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[Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse

Thanks Maria Cristina for sharing your experience. I too believe that the division of labor in family care is a very important aspect of the problem. It has certainly affected (and is affecting) me in very important ways, although I am no woman (and I hope other women will chime in to make due justice to your post). I will nonetheless share my experience, which I think refracts the phenomenon you describe but from a different prism. 

I begun my PhD with a one year old girl (now 7), and had a second baby right before my post doc (which I am in the middle of). My partner, a woman raised in a (Spanish) home where dad worked at a fabric for 12 hours 6 days a week and mum worked home 16 or 18 hours 7 days a week, was nonetheless educated (by uncles and a progressive environment in her town) for and heartedly embraced the ideal of having a more equalitarian society. She very early on worked on to show me how unbalanced our contributions were to family care, and it took us lots of fights and struggle to begin realising how much more I could be doing to begin getting closer to an equal contribution. I thank her for all her effort to help me help her and, in doing so, help myself.

In the meantime, I have learned a lot about gender and academia. An example has been troubles in socialising with colleagues, as I have found it hard to make them (specially men) understand that, although it would be great to join for a conversation, coffee, or beer, it simply is impossible for me to call home and say, "hey, I'll be a couple of hours late," specially given we live in foreign countries where we do not have relatives that give us a hand. Mum has been with a baby since wake up, and anyone having been for a whole day with a baby/toddler should know that 8 or 10 hours work are luxury relaxing when compared. Yet, I often felt guilty for not acceding to spend more time with colleagues, often feeling (being treated as if) I was expected to be able to find more free time cause I was no woman. Of course, most of the cases in which I felt like that were not so intended by others. Gendered issues are objective facts, not just facts of awareness. 

As I have come to dedicate much more care to family, I have also been forced to let go academic opportunities that in the past I would have gone for no matter the price (a price my family would have had to pay). It has been made clear to me that, if there are deadlines, whether I had to attend family or not does not count. If I(you) commit to an academic project, it does not make any difference whether I(you) have a family or not. If I(you) commit, then sudden sick children or partner, school holidays, or simply the need to take few days off to save family from total depression count against you. You either should not commit or should find someone else to do the job... Someone else without family commitments will be in a much better position to take them. That may be fair or not. In either case, deadlines are just deadlines. For sure they help us set priorities right. 

Things are changing, of course, and Norway (the country I use to work) is a best example of a place where equal support is priority, specially compared to here (North America).  

Perhaps xmca could be seen as a venue free of deadlines and other pressures that may prevent participation in scholarly informed life by those committed to caring for what women have cared for long time on their own. Clearly it is a venue where experiences and not just generalisations can be shared.

To close following on your last comment, clearly writing shorter posts is my next big thing to learn (I try, really!)

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Maria Cristina Migliore <migliore@ires.piemonte.it>
Sent: 31 October 2016 17:10
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse

Hello to everyone,

I am a woman who likes following the discussion on xmca, but has intervened
into xmca discussions only once, even if I enrolled five or six years ago.

I thank Mike Cole to have raised the issue of few female voices on this

This is a very complex issue. I would approach this topic by referring to
my own experience in this listserv. This is a typical feminist approach:
starting from our own experience and avoiding generalization.

I think that one of the reasons that keeps me out from contributing to the
interesting debates here in this listserv is time. When I read so many
posts from the same people, and some very long posts, I wonder whether
these people, all men, have family responsibilities, whether they have to
go shopping, cooking, cleaning, dealing with the increasing bureaucracy in
our lives. I am an Italian woman, and one could learn from Italian
statistics that we Italian women work for the well-being at home much
longer hours than our men.

I am also wondering whether the knowledge cumulated by these men can be
explained by this different social division of labour between men and

These elements, less time and less erudition, create an unbalance and some
difficulties in participation.

So this is my main explanation for my own rare appearance in this listserv.
But of course, this adds up to the other factors already mentioned in this

I conclude with noticing that my feminist approach, talking about myself,
seems quite the opposite to the dominant approach in this listserv, so
focused on theories and abstraction. Could this be another reason to keep
silent the women’s and other socially marginalized voices in this listserv,
for they/we feel this terrain as foreign?

I guess that if we want to hear more of these voices, we should accept a
higher mixture of practice and theory thinking, and also emotions and
tensions toward transformation and change, in our discussions.

And I also need to learn how to write short posts!

Maria-Cristina Migliore, Ph.D

Senior researcher


Torino (Italia)

2016-10-31 14:49 GMT+01:00 <lpscholar2@gmail.com>:

> I was looking through Louis Menand’s (The Metaphysical Club: A Story of
> Ideas in America) and this paragraph struck a cord in this moment of the
> election dynamics unfolding and the place of gender in earlier times.
> Abolitioism arose out of the *Second Great Awakening* the evangelical
> revival that swept through New England and then upstate New York between
> 1800 and 1840, and that also spawned temperance, women’s rights, and other
> social reform movements, along with a number of utopian and religious
> sects, most famously the Mormons.  The *foundations* of the abolitionalist
> movement were therefore spiritual and anti-institutional. Abolitionism was
> a party for people who did not believe in parties – a paradoxical law of
> attraction that turned out to be ideally suited to Unitarian,
> Transcendentalist, and generally post-Calvanist culture like New England, a
> culture increasingly obsessed with the moral authority of the individual
> conscience.  The American Anti-Slavery Society, the movement’s
> organizational arm, had relatively few members, membership in an
> organization being the sort of thing that tends to compromise the *inner
> vision*. BUT it had many followers.
> I was struck that between 1800 and 1840 in this locale (Boston  and
> upstate New York) how many social reform movents (post Calvanism)
> originated and unfolded to permeate American culture. Then to return to the
> current election with this historical*ity in awareness. Back and forth
> living presence, including women’s rights.
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> From: Annalisa Aguilar
> Sent: October 28, 2016 2:04 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse
> I would like to post something historic that I don't think has ever been
> declared by the New York times prior to a US Election:
> http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/upshot/
> presidential-polls-forecast.html
> It feels highly relevant to this thread, because it may shine a light on
> what it feels like to see a story of a woman prevailing in very neutral
> language. You will note, there is nothing about her hair, nor her
> appearance, nor mention of her husband.
> And, to Huw's (probable) liking, there's a lot of statistics that show (I
> hope) the inevitable.
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa


Maria Cristina Migliore, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher

IRES Istituto Ricerche Economico Sociali del Piemonte

Via Nizza, 18

10125 Torino – Italia

Tel. +39 011 6666463

cell. 348 0454272

Fax.  +39 011 6696012

e-mail   migliore@ires.piemonte.it

skype mariacristinamigliore

IRES web www.ires.piemonte.it

LinkedIn Maria Cristina Migliore

personal web www.mariacristinamigliore.it (Italiano)

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