What women want

Too few know what women want; that gap is critically important as they make up numerically more than half of Canada’s population. What is extraordinary is that this omission persists.
A lot of the views of what counts for so-called “women’s issues” are stuck back in an earlier generation, such as “violence against women,” or “a woman’s right to choose,” or the equally tired litany of “equal pay.” Certainly, nearly all still care about abortion, pay, or physical safety. Yet even though those problems remain, most have moved to other, top priority concerns that now are part of a new era.
Many of women’s issues parallel those of their male counterparts, such as health care or the state of the economy. Following closely behind, however, are matters that are unique to working women, mothers, and those who for one reason or another are single.
Some complain about inequality in pay. There the “bad guy” really is male psyche, something that gradually, or albeit too slowly, is being rectified. Free-market policies perhaps need to be reinforced by government legislation that strengthens prohibitions against female discrimination.
If one were to ask any working woman what is the toughest part of her life, undoubtedly she will reply that it is the complications of scheduling work, family, and household responsibilities. In this era numbers of workers, both male and female, work outrageously long hours. A majority of women would like to be able to, say, take off a Monday afternoon to catch Jimmy’s soccer match. They want compensatory time off.
If women have to work 45 hours one week, they would hope to have an easier schedule the next week. The contemporary term for this is “flex time.” Countries such as Germany have started to implement such a program in a limited way, with great success.
Many times women state that they “are just a housewife,” demeaning that status. If there were some way to elevate their standing, it would be a boon for those women. Why could not their housework have an imputed value that could be counted as a contribution to their social insurance account? It would provide a modicum of financial independence and help self-esteem.
It was only in the 1920s that women generally in Canada won the right to vote. It has been a long, uphill struggle to recognize what women want, to entitle them to proper consideration. Recrafting legislation to bring women into the real world of the 21st century is long overdue. Future generations of women will appreciate the changes that should be implemented as soon as possible.

Bruce Whitestone