Photo: Briana Morrison
As a single mother of two and a full-time student, I know the struggle of trying to provide a family. Especially as a single woman, trying to make a living. Sleepless nights, mental breakdowns and occasional burnouts are nothing uncommon to me.
I am one of the lucky ones to have a family that is having my back and an ex-boyfriend (father of my eldest child), more importantly, FRIEND, who has been nothing but supportive.
I know several examples, other mothers, some of them friends of mine, which are not as lucky as I am.
I see them stuck in, some more than others, abusive and dysfunctional relationships.
From private conversations, I got to know that one of the main reasons for not breaking up is a) not tearing the family apart (because of the child) and b) they wouldn’t financially make it on their own.
I drew the conclusion, that women are still on the lower end of the economy and, though the term feminism has popped up everywhere recently, not too much has changed really for women, not even in Europe.
A recent study from the UK proves, what I felt to be true:
The financial situation for families in the UK has recently worsened. One outcome of this trend is (with rental prices having increased) that more and more women stay in dysfunctional or even emotionally/physically harmful relationships.
This seems also to explain why the official number of victims of domestic violence is still that high (numbers for Germany).
Feminism is still just a word
As it has been broadly discussed and criticized, women are still not valued as equal to men in economic terms. Even though demands and condemnation of sexist practices of companies, the reality still differs from what one would call “fair” or at least not marginalize women.
In one of my last articles, I explained, based on Kate Millett’s thesis, that women tend to subordinate to their partners, mostly for economic reasons.
What we currently observe in the UK tragically proves her point and is one of the final stages of patriarchal structures shaping societies with its full force.
“Under their aegis, each personality becomes little more, and often less than half, of its human potential. Politically, the fact that each group exhibits a circumscribed but complementary personality and range of activity is of secondary importance to the fact that each represents a status or power division. Since woman’s independence in economic life is viewed with distrust, prescriptive agencies of all kinds (religion, psychology, advertising, etc.) continuously admonish or even inveigh against the employment of middle-class women, particularly mothers. Its wages and tasks are so unremunerative that, unlike more prestigious employment for women, it fails to threaten patriarchy financially or psychologically. Women who are employed have two jobs since the burden of domestic service and child care is unrelieved either by day care or other social agencies or by the cooperation of husbands.” (Millet, Kate. 1971.)
During the last two decades, we observed deepening economic imbalances, not only in Europe. It’s a global trend.
But for this article, I will focus on Europe.
I have argued several times that current economic policies are misled. An interesting glimpse into the mechanisms of these policies and their effect on the working people (women and families) can be taken at in the Arlie Russell Hochschild’s 2002 published book “The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work”.
The EU’s economic policies are currently meant to artificially boost economic growth, disadvantaging the working people, even burdening them with highly vulnerable employment and exploitative temporary employment.
With Brexit coming up, the situation is said to get even worse in the UK.
Taking into consideration, what Millet has said and time has proven, this won’t only be the case in the UK, but Europe wide and globally.
Just another “wake-up call”
I, therefore, argue that we need both: a hundred and eighty-degree about-turn of economic policies of the EU and a revived feminist movement.
What is certain to result of this not being realized is explained in detail here.