Wednesday, March 08, 2006

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day. Happy International Women's Day.

Eurostat have decided to celebrate by publishing a report with entitled 'How is the time of women and men distributed in Europe?'

Some of the findings are not so surprising: Women spend more time than men doing domestic work, and men spend more time than women learning or earning money. I think we all knew that gender equality is not a reality in Europe today.

Slightly surprisingly, there are more women than men with advanced education, so it's not due to lack of education that women spend such a proportion of their time cooking and cleaning. The study points out however that more women study subjects that are less likely to lead to employment (arts and humanities rather than technological qualifications).

The women of Europe are worse paid and have less leisure time. We are more likely to be unemployed or work longer hours if employed. It's not all doom and gloom though: we are better educated and we live longer.


At 3:38 pm, Blogger Mussolini said...

"The study points out however that more women study subjects that are less likely to lead to employment (arts and humanities rather than technological qualifications).

There's the answer to your gender inequality.

If Germany can elect a woman as leader, then the inequality is due to women's choice.

Men and women will never be the same because we think different. Women use both sides of their brain. Men can't with the same efficiency. Women think with both the emotional side and the analytical side of their brains. Men, at birth, endure the chromosonal damage of becoming male - this destroys a good portion of the connection between the two sides of the brain. Consequently, men tend to think almost entirely on the analytical side of their brains. This is why men are better at math and geometry.

Women, thinking with both sides, tend to make better therapists and caregivers.

Forcing men and women to be the same will never happen. It is biologically impossible. As to whether we can treat men and women the same with equal opportunity, we already do that. There is not a single "right" that men have that women don't.

The gender inequality is natural. The only way to "fix" it is to turn a whole bunch of women into men or vice versa.

At 3:53 pm, Blogger Becca said...

The idea that gender inequality is natural is an interesting one. I don't think you can generalise with statements like 'women are better caregivers' because the variation is enormous. There will be certain men who are better caregivers than certain women.

Also, I think the inequality stems from perceptions rather than reality; attitudes rather than laws and policies.

Some recent EU report said that a higher proportion of women in the US have top positions than their counterparts in Europe and that despite better social support for working mothers in many European countries European attitudes are not yet in line with equal opportunities.

If we had got to the point where women really didn't have any fewer rights than men, I could agree with you that it's their choice, but unfotunately I don't think we're there yet. Not in Poland, not in places like Italy and Spain which fared badly in the report, not even in Germany with their female head (the one who made it to the top doesn't make up for the hundreds who cannot work due to insufficient childcare support)

At 6:20 pm, Blogger Mussolini said...

Yes, some European countries have an old-fashioned view of the role of women.

By caregivers I mean those that deal with the public on an emotional scale.

Many, many social workers here in America are women. Most nurses are women. Many, many doctors are women.

Fewer are attorneys, scientists, computer programmers and the like.

I think the distinction between men and women is beautiful and we should celebrate those distinctions, not work to eradicate them.

At 10:30 am, Blogger beatroot said...

Mussolini ended his life in an expression of gender equality - he hung from the same meat hook as his wife.

The problem with pay mostly affects women who have broken their careers to have children. Single women don't suffer from the same degree of lower pay to men.

So this is not sexist ideology etc, but the inability of societies to provide cheap and readily available child care facilities. If they did that simple and practical thing then pay differences between men and women would disappear.


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