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I'm getting flashbacks of the first election in which I was qualified to vote: Reagan/Bush vs. Mondale/Ferraro. I was told by a couple of women, with whom I worked, that I couldn't call myself a woman if I didn't support Geraldine Ferraro. Never mind that she was on the ticket as VICE-President. I told them I couldn't support her even if she was the presidential candidate and Mondale her VP because I didn't support her views. My co-workers no longer considered me a "real" woman.

Jennifer F.

>It is my firm belief that all of this is naturally derived from a culture with Protestant roots...<

Wow. Your blog is always fascinating, but this is a particularly interesting point. Very, very good food for thought.


I'm sort of confused about the Protestant part. I can't think of anything against that argument- but I can't think of anything for it either. Do you mean because there was no strict religious outlet for Protestant women who do not marry but do not work (i.e. being a nun)? I am also not aware of the Protestants being so lax in education. Enlighten me!

Renee A.

Never considered myself a big feminist in terms of climbing the corporate ladder, I reflected for a moment of my mother’s own boss when I was growing up. My mother worked at a Catholic hospital and the head honcho was a woman, but that didn’t matter according to secular society’s standards of women in workplace because she was a nun.

Some might think my education is a waste, but when you educate a mother you educate a family.


Small: consider the Christian split came in the 16th century. P's dropped 5 of 7 sacraments, belief in free will, visible structure of Church (bride) and devotion to Mary. Thus feminine half had only scripture and Christ -- no feminine paradigm, no life outside of marriage.

At that time, C side was expanding education for all (printing press, affluence, urbanisation) and that included girls. Groups such as Ursulines (Angela Merici) were thinking creatively how to expand opportunities for women, and the entire ecclesial structure (intact) offered great freedoms even outside marriage (though certainly not what we have now).

One side contracting, the other side expanding. The example I give in the book is of Florence Nightengale (English) fighting for ability to nurse, set up hospitals, train women -- which the C's had been doing for centuries.


Hmmm...yes I see your point. But somehow I can't think of the Catholic church as any more liberating for women than the Protestant. Certainly those Magdalene Houses come to mind. Though perhaps "The Scarlet Letter" could be used as a counter argument. Florence Nightingale was indeed remarkable. Not Catholic (to my knowledge) and one of her early inspirations came from Lutherans- (though I am not trying to deny the Catholics had many such institutions set up, any of which could have also been an influence). Anyway- thanks for the response. Still musing...


Awesome posts! I feel smarter for having read them. I agree with all points made. True feminism comes from a woman's valuing herself, her body, and, her soul. I will never vote for a woman if she is pro-abortion and pro-gay. Those two things, in particular, are an attempt to destroy the family unit- the devil loves seeing families fall apart!

Donna Marie Lewis

While Florence Nightingale never became Catholic, she considered joining the Church at one point, and was a good friend of Cardinal Manning.

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    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
      This is just another of the unintended consequences of the cultural acceptance of contraception and abortion! Men's sexuality has been robbed of its creative essence. It is now viewed as something that imposes a burden on women (when conception happens to occur), something used to control women or something that is purely recreational. Why would men bother?? In taking away their responsibility, we've also robbed them of their significance! In the big picture of humanity, men have been made into nothing more than a nuisance women have to figure out how to control in order to bring about the next generation. Men don't see it as their task to protect the vulnerable because they see themselves as the vulnerable ones. A few well preserved vials of sperm would make men entirely obsolete in the world's ethos today!!
    • Excellent, Dom! (from Teresa)
      That is astounding Robin, and good for you for standing up. At the heart of that matter, I think, is even worse than a gender mixing message. There is an increased sharper and sharper focus on the "self." Solid Catholic teaching returns our focus away from ourselves to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The original sin, Eve denied her womanhood when she desired to be like "gods." Since the only god she knew was the Father. Where was Adam? He stood impotent... in other words, they were divorced. There's a young girl at Robin's son's high school who was just told that she is the center of the universe and it's a tragic disservice to her.
    • Find the logic (from "me")
      Ditto what Mary said! A lot of high schools have very poor math and science depts, for boys and girls. I also am educated as a chemical engineer, but chose to teach the two years before we had children because its hours were more suited to spending time with children. (I was looking ahead). When it came time and I was pregnant with our first, I realized that I did not want to leave him with someone else, and was able to stay home full time. I am not sure it would have been that easy if we were used to another engineering income and not just a private school teacher income. Also some of my first job offers were out on oil rigs - I had no interest in that at all even though I enjoyed my engineering classes and did well in them. No one discouraged me from an engineering job, on the contrary I got a lot of flack for my decision not to pursue an engineering career.
    • Find the logic (from Mary)
      I've been lurking, but this is one that irritates me. Beats the heck out of me what these "barriers" are. I was educated as a chemical engineer, where 1/3 of our class was women. However, in electrical engineering, only 1 or 2 out of 30 were women. Is it possible that women are Just Not Interested in some areas? Nah, it must be The Man keeping us down so we must legislate (and, I agree -- when they say "legistlate", I hear "quota"). And actually, I have a friend that was also a chemical engineer. When she lost her job, she decided not to go back into engineering and started working from home so she could spend more time with her 3 kids. Also, if nothing else, there are all kinds of incentives for women to enter science and engineering -- scholarships not available to men, guaranteed housing on campuses that do not guarantee housing to the general population, etc. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that schools in general are not preparing students for the hard sciences. It is truly a sad state of affairs, the lack of science education these days.

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