, though honestly the percentage of women is still lower than I would expect if the discrimination were purely based on ability (especially considering how many municipalities have a firefighter shortage).

    As far as insufficient men in jobs historically considered “women’s work” — yes, there is an element of discrimination. Some of it is because few men are willing to go into work that is lower paid and historically considered “women’s work”. And some of it is because prospective employers don’t think men are sufficiently “caring” to do a childcare job. But in reality, men are no less suited to these jobs than women are. I’ve known some very talented male elementary school teachers — one is a relative, and he had a very hard time getting the kind of work he wanted, because they kept shunting him to middle school. But he wanted to work with younger kids. He did finally get it.

    In my opinion, in civilised countries, we have equality already. There are some differences but it’s direct result of differences between sexes.

    You’re fooling yourself. We’ve come a heck of a long way, which is wonderful, but still the benefits are mostly there for the wealthy. The poor and those in menial positions show a much larger skew. A janitor, who tends to be male, is generally paid better than a maid, despite doing much the same work. There are plenty of industries where the payscale is equivalent — but it is not yet universal. (Oh, and define “civilized”.)

    It is certainly true that men and women are not the same, and that some jobs are generally better done by men and some are generally better done by women, but the disparity of the sexes in many careers is still too vast to show that we have achieved true gender equality. But “well, we’re better than those uncivilized countries” is hardly a glowing endorsement (and frankly smells of jingoism).

  30. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ Marcin : Are you for real or are you doing a Poe?

    Add to my personal eternally incomplete and varied list of women who I admire and respect who have made all our lives better :

    Emily Lakdawalla (of the planetary society blog)
    Sara Seager &
    Debra Fischer (Exoplanet-hunter astronomers)

    Marian Call (singer)
    The Skepchicks
    Kari Byron (from Mythbusters)

    Pamela Sargent (SF author)
    Ursula Le Guin
    Anne McCaffrey

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Margaret Thatcher
    Queen Elizabeth I

    Amelia Earhart
    Amy Johnson (pioneering aviatrix)
    Nancy Bird Walton (pioneering Aussie aviatrix)

    and, well, so many more. This is no exhaustive listing just a handful of examples out of thousands plus more. Look them up on wikipedia if you don’t know them already (or just want to know more.)

    Name almost any field and you’ll find successful women who are great at their jobs and set great examples for us all – male and female alike. Women whose lives are well worth celebrating, wo have done so astounding things and shaped and improved the world. :-)

  31. Messier Tidy Upper

    D’oh. That’s spelt Pamela Sargent – wrote a good trilogy on terraforming Venus plus much more.

    @ 19. Marcin :

    won’t argue that women situation in islamic countries is good because it’s not. I think christianity is not much better in this matter.

    Nor are the Chinese and Indian cultures where female infanticide is also, I understand, widely practiced. :-(

    @9. Ken B :

    “A woman’s place is in the house…
    … and the senate.”

    And anywhere else she chooses to go! ;-)

  32. Messier Tidy Upper

    Quoting the BA :

    “Not all cultures are equal. Not all values are equal.”

    This may shock people, but in this one small case I agree with this lunatic. [Michelle Bachmann.] She’s absolutely right. All cultures are not equal. A simple example: a large fraction of our own culture in the United States used to accept slavery. Moral equivalency be damned; slavery is wrong. … if you take half your population and relegate it to second class, forbid them from learning, don’t let them participate fully in society, then there is no relativism in my book. You’re wrong, and you’re stupid.

    Hear hear! This!

    Some of the big issues globally where I think we need to stand up for women against “cultural” excuses :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_women_of_Asia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honour_Killings

    &

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation

    That these things are still problems in this enlightened century is just sad. :-(

  33. Schnee

    here’s my list of International Woman to remember, a bit out of date, by 2 years but try it on:

    The Female Holocaust – http://schneewolfe1948.blogspot.com/

    and if you can stomach that, then try the up to the minute site for Honour Killing:

    http://stophonourkillings.com/

    or search out Female Genital Mutilation in Afghanistan and Iraq; it is not just an African problem; in fact 2 years or so ago, the British Gov’t gave the police the power and the training to board planes destined to places known to practice FGM, and remove young girls, if the police suspected that they were being taken out of the country to have the surgery;

    I said in 2008 on a forum much like this, discussing the honour killing in Georgia, that there will not be democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan until woman have the same freedoms that women in the west take for granted; I got well roasted as a Demi/Commie sympathizer, and I went to a site that was discussing IN Zimbabwe the atrocities that were happening there, with the ZANU PF and Democracy movement, and found a more open to ideas reception; I haven’t changed my views, in fact the call this week by the Afghan Gov’t to remove the Taliban from the Terrorist List at the UN just confirms my point;

    Schnee

  34. Svlad Cjelli

    Grand Lunar @ 21 – Same here. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if employers want to do that, but I have never understood how it would actually be possible. And I’m not sure where to look for the numbers.

    As for eating and having cake, I do that sometimes. There is simply no problem with eating cake and having cake at the same time in the physical realm. The phrasing of the proverb matters.

  35. Amazing that in a post celebrating International Women’s Day we get a few outright sexists and borderline misogynists turn up with their “yeah but…” comments. Makes me proud to be a man sometimes. :-(

    And, “women own less than 1% percent of property”. In some places women are no better than property.

  36. Chuck P

    Anyone else see the irony that Women’s Day fell on Mardi Gras this year?
    Maybe you would if you had been to New Orleans.

  37. Marcin

    @shane Because someone doesn’t completely agree with you means he (or she) is sexist or borderline misogynists? I came here to discuss not insult.

    About money earned: there could be several reasons:
    – employer being sexist or borderline misogynist
    – employee didn’t negotiate his pay hard enough
    – employee not competitive enough against other employees
    – data being skewed by avaraging, man are more aggressive than women so they can fight for jobs better
    As you can see you can choose arguments that suit your theory nicely. Both ways.

    @Calli “prospective employers don’t think men are sufficiently “caring” to do a childcare job” – isn’t it discrimination and pure sexism?

    If you would care to search you will find many examples of discrimination against men. Few examples:
    – woman can accuse man of rape, it’s very very hard to not get convicted even if only proof is woman words
    – almost no one will accept man as a childcaretaker because people are scared of pedophiles
    Altough above can be seen as discrimination I see it as natural consequences of differences between sexes. Men are stronger and can easily scare women forcing them to do sex without beating – that’s why it’s not unprobable to have rape without physical abuse. Again, only less than 5% of pedophiles are female so it’s logical people prefer women as baby sitters.

    I agree there are situations where women were discriminated (voting being most obvious example) but lets not see sexism where it’s not there.

    Breastfeeding… I have read studies that 6 month of it is minimal if you want healthy baby. I heard about women breastfeeding up to 4 years. Personally I think it’s too long. My wife brestfed 12 months if I remember correctly. Physical contact between mother and child is also very important.

    And yes, I think that mother is best caretaker for child (not father). Also I think that leaving your child after 8 weeks means you didn’t take good care of your child.

    Of course there are bad mothers. I agree good father is better than bad mother. But those are exceptions, you can’t use them in discussion about general case.

    Religion… I see it as a root of all evil because it turns off logical thinking. Sonner or later in discussion with religious men you end with argument: because God said so. You can’t really argue with that. So you can justify any cruelty, any barbaric behaviour with religion. If you get rid of religion at least you have a chance to convince someone that what he is doing is wrong.

  38. I would like to point out that Marcin doesn’t appear to be a misogynist. I think he’s wrong, but he’s given no reason for anyone to think he hates women, or thinks that they’re lesser.

    Of course, the argument basically has nowhere else to go, now. He says that the mother better for the child than the father, and that spending six months off work for the child is the minimum you can do and still be a good mother. That’s brain-jarringly wrong, or at least I’m pretty sure it is, but I don’t know how to exactly argue with it.

    Are there any studies out there for this sort of thing? I’m not used to arguing about early-childhood development. :p

  39. Calli Arcale

    Marcin:

    - woman can accuse man of rape, it’s very very hard to not get convicted even if only proof is woman words

    It’s easy to accuse, but it is not my experience that it is hard to not get convicted even if the only evidence is the woman’s word. In fact, a great many rapists walk free for lack of evidence. The majority of rapes are never even prosecuted.

    @Calli “prospective employers don’t think men are sufficiently “caring” to do a childcare job” – isn’t it discrimination and pure sexism?

    That is precisely the point I was trying to make. There is no a priori reason why men should not be well suited to childcare or early education. In fact, the man who runs the before-school and after-school program at my daughter’s school is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Calm, gentle, firm when needed, but very thick-skinned and able to keep a clear head.

    But men grow up thinking they’re not good at it, so most of them never try. Likewise, women grow up thinking they’re not supposed to be good at science or math, so most of them never try. They think they’re not supposed to be aggressive, and mistake this for not being assertive, and so don’t stand up for themselves. Meanwhile, men who are not naturally aggressive think there is something wrong with themselves, and so if they are being trampled upon, do not complain for fear someone will think they’re weak.

    It *is* sexism. It is not really good for either gender, in my opinion, because it needlessly excludes valuable input in many areas for no good reason and greatly reduces a society’s versatility. If men are not believed capable of raising a child properly, what are they to do if their wife dies — or if their wife is an abuser? Is it fair that courts overwhelmingly favor mothers? If women are not believed capable of jobs that earn a decent living or are pilloried for putting their children in daycare, what are they to do if their husbands are disabled or killed? And that’s just the start of it, really.

    Men are stronger and can easily scare women forcing them to do sex without beating – that’s why it’s not unprobable to have rape without physical abuse. Again, only less than 5% of pedophiles are female so it’s logical people prefer women as baby sitters.

    The vast majority of men are not pedophiles or rapists; you go on to argue that we should not use exceptions for discussion about general cases, and yet pedophiles and rapists *are* the exception, not the rule. (Or at least, they should be; if you live in a society where this is not the case, such as the more war-torn parts of Africa where society is only just beginning to rebuild some semblance of order, then you have a much bigger problem.) Why treat all men as potential pedophiles just because you are afraid? By the same token, why are women given a free pass? I have known several men who, as boys, were abused by female caretakers. The police did not investigate; they said it was too unlikely to get a conviction. What’s more, the majority of child abuse is not perpetrated by a babysitter or teacher. It’s perpetrated by a parent, uncle, aunt, sibling, cousin, grandparent… By a close relative, usually. No amount of paranoia about priests, childcare workers, teachers, etc will ever protect children from that.

    Breastfeeding… I have read studies that 6 month of it is minimal if you want healthy baby. I heard about women breastfeeding up to 4 years. Personally I think it’s too long. My wife brestfed 12 months if I remember correctly. Physical contact between mother and child is also very important.

    I’ve got your wife beat; I breastfed both of my children for about 18 months. Yet I returned to work full-time after 8 weeks. How did I do this? Well, there is this wonderful invention called the breastpump, and also I am fortunate to have an employer who offers flex time and allows me to work from home when needed. There are ways to do it. I care very much about my children; it is your right to not believe me, of course, but I have known children raised by stay-at-home moms, by blue-collar single moms, by part-time working moms, and by full-time working moms who all cared deeply about their children. They all turned out pretty much okay.

    Jacob @ 37: I believe you are correct that marcin is not a misogynist. I think his main mistake is in assuming that because women in our culture are perceived as more caring and less aggressive, this must be due to a biological imperative rather than a learned thing, and furthermore assuming that the status quo with which he is familiar must be close to ideal. He certainly has good company in that perception; it’s very natural to think that way.

  40. Marcin

    @Jacob I have found some information here: http://www.breastfeeding.com/breastfeeding-questions/breastfeeding-toddler/qa/how-long-is-normal-to-breastfeed.aspx

    TLDR: WHO says at least 6 months, American Academy of Pediatrics says at least 12 months, American Academy of Family Physicians says at least 12 months.

    There is lots of information on this page but it may be bit biased (they goal is to promote brestfeeding afterall).

    @Calli Aggression is directly connected to hormones. Men are more aggressive than women – that’s pretty much scientific fact. It’s because men play evolutionary different role than women and need different behaviours. Of course you can find man with very low testosteron levels and argue he’s not “manly” but it doesn’t change the fact.

    I gave examples of rapes to show that there are some things in our society which you call discrimination and I call natural consequences of differences between sexes. I may not like those things but I won’t waste my time fighting them. You can’t change men to women (and vice versa).

  41. Travis Phillips

    2/3 of the work done worldwide eh? citation needed.

  42. I can buy that men are statistically more aggressive than women. But by that logic, men should be paid less because it’s more likely they’ll attack someone at work.

    I’ve read statistics that show that women are more likely to initate spousal abuse (in this country) than men. In situations where that happens, it’s common that the woman doesn’t think it “counts” as abuse, because she’s a woman, and the man doesn’t think it “counts” as abuse, because he’s supposed to be able to defend himself. Men are trained from a young age to treat women like glass dolls, whereas women are trained to look at men as if they’re killing machines barely restrained by society.

    Even if men are more likely than women to abuse a child, the fact remains that a vanishingly small percentage of men have done so or would do so.

    The simple fact of it is that men and women should treat each other as equals. You shouldn’t hit a woman. You shouldn’t hit a man, either. But if a woman stabs me in the thigh with table knife, then I will probably fight back! Same as if it were a man who stabbed me.

    The cultures that tend to sanction (or at least passively allow) the most heinous abuses of women also tend to have the greatest amount of memes that call for women to be protected. The people who insist that women are different, weaker, less suited to defend themselves, are better at child-rearing, and need to be have a series of special rules specifically made to protect them? Those are the cultures that tend towards the worst violence towards women.

    Yes, it is true that a randomly chosen woman will probably not be as good in a fight as a randomly chosen man. But regardless of this, the cultures that state that women can defend themselves, that they don’t need to be protected by a big, strong man, those are the cultures in which women are the most safe.

    I got on a bit of a tangent there, huh.

    The point I was trying to make, before getting distracted, is that statistics are just that; they don’t describe the individual. Statistically, there are different probabilities of various behaviors based on whether you are male, female, white, black, asian, etc. But should employers determine pay based on these statistics? Or should they determine pay based on the worker’s performance?

  43. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 8. Marcin :

    Women can give birth, men can’t

    Although :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jho1UCPDqXg

    Had you forgotten about that? Or never heard? Every rule has its exception! ;-)

    Oh and there’s :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Juniorposter.jpg

    Arnie of all people! ;-)

  44. Matt B.

    You’d think things would be better by now in a country whose most beloved leaders were named Elizabeth and Victoria.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »