Women, Should We Call a Strike?

BY JENNY BROWN

On October 5, 2013, NWL leaders assisted with and attended the Shulamith Firestone Women’s Liberation Memorial Conference on What Is to Be Done, organized by Redstockings in New York City.

Participants were asked to answer two questions about the root of women’s oppression and where we go from here. NWL organizer and Redstockings member Jenny Brown was on a panel answering the question, “What are your thoughts now on what has to be done to win women’s freedom?” Here is a part of her conference testimony, which, she noted, draws on her 20 years as a Redstockings member, but doesn’t represent the group:

We’re in an odd position because we’ve won a lot on some fronts in the last 50 years. Pretty much people agree that women should be equal (whereas socialism seems much more distant than it did in the 60s or even the 80s). We won the ability for a substantial percentage of women to get an education and a job to support ourselves alone. For the first time, women can escape personally from the reproductive jobs, we can get a job that supports us, be exploited as a worker, and die alone, just like a man. That seems to be the maximum potential in this society for women to not be exploited as women.

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I’m more than a Mom, a Wife and an Employee

By Candi Churchill

This is an edited version of a talk given at an event organized by Rad Dad author Tomas Moniz, June 2012 at the Civic Media Center in Gainesville, FL.
 
All this talk about this way or that way to shoot the baby out of the canal. Epidural or no epidural? Are you going “natural” or are you going to allow “interventions?” Sleep training? Attachment parenting? Cry it out? Breast? Bottle? Both? There are a lot of ways to have a family and raise a child and in the end, most kids are going to be loved and provided for (we hope). But what about what happens to us? There’s not a lot of talk about how hard it is to readjust to your new life.
 
When I had my baby, my life changed forever. Sure it changed for the better in many ways. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. My heart stretched in ways I never knew possible. I love his laugh. I love his kisses. He’s amazing. But it is extremely hard and I feel some days that I’ve lost myself. I didn’t expect that. 

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Responding to Anne-Marie Slaughter on “Having it All”

by Nicole Hardin

In a recent issue of The Atlantic, Anne-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning at the State Department and current Princeton University professor, wrote an article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.”  

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Speech at Medicare for All Rally

This is a two-minute speech Jenny Brown gave on behalf of the Women’s Liberation Taskforce for National Health Care at the July 30, 2009 rally for Medicare for All in Washington, D.C.  The rally was organized by Health Care Now.

Why are Women’s Liberationists in the U.S. in the fight for national health insurance? It’s not because women need more health care. It’s not because we think women are particularly more caring—in fact, we’d like to STOP being the safety net when our rotten health care system kicks people out quicker and sicker. It’s not even that women are less likely to be insured.

No, the Women’s Liberationists of Redstockings and the feminist groups in our taskforce say that the insurance company stranglehold on our health care system is an obstacle to women’s freedom and independence. How? It builds in dependence on men’s insurance and their employers. It builds on the uncompensated work women do when our lousy, cheapskate health care system fails us.

Health benefits based on jobs and marriage undermine our independence and undermine our power on our jobs and at home. Feminists demand equality from men, but we also need to tear down the structures that make us dependent on the men in our lives. Our job and marriage-based system is one such obstacle. We say: Stop tying health care to jobs! Stop tying health care to marriage!

The half-assed, money-wasting proposals that Congress and the insurance companies are currently crafting will NOT help women gain independence because they don’t alter the jobs-and-marriage system for getting health care. Therefore we oppose them categorically. “We will not accept insults and call them steps in the right direction” as abortion pioneer Cindy Cisler said at a similar juncture.

Every individual must have health care in her own right, as a right, like they have in so many other countries.

This is Redstockings 40th anniversary—I urge you to go to our website and get our book about why we think national health insurance should be a priority for the feminist movement. www.redstockings.org

Thank you, Health Care NOW, for all you do in this struggle.