Our Labor Day-week assortment includes good news for domestic workers, hot jobs for the over-40 set, a stirring film about four women from four countries, and some smart talk about the current brouhaha over the Great American Novel.
- For Labor Day, Bridget Crawford at Feminist Law Professors writes about the first-ever law mandating worker protections for domestics. From now on, domestic workers in New York State will be guaranteed time off and will be fully covered by state anti-discrimination laws, the workmen’s compensation system, and unemployment benefits. “At the signing ceremony, “ Crawford writes, “Governor Paterson drew heavily on references from Harriet Tubman and characterized the legislation as a major human-rights victory.”
- At Second Act.com, which specializes in helping women identify, develop, and otherwise secure their next dream job, Michelle V. Rafter gleans some surprising news from August’s unemployment figures: “Jobless rates for people over 40 remain lower than the national average, one of several bright spots for middle-aged workers in the August unemployment numbers released today.” Rafter’s blog also provides a list of Hot Jobs for the Over-40 Set, including teacher, “aging-in-place remodeler,” and cyber-security expert.
- Outraged by a TechCrunch article that shouted “Don’t blame us for the fact that there are fewer women in tech!” Gayle Leakmann at Technology Woman takes it apart piece by piece. Among Leakmann’s incisive points: “When you say ‘women have it easier,’ you’re also usually saying ‘I assume women are worse.’”
- Berthe Kayitesi. Elisabeth Pkilibert. Carmen Ruiz. Ven Runnath. Their names are probably unfamiliar, but perhaps they shouldn’t be, says Brendann Hill-Mann at Change.org’s Women’s Rights blog. Hill-Mann’s post highlights a new film out of Montreal’s Life Stories Project, “J’y étais”,”I Was There” Histoires de femmes en zones de conflit. Stories of Women in Conflict Zones. The 20-minute documentary, Hill-Mann writes, is “an incredible collection of stories told by four women, from different backgrounds, who are all survivors of mass violence.” The film includes not only survivors of genocidal violence — the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda — but “political violence in Haiti, Latin America, and South Asia.” By telling these four stories, she adds, the filmmakers have made something from which we can all learn.
- Meanwhile, Latoya Peterson at Racialicious tackles the hubbub over the recent anointment of Jonathan Franzen as The Great American Novelist, mostly by arbiters whose editing staffs are pretty heavy in the pale-male department. Peterson links to Michelle Dean at The Awl, who notes that Franzen’s novel Freedom has been described as portraying “our shared millennial life” just as his previous novel, The Corrections, was “a report from the frontline of American culture.” Dean then adds that “It seems a fair question, in that context, to ask: ‘What’s this ‘we,’ white man?’” Noting that Dean is hardly alone in asking that question, Peterson emphasizes that “It isn’t so much that Franzen is or isn’t a good writer – but rather the question of who represents the American experience, and what critics make that determination.”