I have two items for my write-up today on Kristin Luker's Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood.
I found Luker's discussion of women's jobs to be interesting----and I
should note that she doesn't believe that women should be limited to
those jobs, but rather she is acknowledging that, at the time that she
was writing this book (the 1980's), there were certain professions that
were "largely female" (page 114).
According to Luker, these jobs don't
require a lot of education, making them fairly easy to enter. Luker
says that a lady can become a "diploma" nurse a few years after high
school, whereas becoming a doctor entails 8-10 years of education after
high school. Luker also states that the jobs that women largely have
are easy to re-enter after a period of absence, and so the jobs allow
them to work, take time off to raise their kids, and then re-enter the
work force. Luker states to illustrate this point that "The skills
needed to be a nuclear physicist deteriorate dramatically over time, but
the skills needed to be an elementary school teacher do not" (page
114). At the same time, according to Luker, there are downsides to the
jobs that women tend to do: there is often little room for advancement
or significant increase in pay.
This is part of Luker's larger
argument that, for pro-choicers, equality in the work-force entails
reproductive freedom, for an unexpected pregnancy can disrupt women's
lives, monetary situation, and careers. But I found the discussion
interesting because it was about different kinds of jobs. Are thing
different now, almost thirty years after Luker's book was published? I
think that jobs that used to be occupied by men are being opened up to
women. But I also notice that women are in certain professions, such as
secretaries, elementary school teachers, etc.
2. Luker has a
chapter on the rise of the pro-life movement. I have not finished this
chapter yet, but what I read so far said that, during the 1960's (until 1967), the
right-to-life movement consisted of a number of male Catholic professionals,
and they assumed that most people agreed with them that abortion was
murder because people did not talk about abortion that much in
public----as if people regarded it as shameful. But Luker states that the
reticence about abortion was not so much due to a common belief that
abortion was murder, but rather a general public reticence about sex,
period. As a result of a number of pro-lifers' misunderstanding of many people's sentiments, Luker narrates, they (the pro-lifers) were shocked that there was not mass outrage at the liberalized abortion law in California.
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