Women and war

This post from Brain Pickings describes and recommends a book about women who fought in the American Civil War. These women weren’t doing “typical” (stereotypical) women’s jobs like nursing or cooking. It’s a great reminder that women have so many more options in life today. Well, in many societies, anyway. It’s also a chance to think about why countries go to war, with other countries or within their own borders, and why citizens choose (or choose not) to fight.

“Oppression by Omission: The Untold Story of the Women Soldiers Who Dressed and Fought as Men in the Civil War”

Can you make some good language usage questions and discussion questions using this post? I think this excerpt is full of ideas:

“So why did women do this? For some, like their male counterparts, the motivation was purely patriotic. Others did if for love, taking to the battlefields in order to remain close to a husband, lover, fiancé, father, or brother. But for many, the reason was economic — an army private made $13 a month, roughly double what a seamstress, laundress, or maid would make. At the time of the Civil War, women, unable to vote or have bank accounts and still subject to Victorian ideals of homemaking and motherhood as the sole purpose of female existence, had neither personal nor political agency. In fact, these female soldiers tended to come from particularly marginalized groups — immigrants, the working class, farm girls, and women living below the poverty line.”

Plan B

Yesterday I was listening to two university sophomores talk about their future. One said that she wanted to be involved in a job that helped children who are victims of abuse. The other said she wanted to marry someone who made a lot of money so she could stay home with her (future) kids. My response: “If you think that will make you happy and fulfilled, that’s great. But I hope you also start thinking about a Plan B in case it doesn’t work out the way you expect.”

This is a photo series of women who are engaged in work that may not be considered “women’s work” by many.

Sadie Samuels, lobster fisher

MIra Nakashima, designer and woodworker

Mindy Gabriel, firefighter

Mindy Gabriel, firefighter

The photographer wrote about his reasons for doing such this project:

In a sentence, what’s your message? 
Gender should not determine professional opportunities.”

“I was raised to believe that I could do whatever I wanted to when I grew up. I want pass down a similar message to my children and without caveats. I want to raise my children knowing that their dreams have no limits and that they have parents supporting them to dive into anything they feel passionate about.”

Some recent news articles about women in the workforce in Japan: