For months, we have been reporting on the assaults on women’s reproductive rights initiated and sustained by Republican legislators in states across America. But this week, the “war on women” conversation took a turn as Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney shifted the focus to the issue of women’s work both inside and outside the home.
So #nerdland hosted a bipartisan conversation today about women, work and motherhood. It is a complicated and important issue, one that goes far beyond the mythical “mommy wars.” You’ll find some additional resources in this week’s Homework:
- The American Association of University Women this week released state-by-state rankings for equality of pay between men and women workers. The report is a reminder that when we get beneath the rhetoric we find a very clear reality: women’s labor is devalued compared to men’s work.
- One of the most valuable texts I’ve ever read on subject of women and work is Jacqueline Jones’ “Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to Present.” It is a careful history that forces us to reconsider all the ways women have worked in America. Women’s stories are very different when they are told by women without economic and racial privilege.
- And I just love this one: “The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women.” It is an utterly irreverent and brilliant look at how American culture idealizes motherhood in ways that have little connection with the experiences of real women who are loving, working, struggling, failing, and succeeding in their roles as parents.
- After our update and discussion about Trayvon Martin, I took some time to talk about the brutal history of racial violence in America. In particular, I highlighted the 1921 Tulsa race riot. To learn more about the Tulsa riots read Scott Ellsworth’s “Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.”
- We spent much of our second hour today exploring the complicated, heartbreaking and enraging issue of sex trafficking. To learn more about this issue, which still receives far too little attention, check out Siddharth Kara’s “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery.”
- Finally, whether you are a runner or just like to take a stroll around the block, you will want to get to know my “Foot Soldier” today (and my guest next week!) Kathrine Switzer. Read her memoir, “Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports.”
See y’all tomorrow at 10am ET. (Not next week, as I accidentally said at the end of the show. Whoops!)