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Friday, May 01, 2015

Pope Francis the feminist? Nope

In my last post of links i included the news that Pope Francis had spoken up for equal pay for women. That's a good, thing, of course, but the only reason such a statement from him even *was* news is because it was unexpected, given his attitude towards women (Seven reasons some women wince when Pope Francis starts talking).

Today I saw a couple of comments on this in the news ...

- From The Christian Science Monitor ... Pope calls gender wage gap 'pure scandal.' But does he practice what he preaches? (+video) ...

[...] when it comes to hiring women, the Vatican itself has a less-than-stellar record. In 2014, only 18 percent of Holy See employees were women, according to statistics released on the eve of International Women's Day and reported by the Associated Press.

In Vatican City's government, which runs the Vatican Museums, the Vatican supermarket, the pharmacy, and the department store, 19 percent of employees were women in 2014.

The Vatican itself views the same statistics as a sign that the presence of women is growing at the Vatican, pointing out that the number of women employees of the city-state's government has nearly doubled over the past decade, from 195 in 2004 to 371 in 2014, from 13 to 19 percent.

Because the Vatican doesn't provide financial or earnings data, it is difficult to calculate and compare wages of the men and women who work there.

But no matter how you consider the statistics, there's no disputing the fact that women rarely hold top offices in the Vatican. And though Francis has pledged to give women a greater role in the Roman Catholic church and the Vatican bureaucracy, he has ruled out the possibility that women could become priests or head congregations (or pope, for that matter), saying the "door is closed." ....

- Ans from The Guardian ... If the Pope wants women's equality, he must support reproductive rights ...

[...] Pope Francis the feminist? Well ... not so fast.

True equality for women or wives – even economic equality – is dependent on access to birth control and abortion, which is something I suspect Pope Francis won’t come out in favor of anytime soon. So while it’s nice that one of the world’s preeminent religious leaders believes in fair wages for fair work, the sentiment rings hollow for women who know what it really takes to have equality in the workforce and beyond.

Studies have shown that access to contraception early in a woman’s life makes women more likely to pursue higher education, and to work at higher-paying jobs. The ability to decide whether and when to parent – and how to space out the children they choose to have – impacts the kind of jobs that women can have and the kind of salary they will bring home.

The United Nations Population Fund has called access to family planning a “key factor in reducing poverty” globally, and a study of the United States found that the advent of the birth control pill closed the wage gap by 10% in the 1980s and by 30% in the 1990s ....

The disparity between the Pope's words on equality for women and the actuality of discrimination against women within and by the church makes what he has said, good as it was, hypocritical.


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