I got into a political discussion on Facebook yesterday. As a rule, I try to avoid political arguments. The “other side” will rarely come around to your way of thinking anyway, and it only serves to annoy most people. Nevertheless, once in awhile something strikes me so I can’t keep my mouth shut.
This particular conversation began with someone asking whether things were better or worse than they were four years ago, and quickly digressed into everyone spouting their opinion of the economy and women’s rights. One woman kept coming back to the conversation with her opinions on being able to get birth control through her health insurance regardless of her employer’s morality and her stance on gay rights. Mostly I read through the comments enjoying the debate and largely ignoring this particular woman’s rantings.
The discussion morphed and the topic of equal work/equal pay came up. This woman insisted women make less than men, citing the census as the basis for her information. Someone else countered with another study by CBS News claiming the gender pay gap is a myth. This person pointed out that “because women, as a group, make less money does NOT mean there is “gender bias” for pay. Just like the fact that 80% the players in the National Basketball Association are black does NOT mean there is anti-white racism at work–although by your “Census” logic, that is exactly what it would mean.”
To which this woman responded, “That article prompts one question from me. That is, if women weren’t indoctrinated from DAY ONE to be the one to raise the children and tend the household, would the numbers changes. Also, WHY are educational and nursing jobs paying less? Maybe because they’re typically seen as WOMEN’S jobs and therefore should be paid less.”
And that, my dears, is where I could no longer keep my mouth shut.
As I was composing my response, a few other choice snippets were interchanged. By the gentleman who posted the
CBS article, “Indoctrinated? I think since women are the ones who can actually GIVE birth (not to mention BREASTFEED children–which I’m sure you’re aware is healthier for newborns) that it is logically they who would be better to “tend the children” (if one person is going to be “in charge” while the other works, that is).” He said a few other things, as well, but I’ll return to this lady’s response.
She said, “But mothers only need to stay home for a limited period of time, 1 year tops. What about the rest of the time, that 17 years or so, afterwards?”
Shortly after that was where I unleashed my diatribe. My response I think pretty wells sums up how I feel about this topic and her views:
Where do you get off suggesting that the desire to be a mother is somehow “indoctrinated” into women? Where do you get off suggesting that choosing to stay home with kids is somehow less work or less valuable than being in the work force? I am an intelligent, educated woman who has chosen to stay home with her kids, not because I have to but because I WANT to because I believe it’s the best thing for my kids, and the insinuation that my contribution to society is somehow less and that I am somehow less as a woman because of that is not only insulting, it’s FAR more damaging to my freedom of choice and my civil rights than ANYTHING the government has done. And before you go making any more judgments, my husband is a teacher. He has a master’s in computers and could easily make three times what he makes as a teacher if he were in the corporate world, but he enjoys his job, which is NOT a “woman’s” job. I think the education system needs serious reform, because teachers have one of the most important jobs, but that’s another discussion. The point is, a woman’s (or man’s! I know stay-at-home dads, too!) choice to stay home with kids is JUST as valid a career path as any other. Oh, and I pity your children if you think they only need you for the first year of life. Countless statistics prove that the physical presence of parents in their children’s lives create more stable, productive, successful people.