A discussion of selections from “Because of Sex” was held at 4 p.m. Sept. 26 by Mabee Library Book Club. The talk was sponsored by STAND, an organization of students advocating for human rights. People talked about gender in society and how ideas about it are shaped by people of society.
Angela Beatie and Kelly Leahy, librarians in Mabee Library who run the book club, led the discussion by mentioning questions about the roles of a mother and a working woman.
Gillian Thomas’ book, “Because of Sex,” showed 10 cases of working women who had children or who were pregnant during the time of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It was at this time that the Title VII law made it discrimination due to gender illegal. It sparked changes in how the nation sees working women throughout the book.
Though a law had been put into place, women continued to fight for their rights, as there were no women organizations to help women do so before 1971.
“They were laughing that ‘civil rights for women is literally a joke’ at the beginning of the article,” Sharon Sullivan, chairwoman of the theater department who is dedicated to women’s studies, said. “Family is not just for people who have babies, but we all have the relationship.”
There are many different ways to fight for women’s rights. All women have rights that they need to be able to express, regardless of social class or economical standing
In the 1970s, high-class people were treated better by others in society, and they were less abused by others. Women with higher income had the ability to hire lawyers for their cause. It was also possible to hire somebody to take care of their children. But, all women still had their rights hindered under their current conditions, so many women fought. Working women, especially, faced scrutiny under the law. Many would not be hired due to the possibility of them needing maternity leave in the future. Working mothers either didn’t care about their children (supposedly), or they spend too much time with them and not enough at work.
“I feel so lucky to work in a place that I can be a female professional person,” said Jennifer Wiard, the director of external relations who has a 12-month-old baby. “The baby needs me or my milk in every minute, and he needs different types of care from parents.”
The protection of women’s pregnancy is not a special need, but a basic need. It’s not a disability to be pregnant.
The issue of women’s working status is not only about women. It needs the effort of every individual in the society.
“It says that each human is the same, from a show called ‘Difference Between Us’ in my biological anthropology class,” said Tierney Kester, a freshman criminal justice major. “It’s important to realize that the main goal of human life is to reproduce and creating new people.”
The Mabee Library Book Club partners with different clubs or student organizations each semester. They partnered with STAND this semester, and they will partner with the psychology club next semester. Each semester, the club picks a book to read and discusses it and its current relevance each time they meet.
“We choose the books with social justice aspects, something we can do good in the world with,” Beatie said. “We want to start conversations about some difficult topics.”
Both students and professors are welcome to join the book discussion. Students can ask questions, and professors can bring their knowledge to the table. For more information about the book talk, contact [email protected] or [email protected]