Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

That's mom on the right.  She taught third grade for seventeen years.  My grandmother, on the left, was a kindergarten teacher.  Ed Policy of the time meant Grammy had to stop work when she married.  Mom had to leave her first teaching job when she became pregnant with my older brother in 1950.  She only returned to the classroom after getting five children launched in school.
That was 1970 and lots had happened to women between mom's first teaching job and the next.
Some things about the world of work for women have changed a great deal since this photo was taken.  For one, most mothers work now.  Often out of necessity if not out of a desire to lead purposeful lives beyond the rearing of children.

But here are things that have not changed since I became a working mother in 1979:

However, women are the warp and woof of the fabric that holds our nation together, still largely responsible for raising and nurturing the generations to come.  Women comprise 90% of registered nurses and 80% of elementary and middle school teachers.  Women still bear the burden of raising the children and maintaining the household even if both partners in a marriage work.

Whether or not you feel women who work is a good idea, the fact remains that those who do not work risk facing a life of poverty in their old age.  Those who earn less in their productive years have less to rely on as they age.  And those who have given over their adult professional lives to working with children are facing the loss of pensions and earnings they anticipated as a safety net in the last years of their lives.

Love your mother. Encourage national policies that reflect your moral principles: Ensure a life of dignity and safety for women and children.

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