Monday, December 22, 2008

It might be the cabin fever but this article pissed me off

When this article first appeared in the NY Times, back on Dec 9, I didn't pay a lot of attention to it because it didn't seem relevant. In fact, I didn't read it all the way through. But then I heard the author interviewed on "Hardball" (I blame cabin fever) and I realized that she is the reason I sometimes deny being a feminist.

...But today, women constitute about 46 percent of the labor force. And as the current downturn has worsened, their traditionally lower unemployment rate has actually risen just as fast as men’s. A just economic stimulus plan must include jobs in fields like social work and teaching, where large numbers of women work.

The bulk of the stimulus program will provide jobs for men, because building projects generate jobs in construction, where women make up only 9 percent of the work force.

It turns out that green jobs are almost entirely male as well, especially in the alternative energy area. A broad study by the United States Conference of Mayors found that half the projected new jobs in any green area are in engineering, a field that is only 12 percent female, or in the heavily male professions of law and consulting; the rest are in such traditional male areas as manufacturing, agriculture and forestry. And like companies that build roads, alternative energy firms also employ construction workers and engineers

She goes on to suggest that "human capital" is "most important infrastructure" and that is where women have the majority of jobs, like social workers, child care workers, teachers, and librarians. She posits that for the jobs creation program Obama is proposing to be fair, he needs to give added weight to those kinds of jobs.

Some of you may see her point and agree. I don't. If there aren't enough women in the fields of construction, engineering, agriculture, manufacturing, etc, WHOSE FAULT IS THAT? No, I do not accept that fewer employers accept females in those roles. It's just not true. If nothing else, they had the same equal opportunity laws to work with as the libraries and pre-schools had. Not to mention, affirmative action has been pushing women into those fields whenever possible. I think the problem is that women like this one encourage us to see "clean" jobs as being more feminine. (The exception is that she includes law in her list of male jobs, and how often do lawyers allow themselves to become visibly dirty?)

Even though I work in a a traditionally female job, I resent being told that I need special consideration because so-called male jobs are getting better treatment. If that's the case, then we need to make the traditionally male jobs less traditionally male. Women need to get into them.

Lots of my friends have little girls (and some not-so-little girls.) They can become anything they want, INCLUDING construction workers, engineers, you-name-it. If they are encouraged at any step along the way to go into the more female jobs For Any Reason, I charge their parents to intervene.

When Megan and Zoe take over the world, with Rainy and Hazel as their loyal staff (and chairing the loyal opposition and designing skull covered ball gowns and taekwando uniforms for everyone) I want to hear that this attitude has been abolished!

But it could just be cabin fever. My boss just called. We're closed again tomorrow. That makes it a week since I've been to work and two weeks since I was in with a full department. Sigh!

I think I'll go drink more tea and then watch "Countdown," and Rachel Maddow and the like, then maybe sew or bake or something. I'm teaching myself intarsia, at least I'm trying to, while watching news and so on.

Speaking of none of that, it appears my baby cousin Andrew has found something to occupy his time while unemployed. Unfortunately, his publisher seems to leave something to be desired, IMO. Yay, Murdoch. I'm so proud.

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