The Effect of the Mommy Track and Intersectionality on Gender Equality

by bdona11 on November 18, 2016 - 5:48pm

            It was clear to me after reading the comments on my previous blog post that I needed to further develop points on topics that I briefly talked about in my last post. Two commentors told me that it would be a good idea to read the articles that they posted in their comments so that I could further develop my points about the two issues. The two issues that the commentors want me to further develop my point on are Intersectionality and the mommy track. To do this I will use the articles that they provided for me to look at, as well as, one or two that I found myself. They are titled "'Intersectional feminism'. What the hell is that?(And why you should care)", by Ava Vidal and then there is "Hey millenial women--let's get past the idea that career and family is either-or" by Mollie Spilman. Let's start by talking about the idea of intersectionality and how it effects women and the wage gap.

             Intersectionality was a term coined in 1989 by an American professor named Kimberle Crenshaw. According to, "'Intersectional feminism'. What the hell is that? (And why you should care)", by Ava Vidal, "The textbook definition states: 'The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.'" This basically means that some women are not only being discriminated against at their jobs because they are women, but also because they are of a different race. Age is also a contributor to this as well. White women are discriminated against, don't get me wrong, but the issue is much worse for women of color and there is stats to prove. As stated in, "Ten facts you might not know about the gender pay gap", by Laura Bates, from theguardian.com, a predominately British news organization, "Research by Race for Opportunity found that Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers make up a disproportionate number of people in low-paid jobs, with almost a quarter (23%) of Pakistani employees and a fifth of Bangladeshi, Chinese and Black Caribbean workers earning less than 25,000 per year. It also found that a white British employee has an average of almost four promotions during their career, compared to just 2.5 for British African, Indian and Pakistani employees. Figures from the Low Pay Commission found that 15.3% of Pakistani/Bangladeshi workers earned the minimum wage--more than twice the number of white workers in minimum wage jobs. And the wage gap is wider for older women than for their younger colleagues, with women in their fifties earning nearly a fifth less than men of the same age." So not only is this a major problem in the U.S., but it is a major issue all over the world. Lastly, Ava Vidal says, "Intersectionality is still a relatively new term for the masses - and yet its message is one that surely any feminist can relate to: start listening to and including various groups of women, and their multi-layered facets and experiences of life, and respect them, in the overall debate." This is a message that is important for everyone to see around the world because it could help start getting things equal between women of different races as well. Now lets move on to talking about the "Mommy Track".

              This "Mommy Track" idea is a belief that creating a family will effect your career tremendously, whether it be by wage or some other thing. Some even believe that it is a choice between family or career, but it doesn't have to be either-or, according to, "Hey millenial women--let's get past the idea that career and family is either-or" by Mollie Spilman. According to this article, "While there are notable women in powerful roles at huge companies--Mary Barra, Ginni Rometty, and Sheryl Sandberg to name a few--many still don't feel like they have the opportunity or have the support system to advance their careers and maintain a fulfilling home life." This statement can be proven by the fact that "63% of millenial women believe that having children will make it harder for them to advance their career, and 56% of working moms find it very or somewhat difficult to balance careera and family responsibilities." Well, the author tries to provide the reader with a set of things that will allow women to both fulfill career responsibilities and home responsibilities. Some of the things she includes are creating realistic expectations and communicating them, find or create the right culture, and speak with other women that have experienced similar events in thier career and home life. In my opinion, that is a pretty good start for advice for maintaing both a career and home life as a woman with a family. There is still more that can be done to fulfill both roles, but that is a pretty good start.

                As you can see, there is many different things that go into what effect women and their careers, including intersectionality and the "Mommy Track". We also found that these are issues that are dealt with in other places around the world besides America. But in my opinion, it is going to get much worse for women of every race in America now that Donald Trump has been elected our President. Now I don't want to turn this into an anti-Trump thing because it has been going on far before him, but intersectionality and the effects of the "Mommy Track" are going to get much worse than it is now because he is both sexist and racist. And that doesn't bode well for this continuing battle over gender equality and the wage gap. The election and the campaign of Donald Trump is what made me want to write about this topic because I felt that as a male someone had to speak up for the equality of women. Now I am not a feminist or anything, I am just a person that believes in equality for all, no matter race or gender. Please talk about this issue with others around you so we could further the discussion before we no longer have the chance.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/nov/10/ten-things-you-shou...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10572435/Intersectional-fem...

http://qz.com/449750/hey-millennial-women-lets-get-past-the-idea-that-ca...

Comments

Hi there!
I thought that you brought up some really interesting points about feminism in your post, that really rang true with me. Intersectionality is a major issue in feminism these days as so often, we only hear about the plights of white women and feminism has predominantly been about white women for so long, even though women of different races do face much more discrimination in many cases, as you pointed out in your post. I think that this is very important to discuss in order to confront our biases and privileges as white women (people), and to speak up about injustices, we need to be more aware of and educated about the issues faced by women of all races and orientations as everyone has a different experience. This can come from being intersectional. Another important concept is ally-ship. It is important that as white people, we give people and women of colour the space to speak openly about their experience and we simply listen and support them, rather than trying to solve all of their problems as we see fit. I think that the only way your post could be improved is if you discussed what it means to be an intersectional feminist and an ally. It is also important to consider the struggles faced by women in the developing world rather than just Western nations as feminism also seeks to end injustices faced by women in other countries like child marriage, FGM, etc.

The one point in your post that I would argue with is your assertion that you are not a feminist. The very definition of feminism is equality between genders, which is what you said you believe in, which is great, and to me, says that you are a feminist! And I know that there has been a negative connotation placed on the word feminism lately as a small portion of "feminists" have give the term a bad name by asserting that women should be dominant over men or something, but this is simply not what feminism stands for. I believe that men have a unique opportunity to identify as intersectional feminists because they have more influence to create change in many instances, and unfortunately, I think that men identifying as feminists will more likely give the movement more legitimacy and hopefully help it to move along more. If more men like you identified as feminists, it might help the movement very much.

Overall, you wrote a great post, highlighting some interesting and important issues facing feminism and women today. Feminism is a very complex term and is extremely multi-faceted so it is difficult to cover it effectively, but I thought you discussed certain parts of it very well.

Hey,
I really enjoyed reading your follow up piece and have found that you've really expanded on your ideas and explored new avenues. As the above comment states, feminism is a very complex subject that has many different dimensions but, nonetheless, I feel that you did an effective job of taking other people's recommendations on your last post and synthesizing that information here. I was recently reading an article about CEOs of S&P 500 Companies of which women only made up 4.6% which is very small and really illustrates limitations that seem to exist on the promotion of women in the workplace. This isn't really an intersectional observation but is still indeed upsetting and reading this post reminded me of it.
The "Mommy Track" is also troubling and I think you do a very good job of illustrating the pressures placed on a women who wishes to have a career and children. Its really frightening to think that often this is a choice that has to be made due to the "double burden" of having to work and then come home to perform unpaid domestic labour, leading to what may feel like a double work day.
Finally, you say that you are not a feminist but wrote that you believe in exactly what the definition of feminism is "equality for all". Don't be afraid to call yourself a feminist, it is this sort of fear and apprehension that can diminish the legitimacy of the movement.
Great post!

http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500

Hi there!
I can see how you have improved from your last post! But there are still a few things I think could improve your writing further. Your use of quotation was a tad extensive - although they were highly informative, it's much more powerful to put statistics into your own words and you opinions could be expanded within that. I think that may help you for the future!
But besides that, thank you for bringing this issue to light on this forum. As a woman I am subject to this kind of discrimination without even being aware of it. Personally, I've always pictured myself with a family and a good job as that was the household I was brought into with my mom working probably twice as hard as my father. Although I have been nurtured by a privileged definition of a woman as a caucasian, I have never failed to acknowledge these inequalities that must be done with in our society and will advocate for any minority and I thank you for being a male coming forward on this issue! We need more men like you!
And I was going to say the exact same thing another blogger had posted because when I read your last statement on saying that you are not a feminist I was a little big saddened that this word has gained such a negative connotation. Feminism is exactly what you are expressing - equality for all! It is not just a bunch of man-hating women, and if the world stopped seeing feminism as that, then equality would flourish the way we all want it to.

Anyways, Great post!!!
-Christina