Tuesday, February 10, 2015
dennis: CELEBRATE, LEARN FROM, AND SUPPORT WOMEN
In earlier posts i have noted various holidays that are wonderful opportunities for men to buy gifts for the Women in their lives. Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother-in-Law’s Birthday and so on, all merit carefully selected, quality gifts. But in terms of what Women really want there are far more important days coming up that the modern man must celebrate. These special days provide us males an opportunity to reflect on Women’s issues and Feminism, to make efforts to accelerate the progress of Women, and to hasten the downfall of patriarchy. Our congregation and Women’s Center observe the following as times for reflection, commitment, and action:
Feminist Susan B. Anthony Birthday – February 15
March – Women’s History Month
International Women’s Day – March 9
Women’s Equality Day – August 26
Feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton Birthday – November 12
There are a great many activities that take place around these events in which men can – and should! - participate:
§ Participate in rallies and marches aimed at highlighting the inequities in Women’s pay, career opportunities, and so on. Real men will be active participants and very visible at such events.
§ Listen to and learn from lectures and readings on Feminist topics
§ Attend a Women’s art exhibit
§ Do a reading at a Feminist event
§ Write a letter to the editor of a local paper supporting a Feminist issue or position
§ Learn a craft or domestic skill by taking a class or workshop; it’s a wonderful opportunity for men to cross gender lines – not to worry, Women welcome us on their side of the line but a word of warning – once you cross you may find it hard to go back!
§ Commit to read six Feminist books over the next year; discuss them with Women, including how each book has changed your perspectives. In my case Nancy and Her Mother routinely assign me “required reading” on a variety of topics ranging from Feminist literature to romance novels. I have to discuss the readings, articulate the Women’s positions in each of the readings, and cite how the reading changed my perspective.
§ In celebration of the aforementioned days send cards with a personal note and perhaps a small gift to Women-friends. Use cursive writing and Sue demands my using decidedly Feminine matching stationery. The latter shows my willingness to adopt something from Women’s side of the gender line and it conveys my belief that Women, their views, and tastes are mainstream.
§ Support and work for Female Candidates for public office; we need more
§ Listen to a Women’s discussion group or lecture on Feminist issues, wage inequity, for example. As Nancy says, men should “Shut up and listen” - we men can learn a lot by listening to Women. Take what you heard into discussions with male friends and advocate the Women’s point of view.
§ Take a Women’s Studies class for some formal immersion in Feminism – men will learn a lot!
§ Perform service at a Women’s Center; the progressive gentlemen in our social circle do this weekly; sign up to volunteer to do whatever is needed and make a real contribution.
§ Donate time and money – Men make more than Women and should be happy to give their patriarchy-derived surplus to Women and to Women’s causes. Nancy has determined that men earn at least 25% more than Women so, to level the playing field, She demands that 25% of my earnings be given over to Women (She and Sue are a great place to start!) and Women’s issues.
Our Women’s Center collects and distributes money throughout the year for the benefit of Women and Women’s activities. Men are expected to generously donate and are charged fees for participating in the Centers activities or just to volunteer. Monies are anonymously distributed to Women for a variety of purposes. Men often commit to giving over the course of a year; for example, two men are paying for a Woman’s cell phone and data plan for a year. Two other men have committed to donate $2,400 – a mere $100 per month each – to a Women’s studies program at a local college. Where’s their $100 a month coming from – well, they’ve given up trips to the local bar and will instead work at the Center one evening a week.
Housekeeping – men at the Center volunteer to regularly do housework, repair work, etc., for Women who want their help. The men’s work is done under the strict supervision of the Center’s staff. Men taking the Housekeeping 101 do a practicum of housework for Women that spans many weeks. Even after they have completed Housekeeping 101, men continue to do the practicums as a personal commitment to think globally but act locally.
Get involved with Women’s issues and initiatives at work. Mentor and support Women. Support Women for promotions even though doing so may limit your opportunities. After all, you’re likely not as well qualified as Women now in the workforce; they are coming into the workplace in greater numbers and bringing impeccable credentials. They’re going to run things sooner than later so get used to it and get on board!
In many companies vacation time is determined by seniority; unfortunately, men have most seniority and so more vacation. To right this inequity, a few of us have given back vacation days to be placed in a “vacation bank” from which extra days will be awarded to Female staff.
§ Accept and support Women in leadership positions at work; defer to them; accept your subordinate position.
§ Encourage Women to adopt a leadership posture by deferring to them – at work – at home – wherever!
§ Recognize that Women-only activities at work – seminars, classes, trips, mentoring, etc – aren’t discriminatio’! Rather, these are necessary to allow Women to participate on a level playing field.
§ Make treating Women – ALL WOMEN! – with courtesy and respect a habit - “Yes, Ma’am!”
§ Recognize the innate superiority of Women and the inequities and exploitation that patriarchy promotes.
Why is all this important? Well, despite their moral, intellectual, and emotional superiority, Women are underrepresented in leadership positions and still undercompensated. Gender equality will make society better!