Capitalism offers women a chance

Without capitalism, many of the fights for equal rights would not have occurred.

When I read Andrea Loubert’s Nov. 30 letter to the editor, “System of oppression,” and found out it was an attack on capitalism, I almost fell off my chair at the appalling contradiction. Loubert’s compliment for the Nov. 28 editorial “Where we should be going” is only a sentence long before she goes off on her absurd theory that capitalism is to blame for gender inequality. Capitalism is the economic and political system in which private owners are free to trade for mutual benefit and profit. This contrasts socialism, where economic activity is controlled by the state. Nowhere in Loubert’s rant does she explain how on earth “sexism is essential to capitalism.” It is entirely independent of the idea of the nuclear family because at its core, capitalism deals with individuals. In capitalism it is recognized that individuals have the right to life, liberty and property ” group concepts like the nuclear family are not needed or mentioned.

Each of Loubert’s grievances can be explained by sources unrelated to capitalism. The pressure to be a homemaker stems from tradition far older than a country. Occupational trends for women stem partly from tradition, partly from the free choices capitalism allows women. The conflict over the legality of abortion and contraceptives stems from a popular moral dilemma that places the value of a potential baby above the value of a woman’s body and life. There is no grand conspiracy in capitalism to create a class of cheap labor from impoverished mothers.

In this country women have a choice. Though statistics show women do not work the same jobs or receive the same wages as men, you do not have to be an average woman because you are an individual. You are free to excel and raise that average. Today’s movement should focus on the excellence in women. Many fights for equal rights under the law were won during the past century, and the fight for a woman’s right to control her own body needs to be settled. But be careful what you wish for, as socialism would provide a limit on freedom. Given the record of history and tradition, it is likely the leaders of such a system would use the power of the state to appoint women to their traditional roles of homemaker and service worker by force, and issues like abortion would be up to the whim of the party or dictator in charge.

Ricky Egeland is a University employee. Please send comments to [email protected]