Fighting with the Sky

Taking on the Big Boys [Women's Studies Wednesday]

Posted on: August 19, 2009


As many of us are all too aware, women are no where near equality in the workplace. Women are still paid statistically less than men, sexual harassment is still prevalent, there is a lack of child and family care options, and there are still stereotypically “women’s jobs.”

Women in the workplace is an issue that Ellen Bravo is all too familiar with. She founded the Milwaukee chapter of 9to5, National Association for Working Women in 1982. She also served as the national director of 9to5 until 2004. She is currently a Women’s Studies professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I read Bravo’s book Taking on the Big Boys for Intro to Women’s Studies. It is a great book about how women are oppressed in the workforce and what to do about it. From the back cover:

Enough about breaking the glass ceiling. Here are blueprints for a redesign of the entire building, ground up, to benefit women and men – and even the bottom line. Ellen Bravo reports what’s really happening in today’s workplace with stories from offices, assembly lines, and schools. She unmasks that patronizing, trivializing, and minimizing tactics employed by “the big boys” (the powerful people who maintain the status quo) and their surrogates.

Bravo argues for feminism as a system of beliefs, law, and practices that fully values women and the work associated with women. She spells out activist strategies to achieve fair pay, flexibility for family care, and a real voice at work.

One of the things that I really liked about this book was that it wasn’t just exposing the truth about women’s oppression in the workplace, but it also showed ways to go about changing it. It provides activist tools as well as knowledge about the situation.

Women’s equality in the workplace is something that was fought for by feminists in the 70s. Many people have claimed that equality has been achieved. But all you have to do is look around to see that women are still less than men in the workplace. Bravo does a great job of exposing the lie of equality and ways to actually achieve this equality that has been fought for for a long time.

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1 Response to "Taking on the Big Boys [Women's Studies Wednesday]"

I find your Women's studies Wednesdays series to be extremely useful. Thank you for taking the trouble to write down yourr impressions on these books! This is extremely useful.

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