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In a recent opinion piece, Australian Sarrah Le Marquand proposed the idea of outlawing stay-at-home moms. According to her, when all women are forced into working outside the home, only then can society begin to sort out how to achieve balance in all aspects of life. She goes on to claim that feminism is not about choice, but equality — as if shared responsibility for earning income will somehow make wage disparity disappear and the division of chores suddenly fair.
It's at this point that I could bring in all sorts of arguments about women choosing to work part-time or not at all, accounting for quite a bit of the wage disparity, but I will leave that to the econonic experts. Instead, I'll address this notion that equality can be achieved by force, and even whether equality is desirable.
Forcing women into the workforce would result in nothing less than the destruction of the family. Most likely fueled by resentment from failure in their personal lives, feminists are misled into thinking that being treated like a man, becoming more like a man, will make them happy.
Women understand that being a support for their husbands and caretaker and formator of their children is the primacy of the women's calling. True, society and sometimes husbands don't always place sufficient value on the work a wife and mother does, and can even appear resentful of their perceived freedom. Men are given all the praise for their achievements, while the women are working away in the background many times unseen, unappreciated or underpaid. The media and feminists themselves perpetuate the myth that the women's role in upholding the family and society is not valuable.
So why, after decades of claims of inequality, would women still choose to stay at home with their children? There is the natural love they feel for them, of course, but others too, know deep in their hearts that this is what they are supposed to be doing. Women understand that the care and formation of their children is the primacy of the women's calling. The feminist movement has caused a deep wound within the souls of women who are rightly offended by the false claims that we need to achieve more. There is no higher calling than motherhood — spiritual and biological — and we are to achieve our eternal destiny by folding the umpteenth load of laundry and unloading the dishwasher for the fourth time that day with or without a hearty thank you or paycheck.
Instead of encouraging solidarity among women, feminists promote the idea that killing or abandoning our children in favor of self will somehow make us equal to men, furthering the divide and aiding the destruction — not the empowerment — of women. Even with all of these so-called advances in women's rights — birth control, abortion, no-fault divorce — more women are living in poverty, more are abused, more are abandoned and more are objectified than ever before. Ripping our children away from us and forcing women to work — as Le Marquand proposes — would not only hurt women (children can sometimes be our only earthly consolation) but also harm children profoundly, who need the constant, affectionate, attentive presence of their mothers to thrive emotionally, spiritually, physically.
Most people have a flawed understanding of equality. For instance, the Equality and Human Rights Commission definition, which states "that no one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or whom they were born," directly conflicts with the Catholic view, understood to mean that we are all endowed with equal dignity and the potential to achieve our eternal destiny.
That does not mean we all have the same earthly means and lifestyle, but that through our earthly condition we are all granted the same opportunity to achieve our eternal reward — Heaven, or Hell. We are to look first to God, then to others for help and encouragement to achieve our destiny within the circumstances of our lives.
One of the most dangerous assumptions of the liberal movement is that governments can and should legally enforce equality — in race, religion, gender or economics. With this assumption, they're empowered to strip us of more and more freedoms to enforce their ideal. You need only look to the news to find numerous examples of limits on our freedoms of religion and speech. What is unfathomable to them is that some of us are OK with inequality, and dare to say, even grateful for it — not that I am condoning discrimination of any sort; I just understand that inequality is a gift from God.
The gratitude I have for inequality is borne from the fact that it exists for a greater purpose. Without inequality we would not have a chance to practice the virtue of charity — not just taken to mean giving to the poor, but correcting with compassion those whose choices or ideology hurt themselves or society. Can anyone say, with absolute truth, that they've treated everyone they've encountered exactly the same? That they've never been rude to a server or employee when they made a mistake; have never looked down on someone in a lower socio-economic class; have never felt resentful of others in a higher socio-economic class?
It is precisely the faults of individuals that cause inequality to persist in society. Ingratitude for material goods, people and their efforts, no matter how flawed, is widespread, witnessed by the disdainful huff that comes naturally when people are inconvienced in the least. No government policy can bring forth equality because people do not treat one another with charity. Look to the writings of Ayn Rand, a militant atheist, and one can see what forced equality did in Communist Russia.
We are no better: from the boss looking for the bigger bonus by shorting the prospective hire, to the ungrateful husband or wife, continually nitpicking his spouse for this or that, it is our personal lack of charity that perpetuates inequality. Virtually every minute of every day you, personally, have the opportunity to show charity to others, on the road, in the store, in how you respond to that email. As long as we fail in charity, we fail in equality — and that is something each of us personally can control.