[EDEQUITY Equity Now] The cards were only stacked in one direction

From: Thomas Wilson (wilsont@dteenergy.com)
Date: Thu May 23 2002 - 15:00:09 EDT

In relation to the following Craig Flood's point's;

"I agree the relationships between gender, education and the labor
market are critical. Your point about boys dropping out and still being
economically self-sufficient was historically true for some boys, but I
believe it is less and less the case in our current economy, especially
for minority and lower SES boys."

"I wanted to respond to your question: "Who isn't concerned that huge
numbers of *both* boys and girls drop out or are "pushed out" of school?

I want to make a personal observation, which I cannot support by
research. My belief is that we are working to develop an environment
where men and women, girls and boys, equally or equivalently share the
rewards and opportunities of life. In the system we are moving from,
men mainly took and have most monitory wealth and most institutional
decision making power. The cards were only stacked in one direction.
In the same system we may be moving from, without the power or wealth to
decline, women were almost exclusively the appointed group to nurture
everyone (unfortunately including being labeled as the only ones who
could clean toilets, tubs and cloths, etc.).

I feel support, burdens and opportunities should be equally available to
women and men. It is a real effort to learn how to do this. I agree
with Craig Floods valid concerns for the growing number of boys who are
disconnected though. A concern I have is that since many men seriously
lack the willingness to nurture, since many men lack developed nurturing
skills and lack a nurturing network to rely on now, in the big picture,
this to is a problem. There may not be enough existing sensitivity in
enough men, for men to effectively help many of our own gender at this

It is my view that until more men consciously decide on their own to
take on nurturing skills, until more men decide on their own to ask and
allow women to help them learn and share these skills with them, until
more men want to routinely volunteer to share "domestic" work and all
decision making with women, we will continue to experience a situation
where many men have low nurturing skills and low domestic involvement and
women who have skills, but don't have enough decision making power to
adequately change institutional missions so they, not we, can respond to
issues such as our disconnected boys. This assumes women should want to do
this in place of men showing more of a willingness to help their own.

We clearly need a strategy that attracts and helps men to want to and to
know how to become nurturing and relationship skillful. It seems to me
that in this current climate, we will get increased support for more boys
and girls faster, by both encouraging and helping men grow in this
nurturing skill area plus having more women at the highest levels of
decision making, in both
educational and business institutions ASAP. I feel our topic of
celebrating Title IX is important. Celebrating and re-emphasizing a
tool we should want to use to make sure our educational institutions
offer support, burdens and opportunities that are equally available to
women and men, so men will better know that equal treatment is valued by
our society and so more women will reach those important decision making

Tom Wilson, Initiator
Michigan Gender Equity Team

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