What a lovely way to begin the month of March by honoring women. We really don’t need a month to honor our genes because we honor ourselves daily but it’s nice to be formally recognized as empowered beings. Actually, I had no idea that March was women’s month until Cal Tech asked me to give a speech on “Empowering the New Woman” on March 7th. I had to actually find why we had a month to be honored. I still don’t know exactly, but I kind of like it. Put me up on a pedestal, darling, and wait on me hand and foot for a month. Oh, that’s not exactly what they mean by honoring, is it? But I’ll just take the accolades and shut up. Better yet, I’ll honor the pioneers who came before to fight for political, economic, and social equality. We’re not quite there yet, but we’ve got more abundance today than ever before, I think. Well, at least we are not in the mental gridlock of complete scarcity.
While doing research for my speech, I ran across some interesting statistics. Women comprise over 50% of the work force in the U.S. Women technically can’t be pushed out of a job for being pregnant- really, this in the 21st century, guys – because federal and state laws ban discrimination agains pregnant women in the workplace. But they can sideline you by saying “you got too fat and can’t handle the forklift.” You see, pregnancy is not considered a disability and employers are not obligated to accommodate most pregnant workers in any way. Safety, comfort, really? Cute, huh?
Not really because thousands of pregnant women are pushed out of jobs that they are perfectly capable of performing – either put on unpaid leave or simply fired – when they request an accommodation to help promote a healthy pregnancy. Single mothers are disproportionately low-income women, mostly the major breadwinners and are often in physically demanding jobs with little flexibility.
But 50% female employment is nothing to shake a stick at. We are empowered by shear numbers. States like California passed law requiring private employers to provide at least some accommodations. But we’ve still got a long way to go because there are a myriad of inequalities when it comes to pregnant women’s employment. Three-quarters of women now entering the work force will become pregnant on t he job. This means that the gaps in civil rights laws leave women without even the most modest accommodations that would project them. New York is doing something about this. Good for New York? What about Kansas and Nebraska? Alabama anyone?
Of interest to me also is the fact that over 50% of people in the U.S. are single. There are more single women than single men. There are more single-person households than there are married-with-children households. Denver, Washington and Altlanta – more than 40 % of the households are one person dwellings. In Manhattan, about half o the households are single. Mostly women.
Thereis trend here. Some politicians in our country have missed it We are no longer defined by permanent social roles: mother father, priest. We have more freedom today, more choices and we move between flexible networks, interests groups, social groups, grazing from network to network depending on needs. Singles don’t’ want to look like other generations.
Affluence, feminism – women have more power to define their lives. We are smart, ambitious, talented, clever dynamic flexible individuals who display little of the fear and loathing and bitterness of former generations. Singles surf the net for endless and amazing possibilities. Single crave exploring interests, identities, lifestyles and capabilities. Brava! Bravo!
So what are singles going to do with their new-found social capital? Find a happier life with their ability to adapt to change, achieve their highest level of well being, reach their human potential, be better parents if they choose, be openly emotionally honest, stop collecting injustices, move forward and be brave.
What’s wrong with that?
Let’s honor some women out there.