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Gloria Steinem: "Valuing Women's Work"


Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, children, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, family, freedoms, government, law, media, politics, religion, society, women )

Kit
- 875 days ago - truth-out.org
Labor costs didn't always reflect the country's values -- as imperfect as they may be. Child care attendants were paid less than parking lot attendants, and nurses' aides often got less than the men who picked up garbage at their hospitals -->



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Kit B. (276)
Sunday April 8, 2012, 2:10 pm

The following has been excerpted with permission from the essay "Revaluing Economics" in Gloria Steinem's 1994 book Moving Beyond Words.



Labor costs didn't always reflect the country's values — as imperfect as they may be. Child care attendants were paid less than parking lot attendants, and nurses' aides often got less than the men who picked up garbage at their hospitals — not because we were consciously valuing our children less than our cars, or patients less than garbage. The truth was (and still is) that in the United States, as in almost every country, categories of work are less likely to be paid by the expertise they require — or even by importance to the community or to the often mythical free market — than by the sex, race and class of most of their workers. This becomes clear when similar work by different groups of workers is compared within countries. Women in the United States might be poorly paid "office­ cleaning women" who do the same job that men do as better-paid "janitors" or even "maintenance engineers," and men who wouldn't dream of being typists might now be "keyboard literate" information processors of the computer age, who are paid more than secretaries doing the same task. It is also evident when the same categories of work are compared among countries. Road building might be well paid here and in Canada, where it's done by men, but poorly paid in other countries, from vast Russia to tiny Nepal, where women do it. In Japan, electronics assembly is done primarily by men and is decently paid, while in Hungary and Mexico, it's the province of women who get poor pay and working conditions. In Turkey, to­bacco processing is low-status "women's work," but in the United States, it's romanticized by cigarette ads and tradition as "men's work" — and is better paid. A cheap labor force cheapens whatever it does — until it rebels.
***


By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Co. | Op-Ed | Truthout |

Full article at Visit Site
 

wolfNoFwdsPls a. (135)
Sunday April 8, 2012, 2:35 pm
"Valuing Women's Work" -- is pretty much incompatible with Patriachy; and Patriachy seems to dominate globally these days.
---
" Women perform 66% of the world's work - and get 5% of the income. " -- Snapshot (2008)
 

Val R. (239)
Sunday April 8, 2012, 2:59 pm
So often a matter of semantics -
 

Kit B. (276)
Sunday April 8, 2012, 3:43 pm

Spot on with that one Wolf A. Equal pay for equal work, a simple concept, yet this seems to allude many in all societies.
 

Yvonne White (231)
Sunday April 8, 2012, 4:57 pm
"The truth was (and still is) that in the United States, as in almost every country, categories of work are less likely to be paid by the expertise they require — or even by importance to the community or to the often mythical free market — than by the sex, race and class of most of their workers." That says it all..:(
 

Susan S. (191)
Sunday April 8, 2012, 7:20 pm
I will never forget the guest lecturer at a Canadian Federation of University Women talk who explained that she was doing research on the third sector (being volunteerism). Since women are sandwiched between 2 generations and do child care as well as elder care and often work in the paid labour force as well it seems sometimes that the total workload has actually increased on women. Women contribute so much in terms of volunteer unpaid labour that is absolutely critical to the smooth running of society, and it is not valued nearly enough. If the unpaid work that women did was paid then it is possible the economy really would fall apart!!!
 

Kit B. (276)
Sunday April 8, 2012, 7:39 pm

That too is Right On, Susan and Yvonne. Thanks for the interesting comments on this important issue. Patriarchal societies depend on women for the functioning of the whole yet, treat them as less than equal to men.

I'm not sure that a matriarchal society would be vastly different in the day to day functions, however the hand that rocks the cradle, seems less likely to send her own own to fight wars of adventure.
 

wendy webber (28)
Monday April 9, 2012, 1:52 am
I came to the conclusion long ago that if I was paid adequately for what I did when I was a stay-at-home mom (brief as that was) no one could afford me.Then when I worked outside of the house, I had 2 jobs, and the same thing was true.
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (273)
Monday April 9, 2012, 3:51 am
I love her
 

Penelope P. (222)
Monday April 9, 2012, 6:03 am
All societies I suspect are supported basically by women's work and unpaid work is probably still the most important part of that.

If a woman worked other than doing her own housework maintenance and childcare and aged care and the family's sickness nursing traditionally the proceeds were her husbands.

Only the results of her unpaid work were and now are largely his although joint bank accounts tend to dispense with her ownership of her own earnings and her time is seldom her own.

Wages have always been less for women too:However things have improveed at least in my own country
one any woman inthe public service including nursed,teacher and administrators had to resign from their job if they got married (this was in my own lifetime) and women here were barred from any training in the trades
untill very recently.

I can still remember sitting outside an office waiting for an interview for close on two hours while the board(men) giving the interview chatted inside. It transpired tat I had forgotten to put a miss in brackets after my name when I applied.

They seemed to think it spiffingly funny to "give "me "an interview anyway",and assure me that I was ideal and
would have got the job if I "wore trousers". The job was a traineeship in art restoration.

At this time an aquaintance of mine who had topped law and was likewise waiting for an interview as judges assistant overheard the judge saying that he hadn't much time and to"cut the sheilas(women)"
Someone who had done much worse than her in university got the job because he had the right attachments between the legs

As I said things have improved here for how long it remains to be seen
 

S. C. (6)
Monday April 9, 2012, 7:14 am
Interesting. We women apparently need to know how to frame our work titles and and insist and demand meaning and value to them from others. And ourselves.
 

Kathy Javens (104)
Monday April 9, 2012, 7:44 am
Noted. As long as the job gets done right, it does not matter...male or female.....same job...same wage.
 

Kit B. (276)
Monday April 9, 2012, 7:47 am

Years ago women learned how to frame this both terms of labor intensive work and lack of financial reward. Another way to frame the discussion is how much money does it take to replace the duties of the woman of the house? For insurance purposes I would like to see those numbers today, someone to cook, clean, care for children, do the gardening, the washing and ironing and the list continues, include the many women who do so much in volunteer work and I would bet the cost of "financial replacement" of each woman in our society is extremely high.

The republicans seem to want to debate all of this again, I say bring it on - maybe now we can finally pass the ERA.
 

Alice C. (1797)
Monday April 9, 2012, 9:10 am
Many housewives are expected to cook, clean, do laundry, take care of children and in many cases, provide sex on demand for free.
 

Stella AWAY W. (258)
Monday April 9, 2012, 9:11 am
Yes - but beware! "until it rebels" - although I am not very confident about that ever happening? Thanks for sharing Kit!
 

Sue Matheson (70)
Monday April 9, 2012, 5:51 pm
go Gloria!
 

Robert Hardy (67)
Monday April 9, 2012, 9:41 pm
women... what did you do wrong? Nothing...
 

pam w. (191)
Tuesday April 10, 2012, 8:18 am
(Gloria Steinem has ALWAYS been one of my heroes! She has quietly and confidently lived her principles for many, many years.) I've often thought about the variety and importance of "women's skills"....especially considering they're usually being performed simultaneously.

Multi-tasking skils have been undervalued financially but make motherhood possible!
 

Jane H. (133)
Tuesday April 10, 2012, 11:13 am
She speaks the TRUTH and it is sad.
 

Jennifer V. (348)
Sunday April 15, 2012, 9:54 am
-
 

Jennifer V. (348)
Sunday April 15, 2012, 9:55 am
-
 
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