I do believe that there is one area in which we are currently in dire need of a feminist movement, although it seems doubtful that today's feminists are likely to embrace it. In fighting for and resoundingly winning the right of all women to work outside the home, we have inadvertently created a necessity for women to work, as the economy gradually slid into place and adjusted to the new norm of the two-income family. So what about the women who want to be able to stay home and care for their children?
|My mother and me.|
But today's young women are largely robbed of this freedom to enjoy a multipurposed life, with some of it devoted to nothing but caring for their children, because we have created a society in which most families require two incomes in order to be able to get by. I worry about my children, and my grandchildren. My youngest daughter seems bent on pursuing her crafts, and is a budding entrepreneur, selling the jewelry and accessories she makes in an online shop, and I hope that she is successful enough at this that one day when she has children she will be able to work from home. As for the rest of us, telecommuting is a word that is tossed around an awful lot, but I haven't seen a whole lot of people who have actually been able to do it.
I would like to see the feminists fight for the right of their sisters who wish to be able to raise their own small children, with more opportunities for telecommuting, job sharing, and yes, greater maternity benefits. Below is a list from the Huffington Post of maternity leave offered by various countries. The United States is woefully behind in this regard. There are no national programs requiring maternity leave at all. Some states have some programs, some don't, but as a nation we lag behind EVERYBODY.
So many people in the United States complain about having to pay taxes for assistance programs to benefit others. I'm kind of tired of hearing those complaints myself. I am more than happy to pay taxes for the purpose of assisting others. I'm all in favor of cutting out the waste in government (and since I deal with the federal government in my job I see a whole lot of that waste firsthand), but taxes should be used for the good of the people. In my native England, taxes are without a doubt high. But everybody gets free medical care. Those who need it are provided with "carers" who come to their homes, who do their shopping and cleaning and cooking and help with personal care for those who are not able to care for themselves any longer. That is so much better than here, where you have to pay $5,000+ a month to stay in an assisted care facility. I see that England also provides 52 weeks of maternity leave at 100 percent pay.
Just a thought anyway. Pregnancy, childbirth, caring for and nurturing our children, these are part of the female experience, built into our bodies and our nature. Instead of denying them, and thereby denying them also to our sisters, why not celebrate them and encourage them? Honest, it does not cause the death of brain cells or the collapse of creativity. In fact, it enhances them, and in the end gives us far more to offer, and gives our children more to offer as well.
Here's a list of maternity leave benefits around the world, courtesy of the Huff Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/22/maternity-leaves-around-the-world_n_1536120.html)