Has Western Society Truly Emancipated Women?
While the Vatican talks about washing machines as being the major force leading to the liberation of woman, yet millions of women in Eastern and Asian countries live from day to day without any freedom. They are seen as little more than chattels belonging to their husbands and are kept totally under male domination. This includes countries such as:
o Saudi Arabia,
o China, o Malaysia,
o The Moslem countries of the Middle East,
o Many African nations and
o Even tropical islands such as Vanuatu.
Millions of women live being denied access to education, consigned to the house, all freedom of expression strictly curtailed, dress codes rigidly enforced, the liberty to speak freely with men not allowed and a general disapproval of women being found in any position of authority.
However, it is only a few years ago that girls were not encouraged to obtain higher education, even in Western society. After all girls were only going to mess around and maybe work for a few years, before getting married and staying at home to look after the family. Why waste a university education on them?
What then has brought about the change to where women in the Western world feel they have been given their freedom? Is it really the washing machine, as the Vatican recently declared, that made the difference?
Equal opportunity for women has freed many women, allowing them to take a major role in Western society. This was brought about through:
o Germaine Greer and 'the burn the bra' movement o The pill and the availability of safe abortions o Anti discrimination laws both in the work place and in education o Child minding and day care facilities, backed by the government, have allowed mums to continue as working-mums o The anonymity and world-wide reach of the Internet and Cyber Space has been another major contributing factor. Women can now work from home, but if they choose, then can be sexless and nameless.
Maybe though, it is time to admit the pendulum may have swung too far, with many antifeminist activists claiming the feminist movement now seeks a higher status for women than for men. Serious traditional intellectuals such as Allan Graglia and Carlson Carolyn believe that the change of women's role, from being primarily mothers, to self-identified professionals, has created a social disaster that continues to take its toll on the family.
Many now believe there is an anti-male discrimination in the areas of child custody, reproductive rights, alimony and property division, in messy divorce settlements. Antifeminists are quick to point to the marked increase in divorce and the breakdown of family relationships as having been formed by the influence of the feminist movement.
Still there are feminists who say, "I would rather cook a meal for a man and bring him his slippers and feel myself in the protection of his arms than have all the citations and awards and honors I have received worldwide, including the Ribbon of Legion of Honor and my property and my bank accounts. They mean nothing to me. And I am only one among the millions of sad women like myself."
Other women are quick to promote the business woman, women as leader models, as well encouraging women into competitive environments, in spite of the fact that women sometimes receive 'preferential treatment' in the form of being permitted lower physical requirements in some professions, such as military and rescue services.
In the finish, it will be neither the male domination, nor the feminist, nor anti feminist movements, that will make a difference to families in the years ahead, but the legalization of same sex marriages. The world is in a fervent of change for both men and women.
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