So, I've been reading various blogs (Bitch Ph.D., Feministe, Redneck Mother, Mom 101 and Pandagon) and discover that today is Blog Against Sexism Day.
As a child, I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. It was a big deal to them that women were not meant to teach men, women were NOT to be smarter than men, women were best kept at home. Unconsciously echoing Galileo's thoughts ("I do not think it is necessary to believe that the same God who has given us our senses, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means the information that we could gain through them."), I would say "God wouldn't have made me this smart if he didn't intend for me to do something with it". This was considered almost as bad as blasphemy and I was told that God wanted me to submit, and he just made me smart so that I'd have more to sacrifice. Other people told me that God didn't give me my intelligence, but Satan did.
The Mother's Day I was pregnant with my first, I went to church with my mom. I've never sat through a more misogynisitc sermon (and that is saying A LOT). My husband was extremely offended. Basically, we were told that if we worked outside of the home we were neglecting our children, UNLESS, of course, we were like the preacher's wife and made sure that we were home when the kids got home from school.
At the time, we had all but decided that Mr. Gaia was going to be a stay at home dad. We were still trying to find a good daycare but were growing discouraged and realizing that we were not going to find the right daycare for us.
I walked out of that church, turned to my mom and said "Would it really be better for ME to stay at home, even though I SUCK at the childcare thing? Mr. Gaia is GOOD at it, why would it be better for me to be with the baby than him?" My mom looked me in the eye and said "Because God's plan is for you to stay home and be supported by your husband."
I lost all respect for my mother that day. All respect. At that point, I knew that it wasn't about what was best for my children or me, it was about what these people thought God wanted. And what my mom knew was that I made 50% more than Mr. Gaia and there is no way we could have lived on what Mr. Gaia made.
It became abundantly clear to me WHY women make less than men. Why women aren't equally represented in upper management. It's because there are enough people out there that believe women are supposed to stay home and care for the kids while their husbands support them. That believe that allowing a woman to make a living is actually perverting God's plan.