Marxism and Feminism in an Age of Neoliberalism

Sinead Kennedy

Abstract


Hitting your head on the glass celling is not the same as falling into the basement - Johanna Brenner

Women today live lives that only four decades ago would have been unimaginable to most. They are visible in every aspect of public life today. They are a permanent and important component of the workforce; indeed it is difficult to think of an occupation in which women are not represented. They hold positions equal to men and, today, there are more women in third level education than at any other point in history. Changes in women’s personal lives have been no less dramatic. Less than thirty years ago, marriage was regarded as the only path to respectability for a woman. Today, women have multiple sexual partners; they choose not to marry and to have children as lone parents. Sex is something that is openly discussed in society, which is an enormous step forward, particularly in Ireland, where sex was something shameful and repressed. Yet despite all of these significant achievements women still earn significantly less than men; they continue to be responsible for the majority of care in the family and the bulk of domestic work in the home; they face sexual discrimination in the workplace and in society which often manifests itself through physical and sexual violence. Access to abortion is highly restricted and even where woman have won reproductive rights they are under constant attack.

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