Re: Educational brainstorming

Barbara J Tavares (
Thu, 7 May 1998 09:39:46 -1000

I don't disagree with a thing John Meyer expressed over the observation
that feminists seem more concerned with getting women into technology,
over getting men into the humanities, elementary education, etc.

I would also add that those are important goals to be worked toward.

For myself, the source of my interest in gender equity was the disparity
between male and female incomes. I observed this first hand as a
Headstart teacher in the 70s. I would see very bright young women in
their 20s with 3 or 4 children who had fulfilled their "destiny" as a
mother and sometimes a wife, and were totally "let down" by the other
parent, only to land on welfare. Often they had no idea that they were
smart or capable of additional life options. Others stayed in violent
domestic relationships because of the fear of no financial support for
their children.

As a single parent in the 80s I seriously considered leaving human
development because, despite a graduate degree, earned so little income in
my female dominated profession as to feel I was limiting options for my
own children.

I think my sons would have benefited greatly from more male teachers and
role models at a younger age. But I can only be an activist on so many
things at a time, so I'm glad there are people out there like Craig Flood
who are working on this. However, my work on economic equity is not
finished. I support the suggestions made in John's statement, and see
them as very complimentary to my agenda, in fact the other side to the
same to the same coin.

Arguments about who has it the create heat, but not light. When
doing awareness workshops I use to start with participants brainstorming
inequities between genders. I didn't get drafted into Vietnam, never felt
compelled to grab the check, or have a life expectancy that is six years
less than the other gender. There is plenty of work for everyone and the
gender equity effort needs support on many fronts.

Barbara Tavares
University of Hawaii

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