This is something which has been running through my mind for quite a while now. I worry a lot about how quite often being green is being portrayed as something which is the responsibility of women. We are the ones who should be staying home, baking, making our own washing powders, washing nappies etc.
It is something I especially struggle with as an ardent feminist, high powered career women who has left that, in the process of changing career and is returning to being the hippy she was when she was younger. And now I enjoy baking and making things by knitting and sewing, amongst other techniques. If we do have children then I would really want to stay at home and not put them into a nursery (especially as they are really, really expensive here and as a teacher it wouldn’t be financially worth my time). I would want to use re-usable nappies and cook their food from scratch, as well as everything else which goes along with these choices.
I worry about how this is betraying my feminist roots. I know my partner would take a very active role in the childcare, but at the end of the day he would be working full time, leaving the house at 7.30am and getting home at 8pm. So, the vast majority of it would be down to me. And by taking the green option it requires additional time.
The other issue which worries me is that we would have this option as we are middle class. What would happen if he wasn’t earning as much? How would we be able to live the ethical, green life to the same extent which we do and I plan to do if we have children?
This issue was covered in today’s BBC Woman’s Hour. A debate between Julie Bindel and the Green party’s Natalie Bennett discuss these issues.Its the first item, just a couple of minutes into it. I hope those outside the UK can access it. (Oh, and the concept of having a ‘Woman’s Hour’? Don’t get me started!)
For me, feminism is about choice for women, we should be able to make our own choices about our lives. The inherently patriarchal society which we live in takes a lot of these choices away from us and often we don’t even know it. I can chose to change career, live relativley greenly (trying to improve every day) and I chose to make my own things as much as possible. Sometimes as political act in itself and sometimes to save costs and minimise my impact on the earth. But by dint of being middle class (ie – well educated, access to the internet etc) and supported by my partner ( in so many ways) I am able to have these choices.
What do you think?