We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 38.
If it’s a war, then I am a soldier
RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain
Lots of heads of state are calling the fight against the #Coronavirus a war, a silent enemy that must be defeated. While I agree that the deadly virus must be defeated, I do think there’s another enemy out there that continues to attack our societies: sexism.
This enemy has been with us for millennia. It’s one that knows no racial or ethnic boundaries. Striking rich and poor alike, this enemy does not really discriminate based on culture or religion; it’s everywhere. Sometimes sexism is discreet, almost hidden, rearing its ugly head only every so often – for example when one is threatened by a strong woman. If you’ve ever been in the presence of this enemy, you’ll remember that you knew it, instinctively. Over the years you’ve learned to recognize and heed the twinge-y, sinking feeling in your gut when you encounter it, no matter how stealthily it is hiding. You just know.
Today’s war on the #coronavirus is also a war on our current social contract. The world is reeling from massive changes: democracies in decline, collapsing social structures, and free-falling economies. Human desperation is everywhere, even as the Earth heals, quietly and patiently, after so many years of abuse.
As we redefine our values and our essentials, perhaps we’re ready for a new paradigm, one that adopts equality as a human right rather than simply paying lip service to a concept. Let’s do that in the new Normal.
In fact, as part of our Corona-inspired angst and the redefinition process, people are making all kinds of pledges: we’ll do more of this, less of that once we’re out of this war. If we agree that social norms will surely change, let’s go a step further. Let’s pledge to end discrimination against women. For real this time; I for one am tired of seeing well-meaning but ineffectual numbers and letters, like menu items – “I’ll have a 1325 with a side of SDG to go, please.” We are redefining our -isms – nationalism, patriotism, sexism, chauvinism, and yes, feminism – and the new definitions will surely struggle to fit in our new Normal.
So as part of the pledge, can we agree to this: an equal workplace. I mean, location-independence has become a reality, and today’s “digital nomad” is more than just a cool title. Can we pledge to hold workplace leaders accountable – can they judge us by the quality of our work product rather than the size of our breasts? Will they value our achievements, decisiveness, and leadership…instead of wanting us to shake our ass “just for a minute.” Let’s stop sexism and misogyny in their tracks.
Can we do this? I’ll borrow from a great leader and say, “Yes, we can!”
Like most pandemics, the CoronaCrisis is temporary. But if we’re going to war on sexism, let’s be in it for the long haul.
I am woman, hear me roar!
Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia
Today I am probably not writing anything new. Most of you already know about the role of women in society. However, I think it is important to keep discussions about women’s roles active to make an impact and a change. The title of my post are lyrics from a song by Helen Reddy from 1971. So this topic is not new and has been sung about, discussed in full-length features, and written about in books. I am going to keep my thoughts and frustrations short.
The role of women in the USA has been changing slowly. More women are taking on high-ranking jobs in corporations than ever before. However, despite the increase of women in the workforce and the great strides women have attained in the past decade, they still lag behind men. They fall short in numbers and salaries when it comes to positions of power, in both corporate and political offices. In addition, most women are still expected to fulfill their domestic duties on their own time.
On the other side of the spectrum, many women have jobs that make the world go round – some of which do not pay for overtime, time off, or sick leave. Yet during the Coronavirus crisis, women are expected to step up and report to work, both physically or remotely. While at home, the role of most women continues to be that of wife, mother, cook, nanny, cleaner, driver, etc., placing so much more stress on them.
What happens when both partners are working from home? Are the domestic duties being shared? Perhaps many households have some sort of shared responsibility, but I can guarantee that in most homes this is still the woman’s burden.
Is it the fact that women can bear children and discuss emotions that make them weak in a “man’s” world? Or is it the preconceived notion of their physical weakness that holds them back? I know of women, pre-corona, who were afraid of exposing their pregnancy to their bosses. Or afraid that if they showed any emotion they would be overlooked for the next promotion. Yes! This is 2020!
This is the perfect time to rise up and make noise. The whole world is experiencing the same dilemma. This is the time for women to show strength and demand change.
At the moment, in the USA the committees and task forces making decisions are male-dominated and do not make decisions from a woman’s perspective. I would like to see a shift in the respect for women in power, an equality for women in the workforce and a protection for women who still experience domestic violence. We should expect equality in the division of labor in the home and demand more assistance designated to single working mothers.
It’s really not too much to ask, but it is important to take every opportunity to make a positive change.
RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon
So when it comes to the role of women, I am a staunch supporter of all women; those on the frontlines, those on the assembly lines, those who are mothers, and those who are just housewives. Not just today; that has been one of my life’s missions.
I have total respect for the women who are carrying more weight on their shoulders today than they ever did. But, once upon a time, not centuries ago, women also were the backbone of society. During the First World War and the Spanish Flu, when women were still the underdog in many societies and yet had to cope with a pandemic without the resources we have today.
For one thing, there was no media like there is today. Each woman had to fend for herself and her family. More than 500 million people died (that’s one third of the world population at the time).
And the superwomen were the ones holding the world together. In Rebecca Onion’s 2019 article, she writes: “While male doctors flailed, women took charge of the day-to-day care for flu sufferers. Perhaps this is another reason why the flu epidemic faded in memory: It was the women who did most of the work, and that work was dangerous drudgery.”
During the Second World War, some of those same women were working in factories making B2 bombers and were still taking care of their families while the men were sent off to fight meaningless wars. They also didn’t have the resources that we have today, but they survived and their families are today’s grandmothers and grandfathers.
Which brings me to today’s Lebanese women.
You are upholding the lockdowns and multi-tasking, between working at home, supporting needy families, managing your long list of daily chores – from children’s online classes to finding the right groceries at the right prices, and taking care of and worrying about parents, and dealing with 24/7 temperaments. Just like women all over the world.
But you are also the mother of our revolution, with more responsibility today than ever. We have a revolution that we need to nourish with our hands and minds.
Will we go back to having coffees and forget the needy families that will still need our help? Will we go back to the gym and forget that we have to build bridges with other women two streets over and close the gap between us? Will we no longer head to the Ring because there are too many people not wearing masks and gloves?
I count on us, DC and AC, to continue our march forward and not to stop until we build a better place for our children to live in.
One day, when we are grandparents, we will tell the story of the October 17 Revolution, which was followed by the 2020 #corona pandemic, to our grandchildren. We will smile with pride. I know we will, because we have already achieved a lot.
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