Colby's Quotes on
Women's Issues

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"In the United States a man beats a woman every twelve seconds" (French 1992, cover).

"..the United States has one of the highest, if not the highest, rates of rape in the world" (French 1992, cover).

"In the United States.. four women die every day as a result of beating by a man" (French 1992, cover).

"...although women do between 65 and 75 percent of the world's work and produce 45 percent of the world's food, they hold only 10 percent of the world's income and 1 percent of the world's property" (French 1992, cover).

"Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-groomed, and unaggressive." - Leslie M. McIntyre

"..the economic disadvantages of women pale in comparison to the statistics on physical assaults on women's bodies. In many countries, men still hold the legal right to beat, torture, imprison, or kill the women they "own"" (French 1992, cover).

"At every stage, and in most, though not all, occupations, women have inferior employment opportunities, inferior promotion prospects and are often given the opportunities they do get in jobs that offer inferior pay and conditions." (Rees-Mogg, 21).

"Women doctors start off with better academic qualifications than men and are appointed to junior hospital positions at the same rate as men, but from the registrar level upwards, women are increasingly under-represented. Only 15% of doctors at the consultant, general practice principal, or equivalent level are women--half as many as should be if women were promoted at the same rate as men." (Lancet, 1007).

"Nowhere in the world have women been more bitterly oppressed than in Spain... [Women] have been suppressed for so long that the mere thought of freedom bewilders them" (Verna C. Millan. Mexico Reborn. NY: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1939, 158-159).

from TIME:
" the highest echelons of corporate managers, fewer than one-half of 1% are female." (Ehrenreich, 15).

"In spite of antidiscrimination laws, women still earn only about 70 percent of what men do...Women's custom of dropping out of the work force for a time to raise children does not appear to be a factor at all. One study found that, for all occupations, the wage gap was 70.5 percent for workers with no interruptions and 69.5 percent for workers with interruptions.

"Discrimination seems the most likely explanation for most of the remainder of the wage gap. Many studies have shown that the same work when identified as performed by men is consistently viewed as more valuable than when attributed to women." (Stoper, 151-162).

"American women from the high school class of 1972 had better grades than men in high school and college, finished their college degrees faster, and had better attitudes toward the education they received. Yet they were rewarded in the job market with lower pay and a higher rate of unemployment." (Update. Academe, 3).

"...all men would be tyrants if they could." (Abigail Adams. Selected Letters.).

"Right now the hot area in the developing issue of "fetal rights" is the use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy...

"Critics of the punitive approach to pregnant drug and alcohol users point out the ironies inherent in treating a public-health concern as a matter for the criminal justice system: the contradiction, for instance, of punishing addicted women when most drug treatment programs refuse to accept pregnant women...

"The focus on maternal behavior allows the government to appear to be concerned about babies without having to spend any money, change any priorities or challenge any vested interests... a complicated, multifaceted problem is construed as a matter of freely chosen individual behavior... Once the problem has been defined as original sin, coercion and punishment start to look like hardheaded and common-sensical answers...

"Studies that show the bad effects of maternal behavior make the headlines, studies that show no bad effects don't get reported and studies that show the bad effects of paternal behavior (alcoholic males, and males who drink at conception, have been linked to lower I.Q. and a propensity to alcoholism in offspring) get two paragraphs in the science section. So did the study, briefly mentioned in a recent issue of The New York Times, suggesting that housewives run a higher risk than working women of having premature babies, stillbirths, underweight babies and babies who die in the first week of life. Imagine the publicity had it come out the other way around!" (Pollitt, 409-418).

"What's striking... is just how LITTLE has changed. The fact that law is no longer classified as a "nontraditional" occupation for women has not made our culture any less graspingly litigious or any more concerned with the rights of the underdog. Women doctors haven't made a dent in the high-tech, bottom-line fixation of the medical profession, and no one would claim that the influx of executive women has ushered in a new era of high-toned business ethics.

"So why haven't our women pioneers made more of a mark? For one thing, women in [leadership positions] are still pathetically scarce. Then there's the exhaustion factor. Women are far more likely to work a "double day" of career plus homemaking. The hand that rocks the cradle--and cradles the phone, and sweeps the floor, and writes the memo, and meets the deadline--doesn't have time to reach out and save the world." (Ehrenreich, 15).

"The primary labor force is characterized by stability, high wages, on-the-job training, substantial fringe benefits, and steady promotion, whereas the secondary labor force is characterized by lack of the above. Women, recent immigrants, young people, old people, and minorities are all clustered in the secondary labor force."

"Women's jobs are clustered at the low end of the prestige continuum."

"Jobs [are] so sex-segregated that 69 percent of the men would have to change occupational groups in order for the distribution of men and women in each of the major occupational categories to be the same as in the labor force as a whole." (Nieva & Gutek, 1981).

read pages 29-30 ("Counting women out of the labor force") and

read pages 15-16 ("Tell me a riddle: who works and who doesn't) Waring, Marilyn. (1988). If women counted: A new feminist economics. San Francisco: Harper & Row. (HC 79 I5 W384 @ PAC LRC)

The status of women in English law. Blackstone, as quoted by Sarah Grimke on the Legal Disabilities of Women, 1838:

"By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law; that is, the very being, or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage... The husband might give his wife moderate correction, as he is to answer for her misbehavior.. The courts of law will.. permit a husband to restrain a wife of her liberty, in case of any gross misbehavior."

Discuss "the rule of thumb".

Why be concerned about women's issues?

Thoreau said that we all have a OBLIGATION to combat moral inequities. If we do nothing, we are encouraging and supporting their continuance.

Martin Luther King reminded us that if we allow injustices to continue, sooner or later they will affect us personally. It's not just THEIR problem; eventually it will be OUR problem.

"It is hard to prove discrimination in societies pervaded by prejudice. It is always possible to find something to attack if you look for it-in any human being.

"If we set out (for a change) to prove men inferior, we could cite the fact that men die at a greater rate than women in every decade of life, that they are emotionally stunted, unable to provide emotional support, cannot have babies or raise them, or even make their own dinners. Subject to hormonal swings that cause them to flare into rages that threaten life (their own and other people's), they are also fascinated by toys, particularly adept at inventing structures that give them the illusion that they are in control.

"They have certain redeeming features: they are sexually passionate, and their irresponsibility frees them to be playful or brilliant about matters unconnected to the real business of life. Surely, such a species should be set in a playpen to amuse itself while women take the burden of responsibility for managing society, raising children, and cooking dinner. If this were the prevailing ideology, individual acts that challenged the definition could be fit into it, and protests by male groups would be seen as resulting from hormonally caused mood swings.

"Whites see black men in white neighborhoods or expensive shops as predators. Whites see black women in rich white neighborhoods as maids or nannies but as prostitutes on city streets and shoplifters in expensive shops. In Moscow, women cannot enter hotels without proof they are guests because the government assumes that any nonresident woman entering a hotel is a prostitute… When I was young, good restaurants would not seat a woman unescorted by a man: women without men were seen as prostitutes.

"This is prejudice, prejudgment of people based on their inherent, unchangeable sex or color. It may be overt, or it may exist on a level beneath consciousness, among people's assumptions" (French 23-4).

News Media Mask Spousal Violence in the "Language of Love"
from 20 Years of Censored News, by Carl Jensen.

"A man guns down his former wife and her new boyfriend; reporters call it a "love triangle."

"A man shoots and kills several co-workers, including a woman who refused to date him; the press reports a "tragedy of spurned love."

"A man kidnaps his estranged wife, rapes her, accuses her of an imaginary affair, and chokes her to death; a reporter writes that he "made love to his wife," then strangled her when "overcome with jealous passion."

"A New York City cop drags his ex-girlfriend out of police headquarters where she works, shoots her four times, killing her, then kills himself; the New York Post headlines it: "Tragedy of a Lovesick Cop."

"Ann Jones, journalism professor and author of Next Time, She'll be Dead: Battering and How to Stop It, charges that the media are part of the problem by masking violence in the language of love. She says, "This slipshod reporting has real consequences in the lives of real men and women. It affirms a batterer's most common excuse for assault: 'I did it because I love you so much.'"

"Noting that every 12 seconds in this country, some man batters his current or former wife or girlfriend, Jones says that battering is currently the leading cause of injury to American women, sending more than one million to doctors' offices or emergency rooms every year.

"According to Jones, it also drives women into the streets with a reported 50 percent of homeless women and kids fleeing from male violence; and it figures in one quarter of all suicide attempts by women and one half of all suicide attempts by black women. According to the American Medical Association, it also injures fetuses in utero: 37 percent of all obstetric patients are battered during pregnancy" (USA Today, p. 316).

"Governments, religions, institutions, and cultural groups that do not openly condone male violence toward women countenance it as a private act outside their provenance.

"The pretense that this violence is not protected by institutional aegis means that humane groups like Amnesty International, for example, cannot intervene to protect women from beatings, imprisonment, mutilation, torture, starvation, rape, and murder WITHIN THE HOME unless these acts are explicitly allowed by law. Indeed, many men even within humane movements refuse to acknowledge that the issue of "human rights" includes women" (French, 21).

A 1985 U.N. report "stated that 35 percent of married European women work for wages; in Africa, women do 75 percent of the agricultural work over and above their work fetching water and firewood, cleaning, cooking, and tending children... In industrialized countries, women work fifty-six hours a week in the home; women in nonindustrial countries spend even more time--besides taking responsibility for procreation" (French, 31).

"Almost all development projects in Africa focus on men. Although women are the farmers in most of Africa, very little help has been channeled to them. Land reform projects transfer land titles to men, which make them eligible for improvement loans and agricultural extension services. Without title to land, women are excluded from these... an African woman farmer ironically remarked, "This one they call farmer; send in teachers to teach him to farm (while I'm out growing the food); lend him money for tractors and tillers (while I'm out growing the food); promise him fortunes if he'd only raise cotton (while I'm out growing the food)"...

"Producing cash crops [like cotton] often raises family income, yet studies of projects that give men new technology to raise cash crops show that despite increased income, the family eats less and poorer food... because the income belongs to the men, who use it to throw "prestige feasts" or buy transistor radios... men gamble, buy liquor, and rent prostitutes, while their families starve--women can no longer raise food for the family because their work and the family land are given over to the men's cash crops. In India, researchers estimate, men spend about 80 percent of their earnings on themselves: motorcycles, radios, watches, television sets, movies, alcohol, and prostitutes... In the United States, too, huge numbers of men desert wives and the children they have fathered, spending more on themselves while the family is forced onto welfare.

Studies also show that when women have resources or earn income at all, children's nutritional levels and well-being improve. Indian women, for example, consistently spend 95 percent of their earnings on their children..." (French, 33-35).

"The most blatantly exploitative form of development is what is called sexploitation or sex-tourism, a new business, tours for men to Third World countries to visit brothels created specially for them, womaned by virtual slaves--girls, often just children, sold into bondage by poor peasant fathers. Sex-tourism was proposed as a development strategy by international aid agencies. Maria Mies writes that the sex industry was first planned and supported by the World Bank, the IMF, and the United States Agency for International Development" (French, 35-6).

"The most devastating indication of our values is that while producing and raising children, maintaining families, and preserving the environment count for nothing in global economic accounting, war is treated as productive and valuable. In 1988, the nations of the world spent over $110 for each man, woman, and child on military expenses--overwhelmingly more than on food, water, shelter, health, education, or protecting the ecosystem.

"Global military expenditures in 1985 were $900 billion, more than the income of half the human race.

".. over 70 million people [are] engaged, directly or indirectly, in military work, work counted as contributing to the GDP of their countries. Military work is counted as a valuable contribution to society; raising children is not.

"..while statees glorify the soldiers who fight the wars, most of those killed in them are women and children. In each minute that passes, thirty children die from want of food or inexpensive vaccines; in that same minute, the world's governments spend $1.3 million.. on military expenditures" (French, 36-7).

"A billion human beings go to bed hungry every night of their lives in chronic undernourishment: the majority are women and children. An average of 50,000 people a day die from starvation and the effects of malnutrition: the majority are women and children.

"In the United States, 12 million children are without medical coverage and 5 million teeter on the edge of homelessness. Poor prenatal care in what may be the richest country in the world means, writes economist Sylvia Hewlett, that "a baby born in the shadow of the White House is now more likely to die in the first year of life than a baby born in Costa Rica"" (French, 38).

Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on median income in the United States in 1987, when for the first time women earned 70 percent as much as men (French, 39-40):

Median Income
Entire population
All men
All women
$381 per week
White men
Black men
Hispanic men
White women
Black women
Hispanic women
Male managers
Male pro's
Male tech's
Female managers
Female pro's
Female tech's

"This is after fifteen years of feminist agitation, begun when women earned only 59 percent of male wages" (French, 40).

For relevant links on the Web, see Women's Issues and Studies on the LRC site INDEX.

Also, check out my recommended Reading List on Women's Issues.


Ehrenreich, Barbara. "Sorry, Sisters, this is not the revolution." Time, Fall, 1990: 15.

French, Marilyn. The War Against Women. NY: Summit, 1992.

Jensen, Carl. 20 Years of Censored News. NY: Seven Stories Press, 1997.

Lancet, "Editorials" Apr.27, 1991: 1007.

Nieva, Veronica F. and Barbara A. Gutek. Women and work: A psychological perspective. Praeger, 1981. Pollitt, Katha. "A new assault on feminism." The Nation, March 26, 1990: 409-418.

Rees-Mogg, W. "The TV monopoly of the middle-aged male." Independent , Mar. 18, 1991: 21.

Stoper, Emily. "Women's work, women's movement: Taking stock." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May, 1991: 151-162.

Update. Academe, July-August, 1991: 3.

USA Today, 3/10/94, "Crimes Against Women: Media Part of Problem for Masking Violence in the Language of Love," by Ann Jones.

Waring, Marilyn. If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988. (HC 79 I5 W384 @ PAC LRC)

Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS
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