Friday Feminist – Marilyn Waring (7)

It’s just occurred to me that I should be posting excerpts from New Zealand feminists during NZ Book Month. So herewith another, very early (1985) extract from the wonderful Marilyn Waring, whose work I admire tremendously.

Women instinctively have the potential for a broader consciousness of politics than men. Our lives are more varied and less circumscribed. We do more things at any one time, in spite of the common myths, and generally have more responsibility. So we have a good practical sense of change: but this doesn’t necessarily teach us anything. Many have the experience and miss the meaning. I don’t have much patience with the ‘I got there, why can’t you’ group of women. Nor with the woman in the workforce who confesses or protests that she is professional first and a woman second, or even confesses to being confused about it. – The system isn’t confused about it. and the system won’t show any mercy. Women do have the right to equal choice, and the awareness of being an exception rather than the rule ought to be the first step in awakening many of us to the question of lack of choice and opportunity given to other women. Those who can move from understanding the concerns of lower-paid urban women workers in desperate need of child care to understanding isolated rural women at the end of long metal roads who want extensions to bus routes; from noticing the absence of Maori explorers and pioneers from our history syllabus to observing that the same history is a record of only 49% of the New Zealand population – these people are exceptional humans and rare souls in politics. Wherever they are found, they are more likely to be women.

Marilyn Waring, Women, Politics and Power, 1985


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