Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Summary Post: Mink, Eang

Mink, “The Lady and the Tramp”

This article explains how the current welfare system is harmful to poor single mothers.  By not giving these women welfare, Mink argues that we are depriving them equal citizenship by not paying them for the work that they are doing at home.  She also argues that many people think of single mothers in a stereotypical manner, as either lazy or promiscuous.  This mentality leads people, even other women, to vote anti-welfare.  Mink stresses the divide between classes that becomes apparent in this welfare debate.  Middle class women often are unsympathetic to these poor single mothers.  The lack of sisterhood is evident thus as middle class women refuse to fight for the rights of poorer women.
            Mink also explains that the feminist emphasis on workplace rights and equality has led to the belief that women are supposed to work outside of the home.  Thus working inside the home is not as “socially productive”.  This concept leads people to think and vote in specific ways due to their mentality that women have the right to work outside of the home and therefore they should.  However Mink explains that there is a difference between having this right and being obligated to do so.  She begs the question, is it right that social policy forces poor single mothers have to have an outside job?  Mink believes that welfare should be a right and thus women should receive recognition for their work inside the home.

Eang, “Leading by Example”

            Eang recalls her difficult childhood and the determination and strength that her mother taught her. Through the inspiration of her mother, who worked in many factories and farms, she learned what it was like to exhibit female power.  Her mother worked many jobs, went to adult school and meanwhile took care of her children and relatives.
Furthermore, Eang explains that although gender roles and stereotypes often seem to be so ingrained in cultural norms they can be changed.  In her Cambodian family, a woman is meant to be obedient and dependent on men, yet her mother was able to balance tradition with new ideas and thus paved the way for Eang and her sisters.  She believes that the answer for improvement in gender equality is through leadership as well as initiatives and programs to better the lives and health of individuals.  In addition, by refusing to conform to cultural beliefs, woman can lead by example and begin to change stereotypes.  Eang also argues that all women are connected due to their quest for gender equality and improving the lives of women and children.

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