An Essay on The Position of Women in Modern English Society
The expectations for women in England today.
1. Opening Comments
The whole future of our country depends on young women giving birth to children and bringing them up. No one may replace a mother’s love for her children whether they be young or mature. Mary loved Jesus her Son into the crucifixion and beyond into his Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. She was finally crowned Queen of Heaven. We start therefore with the self-denying and extraordinary charity of women of all ages and occupations derived like it or not from the shining example of the ultimate woman Mary Mother of God. Christianity venerates her person, position and rank – Islam and the Jewish religion do not venerate her but educated Islamists and Jews would regard her favourably as the Mother of Jesus a good and holy man at the least.
2. Women in Action
Where does this lead me? To the essence of womanhood in familial life and sisterhood. Women do not serve themselves like men but others including their families. They are made to give birth and thereby their very nature is altruistic and giving. Of course not all women have children but they have parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, in-laws and friends including all these family members. It is not in the nature of women to be aggressive – much more they conciliate and build bridges. Each woman has a different milieu but it is unlike women to confront. They will find another way to approach someone they find difficult. They wish to heal illness and bridge the gulf. Without women we would be done for – e.g. Golda Meir P.M. Israel 1970s, Margaret Thatcher who welded our country together through the Falklands War in the 1980’s, Mother Theresa, St Thērėse of Lisieux and St Bernadette of Lourdes (the last three outstanding humble and charitable Catholics). It is within womankind not to seek publicity or stridency. Remember Margaret Thatcher’s words when taking office in 1979, May: the selected words from the prayer of St Francis of Assisi: I bring truth in place of error. She was not strident then but sought to unite through veracity. Above all women create and preserve life rather than end it. Without women who inspire us the world would be a soulless place – e.g. Jean d ‘Arc, Boadicea (Early British leader against Romans), Florence Nightingale (nurse), Elizabeth Fry (prison reformer), Anne Frank famous teenager and Dutch Jew – died in the camps: 1945, all the Jewish women and their children who went to their deaths in the Camps 1933-1945. Dame Cicely Saunders (founder of hospice movement), Sue Ryder (founded charitable homes) Queen Elizabeth II (Her Royal Highness and Her Majesty) to name some inspirational womankind. Women have more than proved their worth and example to us men over the ages.
3. Modern Women
They have nothing to be ashamed of and a lot to be proud of in the record of women in the last century and before and indeed their 21st Century successors and themselves. Women now occupy vital positions in politics, the legal profession, including the Judiciary, medicine and the media and rightly so. Of course women continue to work behind the scenes in a maternal capacity often combining an important job with the domestic role. What am I driving at? Not that women should take over, but we should appreciate their dynamism and galvanising power in the lives of all men and women. If we recognise the true enlivening nature and spirit of women we will move forward men and women together. There should be no stand off or tension between men and women – rather they should interact and form their strategies and policies in unison.
4. The Current Climate
I do believe the sex and work discrimination legalisation creates barriers and self-consciousness that is counterproductive. Clearly individuals should not be oppressed and offensive behaviour should be unacceptable but a degree of robustness has been lost under the present regime and a fear of recrimination has replaced it. The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is pertinent. Respect is crucial – you cannot respect someone if you “crucify” them with a publicly known discrimination suit and then the Respondent loses respect for the Complainant. The weapon of the criminal sanction from fixed penalty for causing alarm and distress and harassment procedures to the police caution or warning or reprimand generally and the more severe criminal process itself is always available if proper. Essentially the work discrimination legislation has taken away the opportunity for due respect willingly arrived at in these work place situations. The old fashioned retraction and apology has been forgotten. Persons in work such as the employer/manager are not treated fairly under the guise of equality and discrimination laws designed to punish the offender rather then bring the Respondent and Complainant together. Christian contrition and forgiveness do not enter into it. Imagination has evaporated and been replaced by avarice, looking for the main chance and dumbing down the real employer/employee relationship. Of course that relationship can break down and there are employee remedies quite sensibly in place. There is a free job market and an employee may work where he or she wishes. That is a fundamental right with good reference from the former employer – people cannot be friends even though they work together. You do not have to be friends of your employer even in a small firm.
Clearly you may not repeal all the employment discrimination legislation. Nevertheless legislation does not win people’s minds and hearts. Sometimes a stand has to be taken with the Race Relations Act of the late 1960’s. The lead has to be taken by the Employment Tribunals and the Appeal Tribunal in controlling the level of awards with a view to promoting the conciliatory approach I advocate. Moreover powers should be given to Tribunal Chairman to divert certain cases for police action if the Respondent agrees and police action is appropriate probably fixed penalty, reprimand, warning, caution or bind over by the Court depending on gravity. The whole accent should be on conciliation but unlike presently with real teeth and incision. We would have to see how it works in practice. The whole aim of the Tribunal and the discrimination legislation should be to promote a better and more secure ambience in the work place. I argue if a Manager/employer/employee I have in mind is apologetic he or she should be dealt with by the police alone if proper. The Crown Prosecution Service should pursue the same aim. There is no point in unduly penalising a staff member or manager where there is another way out with proper safe gaurds in place. No one can control safeguarding except the employer and his advisors. The Tribunal may not become involved in that aspect but it may under my proposals give a lead by diversion as may the serving police officers who deal with the case. The police are well versed in these issues. The Tribunal does not wish to see good staff members being truncated and terminated if the staff member wishes to work on, sometimes the trust may have disappeared and nothing will be able to restore the staff member to the work force despite his willingness to return so compromise will be achieved. The employee may desire no continuation in the job in the view of the so called discrimination (break down in relations). Again a compromise agreement will result. I argue for good relations in the workplace for the benefit of all who work there above all else women: the fairer sex.
In the Catholic Church a priestly wrongful act can lead to sanctions against that priest including disciplinary action, police generated remedies and enforcement not to mention criminal proceedings. The real and terrible weakness, loss and failure is that a victim or victims have been turned against the Roman Catholic Church which may offer so much to an adherent. Whether the allegation be substantiated or not the believer probably no longer believes in the Holy Mother Church to the same degree and Her power to transmit grace to her communicants. The wider publicised wrongdoing creates disquiet about Catholicism thus the priest has failed in his duty to succour the faithful and hold their souls or a particular soul loyal to the Church. Even in the non-clerical arena disciplinary proceedings may avert the Tribunal process and resort to the police remedies may be unnecessary. In grave cases the Criminal Justice process should ensue and take its course.