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'A New Direction for Feminism'

September 12, 1986

I am concerned that Norman Podhoretz is missing a very important point in his article, "The Dropouts are Telling Us Something." The reason that many successful women are quitting work to take care of their children is not likely to be due to women having "different natures from men" but due to a subtle form of discrimination that has built up over many years.

Since women have traditionally taken care of children, it is expected that they will continue to do so. The husband of the working woman probably prefers that his wife will be the one that invests the most effort in raising their children so that he will be able to continue his career and won't have to explain the situation to his friends.

The parents of the working woman would probably like to see their child put the same kind of effort into raising their grandchildren as they did into raising her.

Many of the friends of the working woman are performing traditional homemaking roles and believe that she should do the same.

And finally, due to all these pressures that have been acting on her since she was a child, the working woman herself has internalized more of a need to care for her children than the working man.

Two important steps must occur over the next few generations in order to equalize the opportunity for men and women to work and raise families in the manner in which they individually choose.

First, child care and flexible employment plans are necessary so that raising a family and being employed are not in such direct conflict.

Second, people must come to accept the idea that a man can take as much of an active role in raising his children as a woman can take in raising hers.

Podhoretz is only making excuses for the status quo by implying that the current situation is innate. We need to make constructive efforts to help all our citizens make the best possible marriage of career and family.



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