Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day: Work

Women are admitting to sins that are not sinful: such as their love for poetry -- in trying to account for how men discard them and ignore their talent. "Work" was shorthand for something I wrote called Work on What Has Been Spoiled. My list of paid jobs runs to 30 and covers 20 years. Work is a topic: What is it and who is allowed to do it? Not long ago, on our poetics listserv, a woman poet wrote that she had been taught that work is a privilege. I have read her writing to discover whether she is among those who deserves paid work or not. "Privilege" always means 2 per cent to me; I don't know why. She might remain sanguine if it did mean that. I was taught that paid work is a requirement. Imagine, we came from such different sets of instruction ... from our families, and in particular, our parents. In requiring paid work of me, my parents required it of the world. Work is an acknowledged human right -- a secret, perhaps -- further, appropriate paid work based on training is a human right. That these are rights suggests that people denied them suffer human indignities. People have begun to say to me that I might have to leave my native country to have these human rights honored. Is it a right to stay in one's country? Citizenship in one's native country is a human right.

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