Such a trend would seem the very image of female empowerment: a single woman buying a home of her own. Whether a middle-age divorcee or a professional in her 30s who has bypassed the marriage-and-baby track—for now, at least—she’s seizing control of her life through real estate. In his eye-opening new book, “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” Eric Klinenberg interviewed quite a few of these women and found that, “Buying a home has become a powerful way to pivot from one life stage into another. It’s a signal, to themselves and those who know them, that they are ready to invest in themselves.”
This all sounds liberating, but is it really? That so many single women are proud to invest in themselves, and have the means to do so, is obviously an encouraging development. But I’m skeptical of the idea of anyone buying a home to “signal” his or her arrival. Homeownership, like marriage, is so encrusted with cultural projections and unquestioned assumptions that surely at least some of these women who have figured out that they should marry later (if at all) are unwittingly transferring a desire to feel “settled” or to be considered “grown up” into buying a house because “it’s time”—which is to say, swapping out one piece of conventional wisdom for another.
Just as the “marriage crisis”—the fact that we are marrying later and less—has given us the opportunity to rethink traditional marriage as society’s highest ideal, the housing crisis is our chance to reconsider the centrality of homeownership to the national psyche. Buying a home still works for many people, but it should no longer be taken as the embodiment of the American dream.
Full article at The Wall Street Journal
Why Women-Only Transit Options Have Caught On
Standing on a crowded Osaka subway platform during a rainy rush hour last month, it was easy to find women willing to talk about why they prefer women-only trains. Chinatsu Kawamoto, an 18-year-old high school senior, offers a typical response.
“I’ve been groped on the train, and I don’t want that to happen again,” she says.
Japan is not the only country to offer women-only transportation. Cities in Indonesia, India, Brazil, and Russia operate similar programs, while women-only buses have gained popularity in cities in Guatemala, Mexico, and most recently, Pakistan.
This is an interesting idea, but is it really solving the problem?
I support these because no women deserves to be groped and harassed on their commute every day - but I feel like it’s a huge mistake for countries to implement this as a “solution” instead of a temporary solution while they aggressively attack the rampant sexism that causes men to think they can touch or talk dirty to any women that get nears them.
There’s only one problem: Large swaths of our communities are not participating in the design process.
Take architecture. There are about 105,000 registered architects in the United States. According toThe Directory of African American Architects, a database sponsored by the Center for the Study of Practice at the University of Cincinnati, there are 1,829 licensed African American architects in the country. Of those, less than 300 are women. The stats are not much better in other design fields — landscape architecture, urban planning, product design.
Michelle White believes two things contribute to this disparity: exposure and access. White is the principal of the Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (HFA) in downtown Detroit. Her public charter middle and high school opened in 2009 and currently serves 690 students. Ninety-eight percent are African American. “We don’t have many minorities in the design field and so there are few role models in the career to show kids the profession,” she says. “There is also a lack of access to the skill-building and academic development needed to go into technical fields, including architecture and design.”
Full Article: Design o’ the times: Empowering minorities to shape urban landscapes