Monday, March 18, 2019

Misogynists Run Amuck

Here's a great piece about what might happen if more teachers were men. You look around, all over the country, and see teachers treated like third-class citizens. The writer cites a particularly outrageous practice in her own state:
Over the past few years, the Kentucky government has “borrowed” funds from teacher pensions and then refused to give it back. To be clear, this is money the teachers have paid into the system, themselves, for their own retirement, and the state has essentially stolen it.

That's not really unique, unfortunately. We have a contract with our employers, an agreement that we will work for so long and then be eligible for pensions. State after state violates these agreements. New Jersey and Illinois spring to mind. They may or may not brazenly steal the money, but they're failing to contribute their part, even though we contribute ours.

How is it that politicians can stand up in front of God and everybody and make absurd pronouncements like, "I like teachers. I just don't like teacher unions." Who do they thing teacher unions are? Are they armies of recalcitrant bullfrogs? Last I looked, there were teachers in teacher unions.

So you have to ask yourself, would politicians around the country muster the audacity to treat us like this if were were mostly male? I'm gonna say probably not. I hear politicians cavalierly refer to teaching as a "part time job," and excoriate us for having summers off. Do you think those red state governors could get up in front of 34 teenagers five times a day and do this job? I don't. You can't just get up in front of them like they're a Fox News audience and make stuff up until they leave you alone.

When I was very young, most families were one-income. My father worked, and my mother didn't. The guy across the street from us had a job at a Taystee Bread factory. He had a wife and five kids and owned his own house. He probably made more than teachers did. And although now many more women work, and not nearly as many men could support their families on one income, the old prejudices remain. The writer of the piece says, if more teachers were men:

Teachers would make more money. Salaries would be higher across the field because it would be widely assumed and accepted that “teachers need to make a living to support a family!” This is how the pay gap still exists in our wider economy. But it is a fact that wages remain low in predominantly female professions, such as teaching, nursing and childcare. These are critical skills and services, without which society would collapse on itself; and yet, because we value women less, we pay less for their work. 

I'm struck by the childcare model as well. I have family members working for minimum wage taking care of children. Meanwhile my nephew, in his twenties, was just offered a job managing childcare facilities. His mom runs one, and the woman who's charged with inspecting it saw fit to offer him this job. Although he lives with his mom, he's never worked for her, and he has no experience whatsoever in child care. Neither my sister-in-law nor anyone who actually works for her, all women, got this job offer.

In the United States, we're still unable to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and guarantee that women will be paid the same as men for performing the same service. We have a President who demeans women in the most outrageous fashion. We have a bunch of states disenfranchising voters of color, and in Florida, where the people passed a referendum to return voting rights to felons, the Republican governor is going to do everything in his power to thwart their will.

Sometimes I feel like we're moving backward. How are we gonna turn the tide?
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