Emma_in_oz has identified as a feminist for fifteen years. (And as an SF fan, and as a medievalist, and as a fan of crafts, and…) Emma_in_oz is a single mother by choice – Pearl is nine months old.
I have a friend who says ‘being child-unfriendly is just the same as being women-unfriendly’. I used to agree, but now that I have Pearl I really agree.
I went into town the other day – to set up a bank account for Pearl.* Negotiating the streets is more difficult with a pram. Getting up and down stairs is ridiculously difficult. The architects grudgingly provide some alternative for those on wheels, but it is always way, way, way more inconvenient and difficult than the stairs. Ironically those with prams and wheelchairs wind up covering much more ground than those without.
Being in the bank was incredibly awkward. With the pram we took up too much space. People had to squeeze past us to get to the other teller positions.
I asked three times if there was some little room we could go to for our business, but no. It took nearly two hours to set up the account. Apparently it is an incredibly difficult process to set up a bank account for someone else, especially someone who has almost no ID apart from a birth certificate. It’s not like parents would set up accounts for their children every day.
I wound up having to feed Pearl and then when I was juggling her and the food I dropped the container. (Of course the counter was not wide enough to put her on).** It was glass and broke, so then the people queued behind us had to squeeze past us over broken glass. Allow me to repeat, over broken glass.
The bank teller then decided to move us to one side. I thought I could put Pearl on the floor there as she was bored because I had held her for over an hour. But it turned out that the section of floor I placed her on was directly in front of a door that the bank tellers suddenly started popping in and out of (lunch rush).
There was, in a literal sense, no space for us.
There might as well have been a sign up, saying that this area was for adults only.
Given that most caring work is done by women, that’s the same as saying ‘women, you are not welcome in public places! Go home with your children!’
It drives me wild.
* Yes, I went to a child-unfriendly place to set up a child’s bank account. Oh the irony, it burns.
** It would have been worse if I had been in a wheelchair because at least I was able to see the counter.