Judy Anderson, 41, of Etobicoke, Ontario, was elected national President of REAL Women, in Vancouver, this April. She and her husband, Colin, are pro-life Anglicans. Married for 15 years they have two daughters, Julia (aged nine) and Clare (aged five).
Mrs. Anderson is a teacher with the Etobicoke Board of Education. She teaches a clinical language program to children with learning disabilities. Mrs. Anderson lives in Toronto, and with her husband sings in a much-acclaimed chamber choir. She is no novice with the media, having taken both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail to the Ontario Press Council in the last two years (see her article “How to Fight the Media,” The Interim, February 1990).
I’d like to give women choices I didn’t have. I know the sacrifices I’ve made emotionally not being with my children. The most important task a society has is to bring up the next generation.
In the 1990s, it’s really daunting. Feminists see no problem with women leaving their homes, leaving their kids, putting them in daycare and pursuing a career alongside their husbands. I have done that up to this point because we need my salary. I know all the difficulties. It is stressful. Not that family life is ever easy. But when one person, either the father or mother, can be at home, especially when the children are young, it makes a huge difference with the ease with which the parents ca deal with each other and with their kids.
Do you believe in equality?
Women are as intelligent as men. Women can do anything men can do. I firmly believe that. I don’t have an inferiority complex about women. Don’t ask, “Can women do what men do?” That’s a foregone conclusion. Women are capable, but do they want to do what men are doing, especially when they have small children.
The model that is being pursued in the public arena and through legislation is a male model. Women want to see ore of their children. Current legislation and programs don’t give women more options to stay home.
What does “equal pay for children of equal value” mean?
If the government helps pay for the children of the children who are raised outside the home regardless of the family’s income, why shouldn’t it help pay for those raised in the home? Parents of home-cared children should also be able to claim the same deductions as working parents get for nursery school and summer camp.
Would you want higher tax credits for all children?
Yes, if the government allows a tax deduction of about $4,000 per child for the working parent using daycare it should allow the same for the child cared for by her own parent. There should be equal benefits.
How would REAL Women support the single parents?
The only option the feminists seem to give the single parent is to offer out-of-the-home daycare. If there has been a breakup of the family through separation, divorce or death, it is already traumatic enough for the children. To have their mum removed from them and be raised by strangers not in their own home setting is even more traumatic. This is when the family needs to pull together emotionally.
Does REAL Women support subsidized daycare?
We support subsidized daycare where there is real need. But we’re against institutionalized state model like Universal Daycare (UDC). UDC rules out all home setting for raising children whether with a parent, relative, nanny or neighbour. We want families to have as many options for childcare as possible. UDC is too restrictive.
Why is a home setting better for children?
There are more opportunities for privacy, for quiet, for unstructured “mess-around time” in their own homes or neighborhood. In an institutional setting here are more gastro-intestinal diseases because there are a lot of children and diaper changing. Just as it is generally better to have the elderly in their own homes with support staff, so we should try to keep young children in their own homes wherever possible.
Many women want to “do it all” but in stages.
Yes, Superwoman is out. Women can “have it all” but in phases. I’ve done it simultaneously with two young children and a career but it has taken its toll.
Have you fast-tracked?
No, I’ve not sought promotions. My union pushes heavily to fast-track women teachers into becoming principals. It’s upset there are not more female principals. Today, I don’t see discrimination. Instead, most women don’t choose to fast track.
I’d be a prime candidate for a principal but I would see even less of my family. Women are very deliberately choosing to get off the fast track. Women want easy entry into and exit from the workforce so they can flexibly care for their families.
Why is the President of REAL Women a member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC)?
The feminists talk a lot about choice, but I have none. As a teacher I am automatically a member of the Federation of Women Teacher’s Associations of Ontario (FWTAO). The FWTAO executive decided to join NAC. So by the stroke of a pen 33,000 women joined NAC.
NAC claims to speak for three million women, most of whom have no idea they are members and can’t leave if they wish to. The ordinary member of, for example, the Anglican Church Women or the YWCA, has no say. Danielle Crittenden wrote in Saturday Night that if you join the Y to go for a swim, you are included in NAC’s statistics.
Where do you stand on affirmative action?
It is completely discriminatory. REAL Women supports equal opportunity. Quotas are demeaning to people. Affirmative action is social engineering for “equality of result.” This arbitrary setting of quotas means people of merit are shut out even though they have discriminated against no one. Society is much more fluid. People should be allowed to pursue their own goals with freedom not coercion.
What will REAL Women do about family violence and the feminization of poverty?
We want to see more help given before family breakdowns occur. Family counseling can be very expensive if you are not with a psychiatrist or psychologist under OHIP. Families should be able to claim deductions for all family counseling.
Feminists fully support the separation of childbearing from marriage. When you do that, unless the woman is making a very high salary, the feminization of poverty follows.
Also, a lot of child abuse follows because children are far more likely to be abused by non-biologically related males, that are non-family members (particularly the live-in-boyfriend) than by their own fathers. This is also true in so-called spousal abuses. The woman in a common-law or casual relationship is more likely to be abused than the married woman.
The child most at risk in society is the child form the single parent family. SO, I fail to see why the feminists promote this model of child bearing.
Are you a feminist?
No. The feminists have highjacked the language. Abortion and childcare are issues that are of concern to us as human beings. Abortion isn’t solely a woman’s issue. You can’t cut fathers out before the birth and expect them to be involved afterwards.
Why are you called REAL Women?
We’re very realistic women. Realistic, Equal, Active, for Life. We want a wider range of options. Even though I can’t avail myself of the choice to stay home, I still see it as the optimum thing to do when there are young children. I’d like to make that choice available to as many as possible. Feminists give a lot of value to the woman who is in the marketplace, especially if she is a powerful economic unit.
But the woman who doesn’t aspire to top echelon jobs is also of worth. Our human dignity does not come from what we do but who we are. The feminists have denigrated not only the mother caring for her children at home, but also the nurse, the secretary, the teacher. We believe in the intrinsic value of all men, women and children.