Psychological Self-Help

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It is hard to even imagine gender equality if you are a woman and
your father always dominated your mother, if your teachers paid more
attention to and encouraged boys more; if you are afraid your
boyfriend or husband might leave you rather than accept you as an
equal; if your church worships a male god and says the man should
head the family; if your culture thinks women are exciting sexual
objects but emotional, naive, dependent, and weak; if women are
blamed for teen pregnancy and male violence and the solution is seen
as putting women back in the kitchen and men back in charge; if your
social group thinks women's looks are more important than their
brains or hearts; if your girlfriends are much more emotionally
involved in their relationships than in their activities and
achievements; if you are scared to live life without a male partner; if
you doubt yourself and distrust other women; if 44% of the women
you know have been degraded and raped or nearly raped, and so on. 
What can help you run the gauntlet? Liberated friends are helpful.
Reading can raise your consciousness. You can assertively insist on
women's rights when confronted with prejudice. You can raise your
daughters as competent, self-confident, self-directed (without cultural
restrictions), independent decision-makers. It is encouraging to realize
other women are making progress (see chapter 8). About 20% of baby
boomers have chosen to be childless, compared to 10% a generation
earlier. During the last 10 to 20 years, if a couple decides to have
children, most women work outside the home after the children are in
school, partly because it is satisfying and partly because it has become
economically necessary. 
Ironically, as the concept of gender equality grows, women see
more clearly what they deserve and their oppression is felt more
keenly. This hopefully means for couples that equality will gradually be
achieved, i.e. first the most troubling unfairness between two people is
corrected, then another inequity comes into focus to be corrected,
etc., etc. For both men and women the gender conflict may seem like
an unending process ("She is never satisfied" and "He gives in a little
but it still isn't fair"). Equality is a fantastic revolution in the history of
humans--and we are living it. It can't be done instantly. We have to be
tolerant but constantly demanding that justice be done. We also have
to guard against "back lash," e.g. when a women acts more like a man
at work (aggressive, loud, hot-headed, arrogant, demanding, and
demeaning), she is vilified while a man is more likely to be tolerated
and excused. Such behavior is unacceptable; the gender of the
inconsiderate person doesn't matter. 
In case you are thinking that things have already become pretty
equal and fair between men and women in business, consider this: in a
recent list of the top 800 CEO's in this country, only one was a woman!
And she had started her own business, i.e. she had not been selected
by men to head a corporation! Now, do you suppose that all of those
799 CEO's are really better managers than any female in the world?
Or, are we still prejudice? There is also evidence that bright,
ambitious, able, progressive women are paying a price for leading the
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