Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Pope is Holding Me Back

When WG1 and I started this blog, I set up my Google account so that I would get emails in my inbox when any news story mentioned the words 'career' and 'women'. And over the past year (or so), I've gotten a lot of random stories in my inbox (mainly because I chose very broad search words). But I think the most random was when this headline greeted me first thing in the morning: "Church harms career women".

Last week Cherie Blair, barrister and wife of the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, said that one of the reasons women have come so far is because of the ability to control their fertility and "would prefer it if the Catholic Church took a more positive attitude towards contraception".

Blair went on to say that she doesn't think there is anything wrong with birth control and that without it she probably wouldn't have been able to achieve the things that she has.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said contraception is known to cause four major problems, such as a lowering of moral standards, a rise in infidelity, lesser respect for women, and coercive reproductive techniques by the government, which is why the church takes a stand against it.

Obviously this subject is a hard one to approach. Religion is always a touchy subject. I grew up in a Catholic home, went to Catholic schools, and went to church on Sundays and I came to know the rules of the church very quickly. And while I might agree with some, their stance on birth control is not one of them.

In a way I think Cherie's statement came out sounding selfish, and I don't think she intended it to be so. I like to think she was trying to say that a life is precious whether it is planned or unplanned, however, I also believe in being able to control my body. And that birth control helps women who are in loving and committed relationships and those who are single control a 'ready factor'.

But do I believe the Catholic Church's stance on birth control is holding back career women? Eh, jury is still out on that one.


Legally Fabulous said...

I'm a devout Catholic and (soon to be) Working Girl and I absolutely don't think that the Catholic church is holding me back at all.
In fact the more I think about it the more ridiculous that sounds.

Anonymous said...

Really? I have to completely agree. If you are serious about your career, and you're not abstaining from sex for whatever reason, an unexpected pregnancy is going to derail your career plans.

To what degree? Depends on whether you have a partner and how far they're willing to go, how much money you have, etc. Before birth control, women had no say over their own body and the most fertile often spent the majority of their adult lives pregnant.

Pregnancy is such a life changing event, physically, emotionally and financially, I think it's short sighted to think that NOT using birth control might not have serious ramifications for a working woman.

miku said...

Oh come on, Christian religion is about free will. Sure the Church can say what you must or mustn't do, but in the end it's your choice if you want to follow their rules.

I think her comment is very selfish actually.

Erin said...

great post. this reminds me of when the pop said that condoms don't help to prevent the spread of AIDS.
do you have a link to this story?

Anonymous said...

Having been raise a "catholic girl/woman" - I don't think it is all that simple. I went to an all girl catholic high school and experienced women running EVERYTHING - the only men around were janitors and the occasional male teacher. My role models were independent, bright, creative, thinking women. I have had catholic education from grade school through graduate school. My education always taught me to look at the BIG picture, have faith and "think". I am thinking right now that she doesn't get the "catholic experience." Honestly.....some of our best leaders have benefited from their catholic upbringing.

Nicole said...

It seems the issue isn't so much if birth control hinders the working woman, but whether having a baby hinders the working woman. If this is the case, then it totally depends on both the woman and her work ethic and priorities as well as the support network she has to help her. I know plenty of successful working women who also have children, so I don't think having a child (or a stance on birth control) really affects a woman's career.

zoeo. said...

i totally agree with miku.

the Catholic church had one order, "get the people under control." and it is yours to say, "STOP"

if you run behind a Christian faith you are not the owner of your free will

Anonymous said...


Check out what Jimmy Carter said about the church and treatment of women. I found this to be inspiring.

LOVE this post! Keep expressing your opinion!