Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Patriarchy Evolved from Lack of Birth Control

In the last 40 years, women in many cultures have been successfully transferring their work efforts to the realm of business, where they get paid for their skills as opposed to bartering for a husband's income, in order to survive financially and protect their children.

Not only in wealthy countries, but women in Africa, who do 80% of the farming for their households, and on average 60% for their country's national exports, are creating small businesses to supplement their income, (without any training in business, mind you), from the extra produce they have and a wide range of other skills, many making a living in trading and transferring goods to other businesswomen from urban areas. These women usually don't have income coming in from their husbands and have to survive through their own ingenuity. As a result, 60% of West Africa's businesses are businesses run by women.

In India you have NGO's providing equipment and facilities to women, who then collaborate with other women in their village to film news and documentaries for broadcast. Networking with other women in the region through these broadcasts, and by posting political efforts on the web, enables them to change government policies and socio-economic situations for themselves through solidarity.

In Bolivia, NGO's operate as women's centers to network women and teach classes on their legal rights, which they promptly put to use by changing the rules of the house for their domestic-abusing husbands, or simply by kicking them out.

But the fact that many industries and institutions have evolved out of social networks of men and have been dominated by them is no surprise given women's physical vulnerability to pregnancy and the lack of birth control throughout history. The public arena of society has been dominated by men through much of history not because of their mental savvy, but because of all the free time on their hands from dodging the time-consuming work of raising their own children. 

Apparently, this left the entire job up for grabs, and the female parents of these children didn't have the heart to leave it undone. So many women chose to labor at supplying the needs of the children they birthed, even at the expense of neglecting social opportunities for gaining prestige and notoriety, when they could have invested themselves in the public arena along with men from 3500 B.C. onwards, establishing income for themselves through trade, creating fields of paid work where women were commonplace and welcome, and expanding upon them to build industries and institutions around women in power.

It actually is to women's credit that a predominant number did not leave their children to fend for themselves to advance their careers, in the fashion of their male counterparts, and instead chose the altruistic option of applying their wits to farming for an extra person, or two, or twelve, (as the case usually is in a country without birth control, or man control), until such children are physically independent. This of course resulted in the absence of women and accumulation of men in schools and social positions, in turn resulting in an accumulation of wealth and social networks by men, reinforcing their economic independence and ability to fund institutions or governments to their interests and favor. The many women who did avoid pregnancy to achieve discoveries and great contributions to science, medicine, philosophy, exploration, literature, and political relations, (that's another blog), were frequently ignored by established fields, which neglected to mention where their new developments originated from, due to the human tendency to often ignore the existence and influence of the social outsider in the group. 

Evidence that this was the case in history, besides historical accounts of women's lives, is that this scenario is still going on in countries in Africa and rural areas of India where women have no access to birth control and are impregnated young, forcing them out of schools and job opportunities and resulting in them working often 18-20 hour days, farming to supply their children with food on top of all their other work and efforts to generate income through small business on the side. They have no time to rub elbows with administrators to change the fact that they aren't legally allowed to own the land they farm, (having to pay rent for it on top of all their other expenses), -the needs of these extra people in their lives keeps them too busy.

Whereas, in countries with birth control, (which has become available to women only in the last 60 years -think about that for a minute), women have advanced their careers all over the place, a few even becoming multi-millionaires (Oprah and the like) and CEO's, etc., many becoming independently wealthy -this only in one generation of women's access to birth control.

So, that is why women's solidarity and widespread economic advancement is only now occurring, and why women contributors to civilization have been written out of history books, and why women should not internalize any of their past or present exclusion from business or politics as any shame of their own. Rather, it is indicative of their moral conscience and character in societies where birth control and abstinence are prevented from being options for them.

For more on the dynamics behind women's poverty and their isolation from the work-force and government, and what birth control has to do with it, read the literature review Women in Developing Countries.

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