Friday, December 03, 2004

Not quite protected yet

Not quite protected yet

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Friday, December 3, 2004 12:34 AM

It is strange that in a country that is so Christian, there is such discrimination against women. You might not agree, but if you look at the double standard, you can find all sorts of things that go against the interests of women.

We might have a set of laws that are on the books and should better protect women against exploitation, but they do not in fact work because their implementation is not effective.

Single mothers, for instance, have little or no chance to get support from the courts where the wheels of justice turn at an agonizingly slow pace. And, unless you have a good amount of money to pay for the process, you have to hope for the good will of the biological father. But experience tells us that you should not count on it.

The same is true of women whose husbands cheat or walk out on them. Since we don’t have divorce laws that compel “dead beat” husbands who flee from their financial obligations, women are left holding the proverbial bag. This is why so many would rather remain in lousy marriages that kill them emotionally, psychologically and even take a toll on them physically, rather than take their chances in the face of poverty.

Our society is a man’s world where women are taught to be submissive to their husbands and to tolerate and forgive even the most outrageous acts of infidelity and male domination. Where women who stand up for their rights are scoffed and laughed at and portrayed as lesbians and stubborn and disturbed feminists.

Sure we have made progress, but it isn’t nearly enough. Much more has to be done and the Church should be in the forefront in the fight (it’s really a fight) to elevate women and put them on an equal par with men.

Trevor Beeson, in his book An Eye for an Ear, says it well: “Yet another barrier awaiting destruction is that which divides the sexes and consigns women to a subordinate role in society. The women’s liberation movement, sometimes driven by frustration to extreme tactics, is always good for a joke or a wisecrack, yet it represents a necessary rebellion against a social structure which has for centuries dehumanized one half of society.

“This is not the place to discuss the implications of discrimination against women, or the future role of women, but if the Church exists to be a reconciling agency in which neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, bond or free, we cannot avoid asking why the Church has not been in the forefront of the movement for the emancipation of woman? And having asked that question, one is obliged to face the unpleasant truth, far from leading the way, the Church has in fact been a powerful force in restricting the sphere of female activity and may well be the last social institution in which they are permitted to exercise responsibility.”

The Church can and must do better. The love of Christ demands it.


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