In my last post I endeavoured to point out how much of a fool Tony Abbott is when he ‘tries’ to talk about climate change. His idiocy is not confined to that subject alone and in this post I will focus on another subject he completely stuffs up on: Women.
As a member of the male gender he could be forgiven for his ignorance. After all, what man does have a good grasp of this delicate yet complex subject? 😉
But he does live with a household of them and as a modern day politician he should at least make an effort to be aware that the modern day woman is a phenomena, not a relic. Nor an object.
The circus clown with the big ears had the audience in raptures a year or so back with his comment that women should stay home and iron, or something to that effect. Although the laughter has died down, the image he painted has not. It is an image that was all too familiar in this country: the barefoot and pregnant housewife.
He has never retracted that comment, which suggests he still carries that ideology. This is what I want to focus on in this post on. But unlike the last post where I’d trawled the internet for some of the zillions of examples of his stupidity, here I want to hone in on the stupidity of his ideology and how out of touch it is with reality.
Mr Abbott, you are a fool if you think the modern day woman wants to stay home and iron, and a bigger fool for saying it. Women should not be stereotyped, especially into the role model you expect of them. Instead of barking at everybody how the carbon price is going to destroy the universe, try grasping something in the real world. Here’s a start: woman don’t want to stay home and iron. They want to work. They want jobs and careers. They want what their mothers fought for. It’s been that way for 40 years. Only a fool doesn’t know that.
I’ll give you a history lesson on how they have fought for their rights to work in an environment and society that wanted to exclude them. That wanted them to stay home and iron.
Not many women had jobs until World War 2. During the war female participation in the workforce was buoyed by the necessities of the time, however, at the conclusion of the war in 1945 the workforce returned to male domination.
Feminists groups considered that capitalists, unions and governments had conspired to discourage employment opportunities for women, and indeed, the unevenness of the gender balance in employment was not seriously addressed until the 1970s. Two significant events that opened up opportunities for women were equal pay and the efforts to remove sexual discrimination.
The gender distribution has also been evened by two other agencies. Firstly, the life expectancy of women has increased as has their availability to work. Secondly, and more significantly, many traditional male jobs have become redundant due to automation, especially computers. Women are now the skilled workers in this new work culture.
The employment nature in 1945 was influenced by the demands of World War 2, creating in Australia one of those moments in history where women were brought into the workforce because their labour was needed and not because of their own desires in the matter.
Feminists (and Marxists) argue that this indicates that women were used as only a reserve of labour – and discarded at will – suggesting that governments and capitalists have historically maintained the subordination of women in the workforce for capital’s interest. (However, at the conclusion of the war women quite willingly terminated employment to become baby-makers for returning soldiers).
Whatever the argument, immediately after 1945 the gender composition of the workforce was extremely male dominant. Over the next fifty years this dominance was addressed and moderated.
Without transgressing too far from the issue of gender composition, it is worth considering the feminist’s argument behind the traditional male dominance. Some claim that work conditions had been regulated to exclude women from areas of male dominance, adding that governments pursued policies that have either re-enforced women’s dependant position in the home or locked them into dependency on welfare. It has also been suggested that male dominated trade unions engaged in constructing a definition of skill that excluded women from certain areas of the workforce.
The Australian labour force was highly segmented against women. There was a huge gap in inequality of employment (that would delight Mr Abbott), being:
- differences in access opportunities;
- differences in job tenure and security;
- segregation within jobs and industries; and
- differences in earnings and benefits.
From 1947 a steady growth in the percentage of women in the workforce has been recorded. Possible causes of this growth in women’s labour force participation can be attributed to the following events:
1949 Female pay rate fixed at 75% of male rate
1949 Women admitted to the Australian Public Service
1966 Abolition of Marriage Bar in the Australian Public Service (married women now able to be permanently employed)
1972 Equal pay for work of equal value
1984 Sex Discrimination Act
1986 also is significant as the federal government introduced the Affirmative Action Agency to administer the Equal Opportunity for Women Act due to continuing concern in the workforce participation and income disparities between men and women.
If women had been deliberately kept from the workforce, then this period represents a push for employment opportunities. Up to the 1960s in particular, women were considered mentally, physically and intellectually inferior to men and thus unable to perform men’s traditional tasks. Since the 1970s, feminist’s movements have won new freedoms for women. The right to work has been one as has equal pay for equal work.
Given the steady increase in female participation in the workforce it indicates that the gradual introduction of equal pay/opportunities and the removal of discriminatory practices have affected gender distribution.
But there is another dimension: the social factor, that is, the opportunity to be able to seek employment. Contrasting a woman born in 1945 with the scenario of that of the particular woman’s grandmother, on average, the grandmother married when she was aged twenty-five, had her last baby when she was forty, and died aged not quite sixty. By contrast, her granddaughter married when she was aged twenty-two, had her last child when she was thirty and expected to live on to seventy. In other words, the granddaughter would have at least twice as many years to work after her last child went to school as did her grandmother
The social factor is also considered important. Steadily over the past fifty years the working woman, and in particular the working mother is a more familiar role than prior to World War 2, as are the socialisation processes that working encourages. Without work it is difficult to participate in community life, and this is reflected in women’s increasing participation in work as an explicit response to their marginalisation in society.
One of the factors that had kept female numbers in the workforce low was the narrow career choices available and sex role stereotyping. In 1978 the South Australian Government initiated projects to make employment available to women in traditional male roles, and campaigned through the Education Department to entice female school leavers to pursue the targeted careers. Trades that had always been male dominated such as mechanics, engineering, tiling and shearing now had female participation. Further, and as a result of this campaign, women were now also pursuing more professional careers in greater numbers such as law, science and dentistry.
Gender differences in the workforce are now also influenced by economics rather than political or social factors.
There has also been a massive change in the nature of the Australian labour force. Whereas most people had been employed in the primary sector (farming and mining), secondary industries (manufacturing), and in tertiary (service), the last fifteen years has witnessed growth in the quaternary (information processing) services.
Farming, mining and manufacturing have traditionally been male dominated. While employment levels in farming and mining had already begun to fall well before recent times, manufacturing continues to be affected.
Male job displacement had a very humble start. The introduction of the typewriter brought women into the workforce at the expense of men writing by hand. It was only natural from there that women progressed to computing and other clerical or office positions.
Of particular interest is the large percentage of women employed in clerical duties. This is an area where there has been a decline in manual work and women have benefited in the move to office automation. Marxists would view this – ironically – as women benefiting from industries’ endeavour to reduce the cost of labour by the introduction of computerisation.
Well, there’s your lesson, Mr Abbott. We have evolved into a society where women are now major players on the employment landscape. We need them there. Industries would collapse without them.
Don’t be surprised if the modern day woman doesn’t want to stay home an iron. They might prefer to keep what they’ve fought for.
If you want to maintain your ignorance, then you are still a fool.
If a simple soul such as myself could see that the world’s been changing and that women have driven that change, why can’t you?