Monday, March 09, 2009

Mmm. Sudsy!

The Vatican tells us what all women may celebrate on the International Women's Day (which was yesterday): A washing machine! Yup. That's what has liberated the little ladies:

As International Women's Day is celebrated, the Vatican had a novel message for the women of the world: give thanks for the washing machine. This humble domestic appliance had done more for the women's liberation movement than the contraceptive pill or working outside the home, said the the official Vatican newspaper, Osservatore Romano.

It would have to be something of that sort, would it not? Something which doesn't change the job-assignments at all, something which doesn't actually affect the gendered division of labor or the unequal valuation those roles have. Women are still seen as responsible for doing the laundry and not allowed to be priests in the Catholic Church and so on.

Note that it's quite possible to be very grateful for the washing-machine and yet find this particular contribution to the International Women's Day utterly insulting as a trivialization of the severe economic, health and social problems women in so many countries struggle with.