"My great hope is that......women would remember that one of the gifts that they have is that they remained so very close to the personal life, and that the qualities that were discovered in the personal life, the value of human life, the value of tenderness, the attentiveness to others' moods, the need for compassion and pity and understanding, the things that women practice every day in their daily lives, in their small kingdoms, are enormously important." Anais Nin
A friend sent me this quote. I think it goes to the heart of the dilemmas still facing women. We do value these things - don't we? We know they're not really "personal" at all, they're what keeps everything else going. But as things stand, if we hang on to practising them and want to do them well, we put ourselves at risk.
For all the guff about "family friendly" workplaces, the world of what we call "work" pays no heed to this "gift" at all. You're supposed to have women doing all that for you! In countries like ours, the jobs that actually require this "gift" to be done well are at the bottom of every heap going.
What's more, this "gift" is not and should not be seen as confined to women! Men are perfectly able to exercise it too, and many do, brilliantly. But all too often our "small kingdoms" are just that - what he says goes, or else. In the Dom-Post this morning: male partners or former partners kill 14 women each year, and are involved in 3500 convictions for assault on women. So far, no amount of compassion, pity and understanding has managed to stop them.