Monday, March 13, 2017

Day 2: The Official First Day

Today was marvelous. I have not felt this marveled since summer. Today I began my day alongside Beth. We attended a parallel event titled “Future Shift: Young Women and the Changing World of Work”. The event was hosted by YWCA Canada. YWCA is a non-profit organization that was originally focused on eliminating racism. Overtime it has expanded to focus on women’s issues. Just FYI. Interestingly enough, this event was led by young “millennial” women.

(Future Shift: Young Women and the Changing World of Work)
I quoted the term millennial because that’s what they called themselves. That’s what the media calls us. But this is the first time in my life that they have embraced our millennial generation. I am so glad I attended this event. It helped me feel proud to be a millennial woman. At this point you’re probably wondering why. Well they explained a few issues that our generation of working women have gone through in the past years and are going through right now. Issues like online “trolling”, underpaid/ unpaid work, lack of affordable child care. (Sidenote: North Carolina ranks 11th in most expensive childcare of all the states). The young female speakers shared their work history in relation to technology, lack of legislative support, and the perception of society, and occupational segregation.
 Occupational segregation in terms of vertical and horizontal were discussed in 3 out of the 4 events I attended today. Occupational segregation refers to the tendency for men and women to seek employment in different jobs (horizontal segregation). Vertical segregation refers to the way specific occupations tend to have a lower societal status and less rewarded positions than others. Nordic leaders explained this concept to me for the first time. I had no idea that these ideas were defined and heavily researched.
One of the speakers explicitly told the crowd that she was a millennial and yes people consider us millennial individuals“lazy” but our generation consists of hard working women that work long hours unpaid in this current economic structure. The audience clapped after she stated this. I had never really though much about unpaid work that women do of all kinds such as domestic work. I had also never realized how under-appreciated most care-giving jobs are given the undervalued pay. This was discussed at the side event at the UN Headquarters titled “Gender equality the Nordic way: What can we learn from it?” Some prime ministers of children in the Nordic countries mentioned that the care-giving jobs are still far less underpaid than the jobs in the male dominate field.
                                (Gender equality the Nordic way: What can we learn from it?)
Even though Nordic countries have balanced employment of women, the pay gap is still there. One minister mentioned that despite all the efforts, care-giving jobs (that women tend to take on more than men) are often viewed as less than compared to the jobs that men take on. The options of care-giving jobs are so limited compared to non care-giving jobs as the prime minister mentioned. She gave the example of the nursing profession. While nursing is seen as a feminine care-giving job, there aren’t as many nursing type of jobs as engineering jobs which tend to be male dominant. There’s all kinds of engineering fields for men to enter like industrial, civic, and so forth but women are less limited to the type of nursing they can engage in. I had never thought of this. Male-dominant fields are expansive in terms of job opportunities. Which goes back to emphasizing how BADLY we need more young girls in the STEM field. I think of the speakers from the first event compared the pay of the stem field and the social field also. She noted that RIGHT NOW we need more people involved in the social context than advancing the next technological thing. (She made reference to politics when she said this). However because women’s participation in the social field wasn’t valued as much, they are under-appreciated. I feel like those two sessions really expanded my view of the life hardworking women go through. I have so much more respect for women now more than ever. I go to an all women’s college and I already knew what it felt like to be a woman and step into the shoes of a woman. However, to step into the career path of a woman emotionally is different. I now believe that women don’t complain enough about all the work that they have to do. Even some ambassadors at the UN Ministerial Round Table discussed the unpaid work that women do. The ambassador of Spain compared the amount of domestic work women did to the bare minimal hour that men do in his country…which I don’t have much data for in our country but from experience, my female friends most often complain about how often men leave dishes around and don’t do laundry. The little things often end up meaning all too much for women- they cost women too much. I am going to miss the UN CSW tomorrow now that the blizzard canceled all of tomorrow’s events.

                                                      (UN Ministerial Roundtable)

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