Emerson on working women: satire or sexism?

 

Madam, – No doubt Newton Emerson will seek to hide behind the excuse of “satire” to deflect accusations of demeaning sexism that attends his recent offering (“Working women almost certainly caused the credit crunch”, February 25th).

Literary history tells us that satire is often a poor mask for the expression of populist prejudice, fuelling bigotry and discrimination, especially at times of social tension and unease. Such “satire” has real social effects – in this case promoting the denigration of Irish women, whose battle to take their rightful place in work has been hard fought.

Women’s work at home and in the workplace contributes immeasurably to the economic and social well-being of Irish society. The nature of women’s work isn’t the issue; women’s right to work is. The recent saga over the funding and support of the Equality Authority has much to say about how Ireland is perhaps less robust in such commitments than the patrons of Irish democracy would have us believe.

Racist hate speech wouldn’t be tolerated in The Irish Times, so why is it OK to retreat into silly, sad sexism? – Yours, etc,

Dr JULIE MULLANEY,

Stretford,

Manchester,

England.

Madam, – I read with amusement Newton Emerson’s tongue-in-cheek article on working women having caused the credit crunch.

Has April Fool’s Day come early this year? Perhaps if more “exceptional” working women were driving the decision making in the board rooms of this country we might not have found ourselves in our current economic predicament.

Perhaps we should stare across the breakfast table and ask: “Does the man in my life really need a job”? – Yours, etc,

CATHERINE HANNON,

Glenamuck Road,

Dublin 18.

Madam, – Newton Emerson’s column on women in the workplace can only be described as drivel. For a paper with such good standards of writing, I’m surprised this article made it through to print. Sexism disguised as satire is still sexism and an apology to the female readers of this paper is needed. – Yours, etc,

LINDA KELLY,

Equality Officer,

Union of Students

in Ireland ,

Crumlin,

Dublin 12.