Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Books · From sex to glass ceilings
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From sex to glass ceilings

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - November 2nd, 2009
From Sex to Glass Ceilings
The Shriver Report Updates Women’s Progress

THE SHRIVER REPORT:
A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything
By Maria Shriver, edited by Heather Boushey
Available as an ebook or as a free PDF download at www.americanprogress.org/issues

By Elizabeth Buzzelli 11/2/09


Women have come a long way, according to a new study on women published this month as The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.
The report, available only as an e-book or as a free online download, was authored by Maria Shriver and edited by Heather Boushey (a senior economist with The Center for American progress), and Ann O’Leary (Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security).
For the first time in American history, Shriver stresses, one-half of all workers in the workplace are females; a woman is the sole breadwinner in 20 percent of all families; one-half of all families rely on the earnings of two parents; and 70 percent of families include a working mother.
That’s a long way from 1963 when a study chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Mead found the role of women: “most generally approved by counselors, parents, and friends is the making of a home, the rearing of children, and the transmission to them in their earliest years of the values of the American heritage.”
So, according to Shriver et al, we’ve come a long way but now that the problems are identified, we still have a long way to go—in new directions. It turns out that the title of the report is a little misleading. It isn’t really a woman’s nation any more than it is a man’s nation. America is a shared nation. With childcare, elder care, holding on to faith, gender issues, pay, education—issues for all.

REFORMS NEEDED
The writers of the many chapters given here say what is needed most are changes in our institutions. Government, which still views the roles of women as outmoded stereotypes, needs to: reform our anti-discrimination laws so that employers cannot discriminate against or exclude women when offering workplace benefits; update our social insurance system to reflect new family responsibilities; increase support to families for child care, early education, and elder care.
Corporations must change worker policies. Especially since the United States is the only industrialized country without any requirement that employers provide paid family leave.
Colleges and universities need to take the ‘new student’ into account since: “Only a handful of major research universities offer any paid leave for graduate students and postdocs, and some have no leave policy at all,” leaving women of child-bearing years off the fast-track for well-paying research jobs.
Churches pay no attention to women so over-stressed they have no time for their spiritual lives. The marketplace does little to work around women’s new job hours. All parts of our culture must come together, the writers say, in order to create the kind of society we want and need to have.
In “The New Breadwinners,” Heather Boushey looks at where women are working, and what this means for the economic well-being of women and their families. What is new here is pinpointing the failure of institutions to keep up with the realities of American life. Beginning with government and Nixon’s anti-childcare veto, the author points to families trying to juggle child-care and elder care with no help from corporations or the government.
“Political leaders talk about ‘family values,’” the writer says, “but too often real reforms are set aside when it comes time to draw up the federal budget or do the heavy legislative lifting to ensure that women and men can raise their children, care for their elders, and continue to earn the incomes they need to survive and thrive in today’s economy.”

OLD IDEAS
Government policies, according to the writer, are rooted in the idea that the American family is still a single breadwinner with a woman at home to take care of the: “kids, the aged, and the infirm while the breadwinner is at work.”
Other chapters in the report look at institutions which have made no move to change how they do business, to their own detriment. In public schools kids are still let out in the middle of the afternoon—when no parent is available to pick them up. Summer vacation is three months long, a figure parent’s schedules can never match. The schools, in turn, suffer from the loss of women running PTAs, helping in schools, minding lunchrooms, performing as teacher’s aides—with no idea how to replace them.
Also feeling the loss are churches, homeless shelters, and fund-raising organizations which find themselves scrambling to fill the jobs volunteers once held.
Doctors and dentists rarely have evening or weekend appointments. Repair people keep to daily work hours though a good half of their customers either have to take time off from work to be there, or arrange for a family member to take over.
What is clear, is that our society, our culture, and our institutions haven’t kept up with the needs of a rapidly changing world.
In “Where Have You Gone, Roseanne Barr?,” Susan J. Douglas writer: “On any given evening, in fictional television, you will see female police chiefs, surgeons, detectives, district attorneys, partners in law firms and , on “‘24,’ a female president of the United States. Reality TV offers up the privileged ‘real’ housewives of New York, Atlanta, and New Jersey, all of whom devote their time to shopping or taking their daughters to acting coaches.” All of this while on news programs there is minimal coverage of women and the issues affecting them. All of these roles are great, says the author, but then she asks: “What’s wrong with these fantasy portraits of power? ...and, what happened to everyday women in the media?”
Other chapters look at faith in our new society, at the immigrant woman worker, and at the new families. In a section from Dan Mulhern, first gentleman of Michigan, he talks about dealing with his own issues as husband of Michigan’s governor. “I learned what ‘first ladies,’ executive’s wives, and just about every girl or woman on the globe felt for decades when someone looked past them as though they weren’t there. These moments helped me appreciate the ways in which we marginalize people and why inclusion is not only nice and just, but makes incredible sense.”
From sex to glass ceilings, the Shriver Report examines every facet of the modern woman’s life. The people who have worked so hard to identify these new problems facing our nation ask that you join the conversation with your own ideas. A Woman’s Nation may be reached at www.awomansnation.com.
Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli can be reached at ebuzzelli@aol.com

 
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