The majority of women would like to do both: become a mother at some point of their life and make their contribution to society through their professional work, too.
What kind of feminism do they need?
Recently, people in the U.S. and beyond have been following the news concerning the nomination of Amy Coney Barett – a mother of seven, judge, and professor – for the Supreme Court Justice. I’m sure that many young women, including me, see her example as some kind of dream coming true. Of course, success has many definitions; being a stay-home mum is a wonderful vocation, too and should never be diminished. Nevertheless, to see that motherhood doesn’t exclude a high-level professional career might be a great source of encouragement.
I don’t have kids yet, but my friends who do, tell me that being a parent often makes them much more organized, efficient and creative. All these Internet memes about babies being the most demanding bosses probably echo a truth that should not be ignored by employers, even at the cost of proposing flexible working hours or time-off for caring for the child. Sadly, in reality, women are often forced to pretend to put their families second which is, at best, usually unrealistic. At worst, heart-breaking and generating the constant feeling of guilt.
The idea that women must renounce having children and must have the option to kill them through abortion in order to fulfill their dreams couldn’t be more far from the real empowerment. Similar suggestions lie on the false premise that women are not intelligent and strong enough to do both. What should be done is providing the support they need (as all of us do), in their particular situations, but that understandably requires more effort. It is not possible to list here all the solutions but requiring women to act like the ideal man-worker from the past, for sure, is not among the good ones. As Pope Benedict puts in his address to the participants in the International Convention on the theme “Woman and Man, the Humanum in its Entirety”, it is necessary (!) to enable the woman to collaborate in the building of society, appreciating her typical “feminine genius.
Whenever I’m asked whether I identify myself as a feminist, often, for one second I’m a bit confused and know that an answer longer than “yes” or “no” is needed, especially when my interlocutor holds different views. I am pro life and wholeheartedly support the idea of mutual complementarity instead of the “gender war”, so probably I wouldn’t fit the image of feminist presented in the contemporary media. On the other hand, I believe that some notions presented in the feminist movement could be successfully transformed and adapted into “new feminism” activity.
One of them is the concept of sisterhood. I have been always surrounded by wonderful female-friends with whom I could share my joys and concerns, but unfortunately, that’s not a reality for everyone. That problem cannot be resolved on the legislative level but it would be wonderful to see more women standing in solidarity for one another. We are all created with a desire for community and the pressure to be always independent may lead to the miserable loneliness. For the believers, being created in the image and likeness of God, means having a relational nature, too.