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Taking stock

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-641206.mp3

Albany, NY – Women are less happy than men, according to a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. In the 1970's, the same school found that women were happier than men. What happened? Well, Wharton scholars point to more demands on women with both career and family as priorities since the Women's Rights Movement successes in the 70's and 80's. They also admit that women may feel more comfortable speaking their mind when asked. Whether you trust the study or not, it poses an interesting question: what are women getting from all of this equal rights business?

We start our journey at a Feminist Spiritual Community in Portland, Maine. Producer Heather Radke takes us to the 26-year-old group of women that meets each Monday in the Portland Quaker Meeting House.

The Feminist Spiritual Community grew out of the Equal Rights Movement. One of the community members called feminism knowing yourself. That definition would most likely resonate with Carol Gilligan. Most famous for her book In a Different Voice, Gilligan was one of the first psychologists to study women separately from men, interviewing women about their lives, worries and concerns. She sparked controversy among scholars and feminists. Some feminists who had been working to eradicate difference between the sexes objected to Gilligan's theories. Others credit Gilligan for moving the women's rights movement into its third wave, which considered women not simply equal to men but equal and distinct. In 1997, Gilligan became Harvard University's first professor of gender studies. I had the opportunity to sit down with Carol Gilligan at the Omega Institute in New York State. She started by telling me the origin of her book In a Different Voice.

Women tend to earn less than their male counterparts at work. They usually have more responsibilities at home than their spouses - whether that means taking care of the kids or cleaning the house. In short, the women haven't quite reached equality.
Northwestern University professor and author Laura Kipnis says women are partially to blame.