In a recent talk: Who Broke Feminism? The Obligation of Privilege, the Feminist scholar Emma Rees, named two factors (among others) responsible for that breakage. The first one is Neo-Liberalism, and we witnessed its overwhelming popularity in the last US election. The second one, unfortunately, are the women themselves. A proof of that we saw in the surprising number of women who voted for Donald Trump in that same election, in spite of his infamous disrespect and harassment of women.
To show solidarity to my American sisters, I came this morning at 10am to march in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. In addition to our rally, there are over 600 sister marches, planned in 57 countries today. I read that Women’s March Against Trump has turned into a “Global Day Of Action.”
My reasons for protesting in solidarity with American women are also personal. My two daughters were born in the US and they live there. Life in the US for career women has never been easy, but now when a man like Trump is the president I have every reason to worry.
I don’t want to appear disloyal to women, and to our cause, but to all those women who voted for Donald Trump, I would like to describe the difficult situation that your daughters, sisters, and granddaughter are already facing today in the public sphere.
For generations women have been wrestling with the issue of combining home and work, whether you are a young mother balancing work and children, or an older mother attempting to get back in, the workplace in general is not a friendly environment for women and for mothers of all ages. Although in order to have a career, women have always paid a high price, their compensation—the salary is normally lower than that of the men.
Still, the gap in salary doesn’t mean that women receive more considerations for their effort at the work place and at home. Every career woman knows that she would most likely not be hired if she is interviewed for a job when pregnant. If she has a job her maternity leave is ridiculously short. And back at work, she has to prove that motherhood has not made her an inferior worker.
Only 2 years ago, disguised as a generous concern for their female employees, Facebook and Apple announced that they would cover the expense of freezing the eggs of their female employees, those companies are gaining control of the biological clock of the women and set it according to their own schedule.
The decade between 30 and 40 is crucial for one’s career, but it is also the last opportunity for women to have a healthy baby, and many times to have a baby at all. Like making a deal with the devil, this cynical move could harm women as it lulls them into believing that they could continue giving their best years to the company as the clock has stopped ticking.
And speaking of private companies, the American people chose as their president the epitome of a cynical businessman. With so little to show for can women afford to lose everything that they have worked so hard to get? The women who march today all over the world say NO.
The essay first appeared in the Times Of Israel