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The most striking thing about OWS are the signs, not just that there are so many but that in so few words so much can be said.  Economic injustice is far spread and has hit so many but it hits women and minorities the hardest.

This photo is from OWS - Melbourne, Florida.  

Many would argue these statistics are out of date, but not according to the UN, the last time women's working hours and wages were measured was 2007.  

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Facts & Figures on Women, Poverty & Economics
Poverty & Employment
  • There is a direct link between increased female labour participation and growth: It is estimated that if women’s paid employment rates were raised to the same level as men’s, America’s GDP would be 9 percent higher; the euro-zone’s would be 13 percent higher, and Japan’s would be boosted by 16 percent. [1]
  • Women’s nominal wages are 17 percent lower than men’s.
  • Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property [2].
  • In some regions, women provide 70 percent of agricultural labour, produce more than 90 percent of the food, and yet are nowhere represented in budget deliberations [3].
  • In Mexico, women in paid employment devote an additional 33 hours to domestic chores per week, while men’s weekly contribution six hours [4].
  • If the average distance to the moon is 394,400 km, South African women together walk the equivalent of a trip to the moon and back 16 times a day to supply their households with water [5].
  • In Arab states, only 28 percent of women participate in the workforce [6].
  • OECD Official Development Assistance (ODA) for gender equality has tripled in 2006 compared with 2002, going up from US$2.5 billion to US$7.2 billion. This has meant an increase in the proportion of total ODA from 6 to 8 percent.
Women are invisible economically speaking, or so it seems. Women with or without children, they get a lot done in the world from growing food to raising children, from manufacturing jobs to working in cubicles.  Not all of it is counted though by our current economic system, so these numbers don't even include that labor.  

Women who work out of the home to care for children?  That's not considered work, not in the most important sense, Gross Domestic Product, or how we measure the economy.  They don't earn Social Security and have to depend on their husband's retirement, and what if they get divorced?  It's not good, it can wind up being devastating, financially and for many other reasons.  It's why so many women, who on average live much longer than men, depend on Social Security and Medicare benefits more so than men do.  

These are your Mothers, your Sisters, your wives.  These will be your daughters, your grand daughters and so on unless something changes.

And the language of Motherhood is hostile, working Mothers, full time Mothers, Stay at home Mom, they all seem to pit women against each other as a means to define Motherhood in a way to symbolize that somehow the path we chose means Motherhood is partial, is not complete enough unless it is done only a certain way.

All Mothers are working mothers and all mothers are full time mothers.  

And with this economy, Fathers are learning to do more as well.  I met two Moms in the last week whose husbands were now at home because they'd been laid off and their wives were the ones with the jobs.

Times change as do our families.  Women should be earning as much as men and the fact that women are working more than men and earning less, owning less and live in far more poverty means that they have much to gain from the Occupation movement.

But guess what, it's not that easy.  As a parent myself, I know it's not easy to be involved in politics, it's difficult to get time from doing things with my daughter and being involved in her school with PTA, with Girl Scouts, Soccer and other activities, and then as parents are attempting to just keep roofs over their heads, they can't be as involved either.  

I know so many people attempting to modify their home loans because they can't refinance.  The suburbs are part of the occupation as well.

We are the 99%, the soccer Moms, the PTA Moms, families that have had to move back in with parents or vice versa.  Women have the most to gain from this movement and I hope that they will get the support they need to also learn more and go out and occupy the Suburbs and not just the big cities and towns.  Mothers may not know it, but they too are the 99% and this is their movement as well.

I plan on visiting Occupy Orange County and encouraging other Mothers to go and speak out against this huge gap in income inequality between women and men.  No more.

Update - I focus on Mothers because I am one and I know that many of them do not have as much time to be involved as women who do not have children.  This diary was in no way meant to exclude women who do not have children but to point out that women who do have children often find they do not want to be involved in such political movements, those "Soccer Moms".  I know this because I talk to them often in all the various groups I am involved in.  

All women matter to the OWS movement and count in these statistics and matter.  Women who have no children, who have one or have more than one child matter.  I find that this is another way that women are pitted against one another and I should have been more sensitive to this.

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Originally posted to Ellinorianne on Sun Oct 30, 2011 at 08:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Invisible People, Occupy Wall Street, Progressive Hippie, and Community Spotlight.

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