"A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue" by Wendy Shalit, is a bombshell.
Some government programs are now offering dollars to universities, in the form of salaries and grants, if they hire women, and only women, for professorial science positions. But Dr. Doreen Kimura, one of the world leaders in the field of sex differences and cognition, points out there is "no evidence" for systemic discrimination against women in science. Recent neurological, hormonal, and psychological studies argue that men and women differ not only in their physical attributes, but cognitively in how they solve intellectual problems leading them to have different occupational preferences and skills.
A new, more responsive feminism does seem to be gaining ground. Unlike its predecessor, the emerging feminism of the nineties attends to the real-life needs and aspirations of a wide range of women. It wrestles with harmonizing family life and employment in world where a balance struck either way is risky. It sees women and men as partners rather than antagonists in the quest for better ways to love and work. The new feminism is inclusive rather than polarizing; open-minded rather than dogmatic. It recognizes that the fates of men, women, and children, privileged and poor alike, are inextricably intertwined.
Throughout history the Church has championed the education of all boys and girls, offered positions of unprecedented authority and responsibility to women around the world, and reminded us constantly that the pre-eminent example of every virtue, aside from Our Lord and Redeemer, is a woman. In fact, without her cooperation, there would be no Lord and Redeemer! Now as we reflect on our own lives and the opportunities that this society offers to each of us, how do we determine what is authentically Catholic and what is specifically feminine? What actually sets us apart?
Pillars and spores are images used by Edith Stein (1891-1942) in one of her essays on women. The woman who becomes or is becoming what she is meant to be, Stein explains, is like a pillar to which many fasten themselves, thereby attaining a firm footing. Further, women who are on their way to becoming whole persons can, in turn, help others to realize their personal fulfillment. In this way, Stein argues, women are like healthy, energetic spores supplying healthy energy to all whom God puts in their path. The metaphors of pillar and spore provide easy to remember associational images of how Stein defines the constitutive nature, vocation, and genius of woman.