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Laura Perrins: Admit it girls. Men relieved Western women of a life of drudgery


It is International Women’s Day so that means one thing – rich, white, Western women get to co-opt the real problems of dirt poor women in the developing world and claim the oppression is the same. Welcome to Oppression Envy.

Here we have The Guardian comparing FGM to ‘pay inequality’ (myth debunked many times).

Yes, because having your genitals sliced off as a baby or young girl is exactly the same a grown adult woman reducing her working hours to spend time caring for her children. Those two things are not different at all (even if you are a feminazi)!

So crazy feminists let’s be clear – the problems of the developing world are not yours.

FGM is not the same as being unable to negotiate an appropriate pay rise. Being the person who must load the tumble dryer and then turn on a switch is not the same as spending up to six hours day hauling water. Having acid thrown in your face by your husband, who took against you for no apparent reason, is not the same being ‘iced’ on Tinder. Get a grip wimmin and get over your Oppression Envy.

We have another example of this here by Melinda Gates.

Melinda compares the life of the 1950s American housewife to a Tanzanian woman who does the entirety of the household chores, rising at 5 am and finishing at 10 pm. Her day includes tasks such as carrying buckets of water weighing 40 pounds on her head.

Even though Melinda went on this journey with this woman herself she still does not appreciate the ludicrous position she is taking.

I understand Melinda is a philanthropist who, with her husband Bill, invests profits made from his spectacularly innovative computer invention in the developing world, but this piece really does take the biscuit. Melinda honestly believes that Western women only have it slightly better than women in the developing world, but she does at least note that innovation greatly reduces the time spent on such chores.

It sure does, and whom might we thank for that? Men, mostly, that is who.

The reasons why women’s lives are now so unbelievably awesome (generally) in the West compared with girls and women in the developing world is because of men. Yes men, just like Melinda’s husband Bill. It is because of Bill I am writing this (on a computer with Microsoft Word software).

But it is not just because of Bill that I am writing this. It is because of, no doubt, male Victorian engineers, who figured out how to drain London’s waste water and take it out of the city, and male engineers causing clean water to magically appear in my taps. I am taking an educated guess that it was mainly men and boys who dug the damn tunnels and laid the pipes in the first place. That has saved me six hours of lugging water around on my head right there.

It was also men who invented pretty much every labour and time saving domestic device we take for granted. They invented antibiotics and made childbirth safer. I could go on, but you get the picture. Nor do I think my time is magically filled up with other domestic issues, as Melinda would have us believe.

More women are working and doing creative projects and most importantly can give hands-on engaged care to their young children, which is crucial for their development, because of these inventions.

Some people believe the Industrial Revolution caused the nuclear family, and once women and children were liberated from the factories (then a progressive cause) triggered the public/private split – putting women firmly in the private sphere. But let’s remember where we all were before the revolution – on the farm, lugging firewood much like our modern day Tanzanian sisters. It is nothing to romanticise.

It is also the case that because we had devotion, dedication and drive in the public sphere of work by men that the industrial and later technological innovation has been so spectacular. It has saved all of us – men, women and children from lives of either domestic drudgery for women, or dangerous work for men.

So the feminists can bang on about ‘redistributing’ the housework to men if they want, and then demand their flexible working and part-time hours so stifling to excellence and the cause (I think) of stagnation and unproductivity. But I will put my bets on the Bill Gateses and Brunels of this world every time to improve the lot of mankind. The sooner we can spread this male-inspired progress to our poorer sisters the better.


(Image: Ethan, Flickr)

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