Monday, June 18, 2007

Women's Sufferage, The Saga Continues

I'm a newsletter recipient of this web-based organization called, "Mom's Rising"; This isn't a plug, it's just part of the back story. Anyway, it just reminds me of how once upon a time in America, women, as we all know, weren't allowed to vote, own property in their own names, and they weren't taken too seriously in college (if taken at all). In the 60's, women sometimes pursued what some referred to as "MRS Degrees". The degree a girl would get in order to get a good husband in the right social circle. Yes, dear little ones, once upon a time.

I recently spoke with my mother about the iniquities of gender inequality when it came to social support for uneducated women (and perhaps even the educated) when it comes to the issue of child support. My father, back in 1974 or so, was ordered to pay child support to my mother for me--a whopping $25 a week. Before she left the courtroom, he turned to her and said, "You'll never see a dime." This was among few times he was true to his word. The words came from the same man who nearly beat her to death many times over--and he blamed her. Now, as my step-father did, so does my own husband. He takes up the slack for the slack-er. It's not fair, but it goes to show you that there have been and still are some stand-up men in the world.

The America my mother experienced in her 20's didn't have organizations like The Rose Brooks Center ( and domestic violence wasn't often recognized as a crime, court-ordered child support was disregarded by dead-beats/angry ex-husbands and taken as "a suggestion" from the judge. Everyone knew it wasn't enforced as we like to think it is today. Granted, the child support enforcement system is better now than it was but it's far from effective--or even consistent. It's just not good enough. What with it's loop-holes, time buying strategies to avoid major (or any) consequences. It's just not acceptable.

I spoke with my mother about all of that. The conversation went something like this,

I said, "Mom, why didn't more women stand up for these things in generations before?"

She said, "That was just the way of the day."

Just the way of the day. Really. I guess it was.

Well, . . . this is the way of this day, and I can say something.

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