Janice's blog

Thursday, April 01, 2004

If Women Ruled the World -- the DE UK mailing list asked us to discuss this.

I think the most important point covered by the show -- which showed some hypothetical ways the world would change if women were the dominant gender -- was how differently women would work if they could. This same point was brought up at the Women in IT conference some of us attended last year. Women -- especially those with families and an even more special case for those older women in the sandwich generation living with children and aging parents -- find the 9 to 5 work day stifling. Greater flexibility in hours and workplace arrangements, telecommuting, acceptance of need to take care of family business without workplace/career penalty, would all make the working woman's world more palatable. The show highlighted the woman's day in an exaggerated but reasonably accurate fashion -- get up, make sure the rest of the family get off on the right foot, go to work, business lunch or eat at your desk, finish work, go home -- probably late, take care of family matters interspersed with business interruptions, go to bed, get up and start over. It is absolutely true that the working week is oriented towards the needs of the male.

Someone on the list asked why a woman of 50+ would be considering a new baby. IMO this is not farfetched. Older women going through menopause often have these thoughts, albeit nostalgic. Older women suddenly single may also experience fear that their final chances for motherhood are gone. And older women in second relationships also have these thoughts -- a new baby with a new man. If in the future -- as portrayed by this show -- they did not have to go through the pregnancy, did not have to worry about the health issues older motherhood may bring to themselves or offspring, and did not to pay the workplace/career penalties, this could certainly become somewhat of a reality.

The difficult part for me was seeing that the generation above and below the woman featured were not happy with things. Perhaps this is realistic -- generational gaps in philosophy will always exist. However, it did paint a picture of a world that may not progress in the right direction and of a status quo that might be flawed. So the writers' biases were showing. They were also showing when they portrayed men as the underdog, fighting for equal opportunity. I'd like to think that if women were ever ruling the world, we could take our own experiences and create an empathetically correct world for men.