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October 28, 2014


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I just finished listening to today’s Radio West show. Well done Neylan, and I hope Doug Fabrizio follows through on having you back to discuss Women at Church!

I'm not sure how this ties in, but it's been on my mind recently: I read Half the Sky in the last few weeks (yes, I’m a few years behind the curve on that one), and I was particularly struck by the experience of the founder of the Kashf Foundation. She went to Pakistan ready to extend micro loans to women, but could not find women interested in the opportunity! Obviously they overcame that barrier, but it was an initial hurdle nonetheless. But what surprised me most was my own reaction. I felt oddly sorry for the husbands and men in her stories. I could almost hear the rhetoric in the community: "Who does this American-educated woman think she is, waltzing in here and encouraging our women to leave home without their husband's permission? She's going to destroy the fabric of our society. The women will spend all their time selling banana beer and raising goats and families will disintegrate!" Don't get me wrong, I think what Kashf is doing is phenomenal, and thank goodness the husband in the story quit beating his wife and finally admitted he respected her! But still...change is hard, and fear and culture are hard, and I felt for these communities and families who were working through such a fundamental change, even if it was a positive thing.


I enjoyed the conversation with Radio West and was delighted at the diversity of the women's experiences and perspectives. I do agree religious culture can and does play a part in a large portion of this, however, I don't think it is the totality of the picture. Where, in what sectors, are women working in UT? Are some sectors more open and flexible towards women and therefore see more women in the field, like retail or education? Or does flexibility and work/life balance not play significantly into these statistics? If it does play into the statistics, what is state of UT doing to attract companies that have great policies and attitudes towards work/life balance? Also what is the motivating force behind these women who work, what draws them into the workforce, either in management or retail or wherever, are they working for a double income, for health insurance, sole supporter of the family, personal fulfillment, offset debt? It would be interesting to get a better read on the statistics of these women who are working and then move forward and shape the state to open up more diverse opportunities for those who seek them.

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