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April 8

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

Dale Spender on Women and Economics


QUOTE by Charlotte Bronte.

Women and Economics

      "Women are economically deprived and this has consequences; it is patently obvious that less than 10% of the world's wages and less than 1 per cent of the world's worth is simply not enough to go around more than half the world's population, so women must turn to those who control the resources if they are to survive. Women must turn to men: as Cicely Hamilton stated in 1909, 'women must trade themselves in order to eat their bread.'
      "While many women, if free to choose might choose not to trade, might choose to defy patriarchal order and to validate women's experience rather than seek the approval of men, in practice few women have the privilege of choosing the rules by which to live their lives.
      "The choices for women are often constrained by the necessity to earn their bread and they are obligated to cultivate the good will of their masters, to support the view of the males as the superior sex, to be 'agreeable' to employer, husband, father.
      "This pattern of behavior is one which girls have been taught for centuries and it is a pattern which helps perpetuate patriarchy. Part of the structure of male power and female subservience is that for most women who want their supper there is the requirement that they must first sing.
      "To be 'disagreeable', to defy patriarchy under these circumstances, to look to women rather than men is `to bite the hand that feeds you' - and could well lead to being deprived of your supper.
            -- Spender, Dale, revised edition. Man Made Language. London: Pandora Press, 1985. Spender in this book which was her doctorate thesis also hits hard at grammarian claims that the English language developed "accidentally" into male dominance of terms.

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B. 04-08-1865, Albion Fellows Bacon, housing reformer who was instrumental in drafting and getting passed a model state law in Indiana which regulated tenement dwellings, also one that allowed the condemning of unsafe or unsanitary dwellings.

B. 04-08-1886, Margaret Ayer Barnes, writer. Her novels and plays explore the theme of women choosing marriage and the traditional role of wives over feminist principles, facing a crisis and resolving it by returning to the socially accepted roles. Divorce, problems with children, sex, and adultery are discussed honestly.
      She had been influenced to write while at Bryn Mawr by its feminist president M. Carey Thomas. Years of Grace (1930) won the Pulitzer Prize.

B. 04-08-1905, Ilka Chase, actress and author, daughter of Vogue editor, fashion doyen Edna Woolman Chase.

B. 04-08-1913, Sonja Heinie, figure skater, won world championship figure skating for ten consecutive years.

B. 04-08-1918, Betty Ford, U.S. First Lady acknowledged as a working partner to U.S. President Gerald. Went public with her mastectomy to bring the procedure out of the closet as well as admitting to drug and alcohol addiction.

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      "Neither birth nor sex forms a limit to genius."
            -- Charlotte Bronte

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