Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Giving You Another Chance

The other day when I tried to start a discussion about work-life balance and gender, three out of four commentors refused to stay on topic (thanks for your input, Emily, what you said was very thought-provoking).

My response is to be stubborn--or kind?--and give you another opportunity to respond. There was another article in the NY Times today about this topic, but this time, it's the Japanese version of the problem, which I have to say, make things here in the U.S. look positively progressive (this article is only one page long, not so intimidating as the last).

What do you think?


SamErika said...

Y'know I was watching 'House M.D.' and one of the main female characters was complaining that a woman in charge will not promote another woman because they couldn't handle the direct gender competition, or something like that.

Susie said...

As a woman whose life ambition really is to be an excellent home maker and possibly artist and possibly writer and possibly hold a job - but NOT a career, I am not in a position to see this stuff happening.

I have no doubt that we are still working towards a greater equality, though. It takes a long time truly to change people's gut responses - and most decisions are made on the basis of such reactions. Feminism is still a defiant and sometimes defensive position - which only indicates that it's still under some attack and misunderstanding from the culture at large.

I enjoyed reading your article on Japan. I'm not surprised by their numbers, though. They only passed legislation in the late 80's so we have 25 years on them. Plus I think the Japanese culture places way more importance on tradition than the younger American culture does. Imagine if we lived in Norway and we were reading an article about the US published in 1983. Or maybe not. Anyway, these things take time. And they take maybe anger (law suits) or maybe necessity (as outlined in the article on Japan) to make changes.

Interestingly the "former cabinet minister in charge of gender equality" describes women as "giving up" if they are expected to work 15 hours a day. Hmmm... what's wrong with this picture?!? Women are portrayed as "quitting" not choosing, not balancing or even compromising or accomodating. Good thing he's the former minister. Hopefully the current minister is able to use more positive language.

On a related note, if everyone in Japan is expected to work 15 hour days, I feel so sad for the children.

Thanks for the conversation starter, Jamie!