Over at the Guardian, I’m writing about the new stat that 40% of breadwinners in American families are women. With women making up half the workforce, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re an increasing proportion of primary earners. But the 40% stat doesn’t tell the whole story. For starters, the majority of that 40% are single moms — the breadwinners in their families, yes, but not because they’re married to men who make less. Those women make an average of $23,000 per year. The third of breadwinner women who are married to men are significantly wealthier, with a combined family income averaging $80,000. And when you look at divorce and marital satisfaction stats, the happiest couples are those who both work, but where the husband makes more money. Stay-at-home moms have higher rates of depression and marital dissatisfaction, and unhappiness comes in again at the end of the spectrum where a wife out-earns her husband. A strong majority of Americans also believe that the best situation for a child is with a mom who stays home (only 8 percent believe the same about a kid with a dad who stays home). These problems are complex, but traditional ideas about gender play a strong role, and those ideas shape the social policies that leave working parents between a rock and a hard place. Our particularly American gender traditionalism coupled with our idealization of individualism-as-freedom (without recognition that such individualism has generally been a male pursuit, enabled entirely by an unpaid female at-home support system) creates major cultural disincentives to implementing the kids of policies that could actually help families. The full piece is here, and a section is below:
Does the private sector have a role improving health systems? According to some participants at this year’s Women Deliver conference on maternal health, absolutely.
The conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, brought together thousands of health care providers, advocates, politicians, journalists, activists and human rights workers to discuss the challenges, victories and potential solutions in the maternal health field. One of those solutions: Private sector involvement.
Sorry for the light posting — I am doing my taxes today, which is a true joy when you’re a freelancer and have approximately 9,000 different sources of income. In the meantime, read and discuss this article on pay equality.
Here’s something that should make you smile-cry of a Monday morning: Feminism has met its goals and achieved what it set out to do, and we’ve become equal both in education and in the job market. We’re on top, and that’s why men can slack off and make C’s. It’s time, says University of Nebraska senior Zach Nold, for men to jump up on that pedestal next to women as equals.
In 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, and people around the world mobilized to raise funds for recovery. Nearly three years later, much of Haiti is still in ruins. Part of the problem is that while there are many development groups on the ground, their works are disparate. Unemployment is high, and while there are enormous numbers of Haitians working to rebuild their communities, there isn’t a place for them to come together. JCI, an excellent community-based nonprofit, conducted a detailed needs assessment and is now working on building a community center in Haiti. The center will offer employment opportunities not just in its construction but in its ongoing mission to provide economic empowerment, child care and project development. It’s a great and important project. More details are below. And getting involved is simple. Sign up, shop online and make money for your giving fund.
My latest column in the Guardian is about the latest move from a group of conservatives to call a truce on gay marriage and get back to blaming single moms and poor people for destroying marriage itself. They say that poor and middle-class people aren’t getting married, and that’s hurting them financially and socially, keeping them poor. I say that working-class and middle-class people are marrying less often precisely because of economic insecurity: Outdated views of men as breadwinners mean that men who aren’t making enough to support a family may be less enthusiastic about marriage; increases in gender equality mean that working women no longer need to get married for social status and may not want to take on a husband who doesn’t pull his own weight inside the home and out; and with divorce being financially ruinous for women in particular, it’s probably a good idea to avoid marriage if you aren’t reasonably sure you’re hitching yourself to a good horse. If conservatives actually care about the things they say are the purpose of marriage — a good environment for children, family stability, accumulation of personal wealth — then they should support policies that directly promote those things instead of claiming marriage is the one and only solution, because it’s clearly not. A taste:
Because judging from their story about income tax increases, they seem to think a single person should reasonably be bringing in $230,000 a year. And that’s not to mention the single mom making $260,000 with $35k in investment income! Sign me right up.
My latest in the Guardian is about that “Rise of Post-Familialism” study that has everyone in a tizzy, panicking that Western nations are facing a baby-shortage and selfish, indulgent single people are ruining the world. I take the position that the very things the study and conservative commentators brand as “selfish” are actually just smart, and the logical responses to both social progress and continued constraint. It’s one of my favorite columns so far, so I hope you’ll read the whole thing. A bit of it:
But the moral case against individualism and choice doesn’t have legs. It’s a moral good when people have a wide array of choices and increased personal freedom – not just for the individual, but also for children, family and society. And the evidence backs that up.
Just in case you weren’t aware that the owners of some big-chain restaurants and huge jerks, check out this piece by Matt Yglesias highlighting the temper-tantrums being thrown by the owners of Applebees, Denny’s and Papa Johns over Obamacare. Their problem? Under Obamacare, small businesses don’t incur any additional tax burden; businesses that already provide health insurance are also in the clear; and so are businesses that pay their employees a living wage. But businesses that both employ more than 25 people and pay extremely low wages have to put some money into the health care system. The multi-millionaires who pay their employees pennies and are the beneficiaries of Republican tax breaks don’t like that, and they’re throwing fits:
What’s going so wrong with the breastfeeding and formula-feeding conversation? Start with the rampant individualism. Conversations about how you feed your baby tend to be preoccupied with women’s choices and decisions.. and then, blame. You know the conversation has little…
I am writing a rather complicated post at the moment for Feministe, so in the meantime.. Quick things to look at – some pretty, pretty pictures in “Yes These Bones Shall Live” over at the International Museum of Women, which…