Tag Archives: women’s work choices

Why Are You a Feminist? If You’d Asked Me *FREE READ*

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.


Why are you a feminist? Which aspects of the feminist doctrine do you consider most important? How would you define your own feminism?

When I was a child, I wanted to be an astronomer. Loved astrophysics. Dreamed of spending my life learning matter, energy, space, stars, other worlds. At about the age of 12 or 13, I was informed that I would have to be a teacher or a secretary (this was in the late 1950s), but not to worry, “you can always have astronomy as a hobby.”

After I graduated from college with a Phi Beta Kappa key, I interviewed for a job in a bank’s management training program. The interviewer—ironically, a black man who one would expect might have had his fill of discrimination—said, in these words, “We don’t hire women into our management training program, but you’d be great in our secretarial pool!”

I am not a radical feminist. I personally feel the women’s liberation movement and economic changes that ensued actually limit women’s choices. We wanted to have the choice to pursue a career instead of or in addition to bearing children and caring for a man. Instead, we got the obligation to do so.

Now that it takes two salaries to keep a roof over your head, women still have no choice. Then, you had no choice to get a job. Now you have no choice but to get a job. In my ideal world, every worker—male or female—would earn enough to support a family, so that either parent would have the option of raising the kids at home.