Saturday, December 29, 2012


Nancy writes: There was a comment awhile back that giving preferences to women was sexist.  Moving to bring women into the mainstream isn't sexist at all. Unless we move assertively, the male "system" and good-old-boy network will continue to deny women and to direct them into traditionally female roles, roles that keep women at an economic disadvantage and, thus, subservient to men. Education and creative legislation are needed to help women move up to real equality

Men dominate government and industry, and even in situations where women present solid qualifications, they haven't been successful in taking the positions they deserve. That's sexist!  Further, women earn three-fourths of what men earn. That's sexist! There is tremendous pressure placed on women to put aside careers to support those of their husbands. That's sexist! Men are looked upon as somehow being less of a man when they support their wife's career by taking up homemaking. That's sexist! Historically, jobs that have been largely staffed by women pay way less than jobs that have been traditionally male-staffed. That again is sexist!

We advocate giving preference to the woman candidate when all things are equal. In most cases credentials are not equal; increasingly women present better qualifications than their male counterparts. Women are bringing skills and education needed in a high-tech, information economy, but more importantly they bring an inclusive management style. They are able to manage a creative workforce and to collaborate with highly skilled people on complex projects.  So:
  • Are we being sexist when we advocate women stepping up and taking control at home and in the workplace? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we advocate closing the pay gap and empowering women economically? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we embrace women's leadership? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we advocate basing societal norms on women's approaches and dismissing the confrontational ways of patriarchy? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we advocate setting aside contracts and jobs as a way of having women break into the economic mainstream? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we feel women should have proportional participation in areas such as high technology and government? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we dream of Matriarchy where women's values, approaches, and leadership are the norm? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we feel women should work against the engrained patterns of patriarchy by taking control of their households and demanding more from their husbands? No, we are not!

 Think of it differently, think of it as providing men with the opportunity to have the same personal and professional experiences that women have traditionally had:

  • The opportunity to become homemakers and care-givers
  • The opportunity to work in traditionally female careers such as care-giving, clerical, secretarial, and administrative without social stigmas being attached to their choices
  • The opportunity of having HER assume the role of head of household
  • The opportunity to share in his wife's successes by supporting HER career
  • The opportunity to experience female leadership in the workplace

And all or this should be looked at as totally acceptable from a social and personal perspective. That's equality!

I'll get off my soapbox now.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


NANCY Writes: My husband and I are in a happy and productive female-led marriage. We encourage women and couples to at least explore the lifestyle. By female-led I am talking about a practical relationship where she makes the decisions, controls the money, and is likely focused on her career. He supports her, maybe placing less emphasis on his career and definitely taking up much of the domestic work.  It may seem radical, but it's very simply a role reversal from a traditional marriage.

Female-led isn't new to me. I grew up in a family where the women were in charge. My mother, my aunts, and even my grandmother wore the pants in the family. They gave the orders; the men followed them. The men earned most of the money; the women controlled it. The women had a shorter work day; the men did most of the housework. Girls' night out was an every-other-week occurrence; men's night out – a rarity. The men had power at work; none at home. The men liked being told what to do, though; no guessing, no arguing; everyone was happy, and men love tranquility at home.

Female-led wasn't new to my husband either. He grew up in an all-female household and had to help keep house just like his sisters. He needed some orientation, but he was way ahead of most men when it came to housework. More important, he had a good attitude, always listened to what I had to say, and never disagreed or complained. I met dennis in college at a NOW meeting – that says a lot! He was a good dresser, intelligent, deferential, a committed Feminist. I am an alpha woman – a bitch to some – but while that caused other men to avoid me, it attracted dennis since he was looking for a strong woman. I was looking for a man who would fit my career and personal plans. We both got what we wanted!

To their credit, most men really want to please women but are clueless about what we want; so, ladies, tell them! There are so many guys who will follow your lead. And they're great guys that we can be proud of. To move ahead with a female-led relationship, ladies, you have to do a few things:
  • Recognize your innate superiority – don't feel guilty about controlling your relationship, about giving orders, or about being confrontational when necessary
  • Know your priorities – if your career is a priority, structure your marriage and his expectations accordingly
  • Pick the right man – there are plenty of great guys who will be only too happy to let you take the lead in a relationship
  • Have your man commit to your plan – let him know early what you want and get his commitment
We'll discuss these four items in future posts.

Friday, December 7, 2012


"Well, then, it's unanimous."
This is in response to a comment by Mr. Clare (on “Learning to Walk in Her Shoes”) who is disappointed in the durability of the patriarchy after all these years of feminist advance. We hope, Mr. Clare, that you find our own follow-on comments below inspirational in terms of the prospects for a more matriarchal society.

You express many of the frustrations that women, and many men, have concerning patriarchy.  It is a strong force that has driven gender roles for thousands of years, so it is difficult to change; but it is being challenged, and challenged successfully. Yes, some women seem to “actually prefer patriarchy” and having men in charge, but we maintain that what looks like acceptance is that many women have simply learned to work successfully within its constraints. Listen in on conversations between women and you'll see that women despise patriarchy, not support it. When given the opportunity to support women candidates for political office, women do not demonstrate a preference for patriarchy; they exhibit strong support for change.  We see this in our local elections; it's why we work to give women options. 

Despite what you may perceive, all of us can be encouraged that patriarchy is being severely undermined by changes to the economic landscape and by legislation and programs that have been put in place by the diligent work of feminists. All this will have a HUGE impact on women's, and men's, roles, opportunities, and influences.  Consider the following:

Men Are Increasingly at a Disadvantage -- In times past women were at a disadvantage, not only due to patriarchy, but due to the fact that we were in an industrial society largely based on physical work.  In the industrial age men's strength was just what was needed to participate economically in society. Men got the high-paying jobs while women were largely confined to caregiver roles. Paid little by comparison, women were at an economic disadvantage, one that forced them to rely on men. Men have always been good working at things that are “below the neck”--that is, physical labor that requires little in the way of intellect or education. Men still are good at these things; unfortunately, they have the wrong set of skills for what is coming.

Women Hold All the Cards -- But this is the 21st century! We are a post-industrialized society, one where economic power has little to do with physical labor and everything to do with intellect and education. Women, often excluded from the industrial economy, responded by pursuing education; they have done this at the right time. Education will greatly accelerate both the demise of patriarchy and the ascent of women. Women have the education and innate skills to participate in a post-industrial society. Women are a majority of college students; they are getting a larger percentage of advanced and professional degrees; they work collaboratively, are inclusive of others, and respect diversity. In other words, women have all the tools to participate in and take leadership roles in a global, information-driven economy.  There is a huge influx of women into the professional and managerial ranks that is forever changing the business and economic landscape. Progressive gentlemen (like you, Mr. Clare) have not only accepted this reality, but are excited about its prospects!

Broad Support for Women – Feminists have driven programs for the benefit of women in business and in the workplace as a means of mitigating the impacts of patriarchal thinking.

Promote Hiring Women -- In many places, including the predecessor to the woman-run company I work for, even the most qualified women had very limited opportunities (if they could get hired at all, due to a good-old-boy network that kept them below a glass ceiling). No more!  Under affirmative action programs, all other things being equal, preference is given to female candidates. In most cases, however, “equal” never comes into play; the woman often is the superior candidate – period!

Contracts for Women-Owned Businesses – Looking to correct past exclusionary practices, many government agencies mandate that a percentage of their contracts be placed with women-owned businesses. Private sector companies may not be required to do so, but, seeing the trends, more and more strongly desire to work with women-owned businesses. Such approaches negate the advantages of patriarchy and of the good-old-boy network.

Groups and Organizations -- There is a plethora of women-only organizations and support groups aimed at helping women succeed in the workplace. These social, technical, and business organizations exist with the sole purpose of networking, sharing information, and assisting women in the business world. In special situations, men may be invited as speakers but rarely as members, and rightly so; women want to control the agenda of these groups and solely benefit from them. Men have other venues. In company with my wife, Nancy, I was privileged to address such a support group, this one for women engineers. We spoke about programs for women in our respective companies, our roles as mentors to women, as well as about our Feminist activities. 

Public Attitudes – Public attitudes strongly support women. Consider that in the last election, women's issues and the women's vote were of major concern; women are a major voting block that is impacting elections and legislation. No one seems to care about men's attitudes, which, by comparison, seem irrelevant. Woman-only groups, scholarships, programs, mentoring, and so on are widely accepted and lauded; suggested 'male-only' programs are despised for what they are – sexist. 

Things to Think About  -- With women poised to play a dominant role in business and government, we can expect an exciting time that will fundamentally change gender roles. 

More Women in the Workplace -- Consider the following trends:

  • Significantly more women assuming professional and managerial positions in the workplace as well as in government
  • Significantly more men in clerical, administrative, and secretarial positions
  • Men, in many cases lacking the skills of their female counterparts, confined to lower-paying jobs
  • More men in positions where they will work with, and be managed by, women
  • Elimination of the gender gap in pay as women assume information age careers and managerial positions, and as companies accommodate the needs of women in the workplace
  • Legislation and policy aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap
  • More women having careers that take precedence over that of their husband
  • Homemaking as a viable occupation for a man whether or not he works outside the home
  • Women increasingly driving the political and legislative agenda; a trend that will continue from past elections
  • Women's economic power slanting products and their promotion to their needs
  • More and stronger women-only groups as a means of women holding on to and availing themselves of the advantages provided

To conclude, we are in for a significant change in gender roles, one that we are excited about; one that will benefit women and men.