There has been a marked change in the estimate of [women’s] position as wealth producers. We have never been “supported” by men; for if all men labored hard every hour of the twenty-four, they could not do all the work of the world. A few worthless women there are, but even they are not so much supported by the men of their family as by the overwork of the “sweated” women at the other end of the social ladder. From creation’s dawn. our sex has done its full share of the world’s work; sometimes we have been paid for it, but oftener not.
Any idea when this statement was made? OK, a clue: I recently ran across it in a speech given by Harriot Stanton Blatch at a suffragist convention–in 1898.
Blatch went on to raise issues much like what Ai-Jen Poo said at the “Unfinished Business” program 111 years later, what Moms Rising has organized itself to organize the troops about now, and what dozens if not hundreds of bloggers will be talking about this weekend over at Fem 2.0:
Unpaid work never commands respect; it is the paid worker who has brought to the public mind conviction of woman’s worth…If we would recognize the democratic side of our cause, and make an organized appeal to industrial women on the ground of their need of citizenship, and to the nation on the ground of its need that all wealth producers should form part of its body politic, the close of the century might witness the building up of a true republic in the United States.
Yep, don’t agonize: organize. Band together to make the workplace and worklife such that people of both genders can both earn a living and have a life. This is the necessary next wave of the feminist movement, one in which both men and women must participate. Because these days, men want to participate in their children’s lives as women have always done.
Check out this info from the Aurora Monthly Newsletter put out by wheretowork.com:
Following recent headlines about the lack of women at Davos again this year, women question the role of such a forum if it doesn’t comprise diverse leadership. The World Economic Forum’s own leadership structure that sets the agenda and decides who attends is not gender diverse. 4 / 22 foundation board members are women. There are 0 women on the managing board responsible for WEF’s operations and running. 2 / 10 senior directors responsible for subject areas within WEF are female. It ‘d be quite insightful to know which corporations and Governments in attendance at Davos sent mixed gender delegations.
In chaos is opportunity. Mark my words, despite the many real dangers that women (being often the last hired) might face heightened vulnerability to losing jobs during an economic downturn, the current economic chaos is great opportunity for women to advance.
I took an early morning walk today in Central Park with Joan Blades, founder with her husband Wes Boyd, of the progressive political on-line grassroots powerhouse, moveon.org. But her agenda wasn’t moveon.com. Joan is a serial entrepreneur and a very successful one, whether creating a software company or a new nonprofit organization. It was the latter she wanted to talk with me about today: her latest venture, MomsRising.
Joan has plunged her creative hands into a key mobilizing issue of the day, building a more family-friendly America in the workplace and public policy. Fresh from getting the New Jersey legislature to pass a paid sick leave measure, she brought me up to date on the organization she started in 2006 in response to her own experiences as a mom in the workplace.
MomsRising has over 140,000 citizen members already and is aiming for 1,000,000 to participate in their citizen advocacy agenda. Over 85 national and state organizations have aligned with MomsRising to create a coalition that works at the state and national levels to bringing motherhood and family issues to the forefront of the country’s awareness so they can advance workplace policies such as paid sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, flexible work hours, and equal pay for equal work. Quality childcare and healthcare access are also on their rather large plate. And they’re pumping up their political fundraising so they can do more lobbying on all these issues.