Rebuttal to Margaret Wente

Wouldn’t it be great if the Globe and Mail ran a regular column that responded to Margaret Wente? They don’t and I’m not a journalist, but I will respond here to her article published on March 8th. The Globe does not like people linking directly to their articles, so I’ll just note the title, “A Legacy of Success.”

In Margaret Wente’s world, women are white and have lots of class, education, and other privilege. I’m not sure where she lives, but it is not the reality that I see on campus at the University of Victoria or one that I am completely familiar with in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties in Southern California. My reality or familiarity with women’s realities varies. See here I use the plural as we cannot use the singular, since it doesn’t speak to the varied ways that women live their lives in the West.

It is no doubt that the 20th and 21st centuries have held some of the largest gains for women in the West. We do have more women completing school and attending college. However, our social mores and social policies have not changed quite as quickly to aid families with these changes. We still see women doing more care work in and outside of the home. We see that the economic Gender Gap between women and men has increased. And, this is only looking at women and men and not disaggregating the numbers for different racial and ethnic groups, as the gap is wider. Women might live longer, but more apt to work in the Pink Collar Ghetto. Thanks to this we see that the feminization of poverty continues. More women are poor or vulnerable.

We might have some of the most educated women in the West ever–according to Wente, however, if the economic Gender Gap is increasing and so few women are leaders of Fortune 500 companies one might surmise that there is more work to be done. Right? Then, if we look to the criminal justice system. We see that Aboriginal women constitute some 20-25% of the incarcerated federally, yet Aboriginal people as whole constitute only 4% of the population in Canada. Thus, Aboriginal women are over-represented in prisons in Canada. If we were to look at racialized or women of color in the US, we would also see that they are over-represented in prisons. Angela Davis and Julia Sudbury have each spoken to the problems of racism and the Prison Industrial Complex. The struggle is not over.¬† Continue reading