Has Feminism Really Helped Women?

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1950By Staff Blogger

We’ve all seen (or been) the overworked woman who tries to do it all; she works full time, has a full time job, has a gaggle of children with a heap of activities, homework and sports for her to attend or attend to and she also has the pressure of having energy to fulfill her husbands “needs” when the lights go out at night.

While many people can argue that the feminism movement has helped to advance women and given them rights that they should have always had, there are those who argue that those so called advancements have not really helped women to live more fulfilling lives.

A few things that have gotten better for women:

1. More reproductive control and s*[email protected] freedom allow us to enjoy safer s*x with more partners—and to shape our careers and make more money without having to worry about an unintended pregnancy. Economists recently found that women with access to the Pill made 8 percent more money by the time they were 50 than women who lived in states that make it harder to buy the Pill.

2. Women’s participation in the workforce has increased dramatically, from nearly 40 percent in 1960 to over 60 percent today.. This translates, plainly, to more opportunity and greater chances for women to do more varied kinds of work—and earn money—than Friedan could have imagined a half century ago.

A few things that still haven’t changed…or have even gotten worse:

1. Women work more—but boy, is it hard sometimes. The United States lags embarrassingly far behind the rest of the world when it comes to guaranteeing paid maternity leave (i.e., we don’t have any, while women in other nations around the world, from Pakistan to Mexico to Canada, are guaranteed between 12 weeks and a year). We need paid leave for new mothers and fathers as well as quality subsidized child care so that when the 50 percent of families with two earners and the 26 percent of single parents need to get back to work, there are options available. Most important, we need to begin thinking of work-life balance not as a woman’s problem but as a human problem. Without that, we’ll never have as many women as men in politics, in boardrooms, in research labs, or in other important fields.

2. We’ve turned mothering into a competitive sport. Women are expected to research every aspect of parenting—strollers, naps, nutrition, sleep habits—from the moment they get pregnant. Researchers have found that today’s mothers—even the ones who work full time outside the home—now actually clock more hours with their kids than back in the days when Friedan wrote about the stranglehold of child care. Time for yourself? Forget it.

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11 Comments

  1. Being a single mother and a business woman, I see the significance of this article. I have not been an active member of the workforce for some time, but I did work a job for years that had no maternity leave, was based on a pay scale that left me behind my male counterparts, and had no sensitivity to the needs of my life as the primary and sole provider for my children.

    I do disagree with the perspective of what has gotten better and what has gotten worse.

    *1. More reproductive control and s*[email protected] freedom allow us to enjoy safer s*x with more partners—and to shape our careers and make more money without having to worry about an unintended pregnancy.*
    ~I can’t say that this is a plus for women. With the value of women, especially black women, being reduced to their looks, butt size, and how down they are in the bedroom, this “freedom” allows more room to involve ourselves in the activities of that thinking. We are not stronger because we can sleep around, but are more irresponsible and careless. The results can bee seen on television shows, books, women’s forums, and music. Women who freely give themselves over physically to men, and though they have no baby from their encounter, they still carry the seed of that which states to them that they sex isn’t adequate enough to get and keep a man. Where is the power and freedom in that?

    *2. Women’s participation in the workforce has increased dramatically, from nearly 40 percent in 1960 to over 60 percent today.*
    ~This is a kinda an obvious one to me. With the number of single parent homes dramatically increasing, it makes economic sense to allow women more opportunities in the workforce to decrease welfare recipients and therefore increase a morale in the home with a mother who is productive. I wouldn’t say this is better though. Yes we hear children who are inspired by their hardworking mother to do better and succeed, but that is not the status quo. Women working jobs that are not conducive to raising a family. All types of hours, shifts, and even types of jobs potentially can damage the health of the mother and that of the family. If these “opportunities” where geared to the betterment of the quality of the family, I would say it is a win, but due the the state of the single family, I can’t say this is “better”

    The things that have changed or gotten worse….women working harder and parenting becoming a sport. I am not sure what type of women this article was meant for, but every woman that I know works hard and more importantly finds a way to make the hard work she does pay off. We will not see the changes that were listed in number 3, until we become a socialist economy that is concerned about the state of the nation as oppose to the individual. And as far as parenting being made a sport, how is that bad. Who are the athletes that are successful in their sport. They are the ones who has done the research years before they enter into the realm. They get their bodies right, get their minds right, studies those who have been successful and when the times comes, they are prepared. I would be hard pressed to find one women, including myself, who made such endeavors before having a child. We are so lazying at parenting and raising our children that it is pathetic. Parenting needs to be a sport and rewards and recognition should be given out. What is the true reward of a parent who has prepared, a child with the characteristics of God. For some of you, you have looked at your failures in the eyes and are angry with them for how they are….that is because you never took what was needed to create them and shape them properly serious enough to work it like a gold medal and endorsement deal was on the other side.

    I have never looked at feminism because I have always viewed it as a negative thing. Something that makes women stick out their chest, tape down their breast, and wear a dildo mentality that they can do what a man can. I am not a man and have no desire to do what he is designed to do, however, this has sparked a thought of how women, in my opinion, should operate in certain realms and how us in our lanes is more powerful than imitating a man any day.

  2. No. Feminism was NOT DESIGNED with black women in mind. Therefore a black feminist is any oxymoron. They’re the most confused women on earth. Feminism is designed to benefit white women, first and foremost.

  3. Phillip Battle on

    Well their are two slaves in Americas history– the Black Man– and the white woman– that feminist jive was to liberate white women while the black woman continued to raise their children and cook their food then and now– the Caribbean sistas and Hispanics dominate that chore nowadays. As for the Black woman being able to take birth control pills or other contraceptives gives their white bosses the leeway to have their concubines at their will
    – without being the father of their out of wed lock bi-racial children’s and it also has mislead the Black woman in some cases of corporate illusion-that she is the man-bcuz of her income-she don’t know that she’s a modern day nanny taking care of his office– and that same boss of hers won’t hire her son as a janitor– in must Cases.

  4. More than that stated above and more; if GOD is first-more importantly…women have lost what GOD intended in their creation. A man was to protect his woman. Now, men must protect themselves from this “helpmate” in the streets, Court and in a marriage from these modern (post 1970’s)women.
    1 Corinthians 6:1-8, Genesis 2:16-17, 1 Timothy 2 and 2 Timothy 3;16. Heaven help us! ^-^Rev 3:20.

  5. Some black women take feminism too far–men don’t seem to know their roles anymore—-it has given them an excuse (they don’t realize it) to seek out other cultures whom they believe to be the true meaning of femininity(another mistake) Black women are STRONG out of necessity ——deep down inside they long for that strong man to love and protect them EXCLUSIVITY!!!

  6. One should explore this equation. I read this a few times. One thing about the article is the publication’s editors do not allow the words ‘sex’ and ‘sexual’ to be printed. It is indicative of what ails the progress of consciousness. I agree with the written commentary. Feminism seems to have been about white women, and Black women forging their own way with difficulty in American society created a survival skill that had nothing to do with ‘white privilege’. Black women’s feminism is based upon what their hands have wrought, their imagination creates, their fear propels into action, and what their wombs birth into the spheres of consciousness and practical reality.

    There are distinctions between the two classes and definitions of womanhood, and the expectations of these mothers for their daughters have similarities that should bring them together, but often don’t because of race, class, and white supremacy. The relationship white women have with power is different from the relationship and understanding white women have of power. Things come together in the work place around sexual politics, but the economic base of each woman’s reality sings different songs in different keys.

    There has been change. There has been advancement, but the nation’s myths are still in place, and the American social structure is still based upon the tenets of slavery. – Gregory E. Woods, Keeper of Stories

  7. I feel like feminism was meant to liberate women but it created a second prison for women of all races. It was suppose to be about women becoming more than sex dolls, maids, nannies and cooks in their homes. Now we are still all those things while juggling a full time job and women allow it. What we are slaves to are men not just white men bc black men can be just as misogynistic as white men where they expect their women to still be the stay at home mom who cares for the entire house and child rearing while being a business woman. Perhaps it’s time women start finding a new breed of men to be the fathers of our children and our life partner. It’s no longer one sexes job to take responsibility for the house work and the children. A family means everyone helps. Set your standards higher. Bc of feminism we don’t have to rely on their money anymore we make our own. Use that birth control and give birth to a REAL man’s child not some little boy who needs his ego stroked so he feels big and powerful

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