Quotes – obstacles


Women have often been the brunt of insult, as well as praise. The care role in particular has been put on a pedestal as nurturing society  yet devalued in tax law for years. It may be instructive to examine some of the prejudices and stereotypes that have surfaced in history.


It  is the law of nature that woman should be held under the dominance of man, Confucius 551- 479 BC

Women may be said to be inferior to men  A proper wife should be as obedient as a slave. Aristotle 384- 322 BC

Woman is always a fickle, unstable thing  .A woman is an unpredictable and fickle creature- Virgil 70 – 19 BC

It is better to be alone with God than in company with a woman – St. Jerome- 347-420  AD

Women are one and all a set of vultures- Petronius  27- 66AD “Satyricon”

Women are less perfect than men because their blood is colder –  Galen 129-210 AD

Bitter it is to have a  woman’s shape. It would be hard to name a thing more base. If it’s a son born to the hearth and home, he comes to earth as if he’s heaven sent. To breed a girl is something no one wants. – Fu Hsuan 200 AD

A wife and children are impediments to great enterprises –  Francis Bacon 1561- 1626

A woman is but an animal and an animal not of the highest order- Edmund Burke 1729- 1797

Most women have no character at all  – Alexander Pope 1688- 1744

Woman was made especially to please man- Jean Jacques Rousseau- 1712 – 1778

Like her sex in general, she had disputed his little point, merely for the sake of disputing it. Jean – Paul Friedrich Richter 1763- 1825

When female minds are embittered their malignity is generally exerted in a rigorous and spiteful superintendence of domestic trifles – Samuel Johnson 1709- 1784

 A woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well but you are surprised to find it done at all- Samuel Johnson 1709-  1784

Nature intended women to be our slaves. They are our property. Napoleon Bonaparte 1769- 1821

Female evolution stopped before men’s to preserve their organs for childbearing Herbert Spencer- 1820-1903

Higher education has eliminated the witty woman- H. G. Wells 1866- 1946

I consider that women who authors, lawyers or politicians are monsters- Pierre Auguste Renoir 1841- 1919

What a typical women you are. You talk sentimentally and you are thoroughly selfish the whole time..Women are the decorative sex. They never have anything to say but they say it charmingly- Oscar Wilde 1854- 1900

With women, the heart argues, not the mind- Matthew Arnold 1822- 1888

Few of the soft sex are very stable- Lord Byron 1788- 1824

When a woman has scholarly inclinations there is usually something wrong with her  sexual organs. Everything in woman has one solution. It is called pregnancy.  Friedrich Nietzsche – 1844- 1900

Home is a charitable institution for indolent women. August Strindberg 1849- 1912

Female evolution stopped before men’s to preserve their organs for childbearing Herbert Spencer- 1820-1903

Women are frequently referred to as poultry. We cluck at hen parties. When we aren’t henpecking men, we are egging them on. In youth we are chicks. Mothers watch over their broods. Later we are old biddies with an empty-nest syndrome.  Is it just a coincidence that so many women’s wages are chicken feed? -Association of Operating Nurses Journal- 1800s

When children cease to be altogether desirable, women cease to be altogether necessary – John Langdon Davies 1897- 1971

Educating a beautiful woman is like pouring honey into a fine Swiss watch- everything stops- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  1922- 2007

They have the right to work wherever they want to as long as they have dinner ready when you get home John Wayne  1907- 1979

All mass movements have a lunatic fringe but women’s lib seems to have a lunatic centre – Dr. John Rich 1971

Move on, little girl. We have more important issues to talk about here than women’s liberation  William F. Pepper 1960s

All mass movements have a lunatic fringe but women’s lib seems to have a lunatic centre – Dr. John Rich 1971

2003 – Canada – submissions by lobby groups to the Canadian government arguing for 3rd party childcare and hinting that anything else was not worthwhile:

High quality regulated child care is better than informal situations in which   children are likely to spend their days in environments that may be neither  stimulating nor safe

The daycare program promotes women’s equality by enabling women to participate in the workforce 

With daycare, women are much more likely to use their full range of talents and  abilities

Daycare gives an opportunity for parents, especially mothers to be economically productive

A cut in welfare payments of 20% would make staying at home with children less attractive and less feasible for many lone mothers

The number employed is projected to increase by nearly 11 percentage points 

A combination of reduced social assistance payments and enhanced wages will encourage employment, raise average incomes and increase the number of  children participating in organized early childhood care 

Child care is a core service and one of the city’s competitive advantages 

We need daycare to ensure that families have the capacity to succeed   

2021- Canadian bank study
During the pandemic, women have “exited the labour force”, “completely left the labour force”. Women home with children “fell out of the workforce, ” “retreated from the workforce.” Some “aren’t even trying to get a job any more”

Women at home are described as “at risk of their skills atrophying’. They are at risk of ‘an erosion ‘ of skills. (this implies that making meals for the family risks forgetting how to be a waitress and that changing your child’s diapers risks forgetting how to work at a daycare. It implies that dealing with sibling arguments has nothing to do with team building or negotiating, and that listening to an upset teen has nothing to do with counselling. It defines worth and work entirely by pay)

2021- Canada

Getting more women into paid work would enable ‘areas of potential job growth, like childcare” ( meaning that taking care of your own child is not counted as work but paying some else to do it suddenly creates jobs so is claimed as better. The criteria of what is preferred by parents or children is not used but only the criterion of creating a paid job)

Bank economist

2021 – Canada

Career interruptions “might signal to employers that women are less committed”
( consistent with the criteria used for maternity leave in some countries which not only requires paid work to get funding for time with a baby but also requires a promise to return to paid work as if that is the real commitment that matters)

– business school professor, Canada

1999 – Canada  – economists in “Tax Fairness for One -earner and Two – Earner Families’ argue that though the single earner household often pays over 30% higher tax than the dual earner household, that this is fair. They claim the dual earner household has work-related expenses the single earner household does not have such as paying for daycare or travel or clothing for paid work, restaurant meals and household cleaning, while the single earner household gets these activities done free and is not taxed on that “household production” benefit.

2002 – The Law Commission of Canada writes “Beyond Conjugality” arguing that taxation should continue to be based on individual income not household income. Though the writers admit that some people share income, it prefers to tax them as individuals saying that this is easier to administer and  that personal relationships are ‘not significant’ . It claims that a household based tax would create ‘perverse’ incentives for a women to be home, that women at home do not earn but  simply “benefit’ from the money of the earner. The writers admit that the single income household pays higher tax than does the dual earner household but says that by having one adult at home they get all of their housework done free and do not have to pay for clothing or restaurant meals that the dual earner household has to pay for, so they have a financial advantage.

.2020- Sweden- a media commentator says that women at home are parasites.

2021- RBC examines the economy during the pandemic saying that nearly 100,000 ‘working age’ Canadian women ‘have completely left the workforce’ and ‘aren’t even trying to get a job any more’.  Being home with the kids is represented as being ‘without a job’, as industry being ‘hard hit” and as the  number of jobs ‘languishing’ The writers claim that at home there is ‘risk of skills erosion’, potentially hampering ‘ability to get rehired’.  The writers says this is a scarring effect where skills diminish if you are not using them, and that at home, skills ‘atrophy’

“WIthout access to childcare, too many parents- especially women- cannot fully participate in the workforce” – Government of Canada 2021

(The universal daycare plan will ) “get parents-especially women- back into the workforce”

Government of Canada 2021

(The universal daycare plan) “ensures that parents – especially mothers- can work”

Minister of Finance Canada 2021

(Access to the daycare program ) “give(s) our children the best possible start in life”

-Minister of finance Canada 2021 ( implying that children in family based care are getting a suboptimal care experience. Access to family based care is not funded, only access to nonfamily care)

B. Comment:

The care role, historically done by women more than men, has anchored society yet not been valued officially. In economics it has been ignored and in tax policy actively discouraged, with pressure to do paid work instead. To address why the care role has been treated as lesser is complicated.

Over the years some have felt the best answer was just to escape the role. Some felt the answer was to get women into paid careers to have the income that goes with those, as the liberation.  Others felt the answer was to get men to share some of the care roles at home as shared burden.

However these steps alone did not lead to valuing the care role itself,.

It became apparent that there were levels of the problem – discrimination against women in general, discrimination against women in the paid workforce and discrimination against the care role.  Addressing these biases has been done, step by step and often separately.

Removing gender bias in the language, in voting rights, in property and banking rights was one step.

Removing gender bias at the paid workplace was another step. Women wanted equal hiring rights, equal promotions rights, maternity benefits, equal pay there and equal presence on board of directors, equal numbers as CEOs and legislators, judges and prime ministers

The third step however is also vital. It is to value the care role in the home.

In the 1960s and 70s it may have seemed like challenge enough to notice that the blue collar work and the white collar worker are of equal value in society. It was not yet on the radar to value the ones whose work clothes had no collar and were practical washable outfits for taking care of children.

 It seemed like challenge enough to notice that those who worked sitting down got paid more than those who worked standing up.  It was not even on the radar to notice that those who were on the floor cleaning it, also had equal value.

It seemed like challenge enough to notice that pregnant employees needed to give birth and  nurse a baby  so deserved time away from the paid job. It was not even on the radar to say that giving birth and nursing a baby are vital to society, even without paid work attachment.

However in most nations the first two goals have been mostly met.  Addressing the biases is not complete until the care role is also valued. The role itself, done by women or men, has not been fully recognized for its economic contribution to the economy and the rights of those who provide care of others has not been respected for its dignity and equality.

During the pandemic many women and men did lose their paid jobs or have to reduce hours That created an household budget crisis, but partly because tax systems already ignored the care role and only valued the paid job. The recommendation after the pandemic predictably by some was to get everyone back to paid jobs.

Were paid jobs all that mattered and humans only existed to do paid jobs, that would be an answer. However people have feelings, need care, want to be valued and resist standardization or being told how to live. Statements that promote with urgency getting all women and men out of the home, often perpetuate the insult against the care role as useless, as a failure, as laziness, as regrettable abdication of responsibility.

The fact some of these insults are now made by those who claim to advocate for women and for ‘inclusion’ is interesting since the insults blatantly exclude a historically female role and any who do it, from being valued at all

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