4/05/2006

Working Girls

In striking contrast with my posts on Paris Hilton and Holland MP Dijksma, I must point out this fantastic article at The Star.
Alison Wolf's article on the changes that feminism has brought to society is an excellent read. If you have not read it, then I recommend you do so. She makes one point in particular that I wish to point out. (emphases are mine)
The pioneering female professionals of the 19th and early 20th centuries were imbued, in an unselfconscious way, with the language and values of religion. Duty to God and duty to their fellow women and men were inextricably combined. If we do not understand this, we will not grasp how different the world of our modern elite women is from that of their grandmothers. Or, indeed, from their grandmothers' grandmothers. Most educated 18th-century women regarded the traditional "women's work" of caring for home and children not with 1960s feminist disdain, but with the values identified by Vickery's study of Georgian "gentle" women: love and duty, fortitude, propriety and resignation. These women were not saints, but they saw the world differently. The centrality of religious belief in both public pronouncements and private lives marks out the different country of the past. Few women were as eminent as Dorothea Beale, the great headmistress of Cheltenham Ladies' College and founder of St Hilda's, Oxford, for whom "moral training is the end, education the means," or Julie Velten Favre, who sent the first generation of highly educated female professeures into the French lycées to "take charge of souls." But these leading educators lived in a world where actively "doing good" was both a major part of many women's lives and intrinsically linked with religious faith and instruction. In Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain, his recent study of the decline of Christian charity, Frank Prochaska estimates that on the eve of World War I there were close to 200,000 volunteer "district visitors" in Britain, linked to one or other of the churches. They were overwhelmingly women and offered a range of services: financial help, medicines and medical advice, recipes, clothing, links to potential employers and, along with these, bibles, tracts, and pressure to attend church services. The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the development of myriad charities with religious links, many of them aimed at women and almost all relying heavily on female volunteers. Today, the middle-class working-age female volunteer has all but vanished. Voluntary organizations are increasingly run by professionals. Religion has become marginal to the lives of most citizens.

So true.
Kick God out of society, and witness the results. Everything that follows thereafter is but a symptom of the fallen state of our world.

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