SONGSOPTOK: What, in your experience, is the status of a girl child in the family? Is she treated in the same way as the male child? If not, what are the major differences in treatment?

MICHAEL MILLERIn the U.S. the status of female children can vary greatly. We have great diversity of education as well as extremely varied religions and sects, national cultures, different races and traditions, and dogmas brought from many locations around the earth (many of which still hold that mankind's problems were created by woman therefore she requires limitations and controls) What many educated men give lip service to in public , becomes scathingly derogatory among his social peers. I have seen fathers who genuinely love their progeny being of either gender and desire both to exceed their peers, find happiness and prosperity , outstanding men and women unified in a bond of mutual affection and appreciation for each other’s qualities and passing those on to their children and the extreme opposite . Differences in treatment can run from downright physical and verbal abuse, complete neglect, and half-hearted attention to being truly loved. You name it , I've probably seen it, from being horrified to amazed at the disparity and treatment of young girls . (But also of children in general of either gender)

SONGSOPTOK: Does the girl child have equal access to education in your country irrespective of economic or social status? What are the main factors that affect the equality or inequality of access to education ?

MICHAEL MILLER:  A girl’s access to good education also varies here. A minimal education is Law, but access in rural communities coupled with various ideological roots and traditions can hamper acquiring anything considered minimal education. The larger cities have abundant choices (if not shackled by ideological roots in the home) if one is aware of what is options are available , home school (primarily used if ideology conflicts with "mainstream" views) public schooling (which has now become decreased in courses available to the common student) sectarian or religious schools, private tuition paid institutions (many offer greater variety of courses and program intensity) as well as higher education institutions which are out of reach financially for most, ( the cost of which now due to escalating interest rates are fast becoming unaffordable especially if a female cannot get a job which will cover the cost of education to get the job) So the factors here can and do affect greatly her access to better education (since families that can afford such higher institutions will likely send sons to be the "bread winners" of the next generation)

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that women, contrary to men, always have to make a choice between home life and professional career? Is it fair either on men or women? What is your personal experience?

MICHAEL MILLER: While I may not personally hold to this view, a mother must stay home (Proverbs 31:10-31) but those choosing to raise a family will have to face those choices. If they truly want to give their children the best foundation and start in life, learning begins and patterns are set between the ages of birth to seven years. Children who grow up without solid moral and intellectual guidance will suffer the pains of "having little direction" in life and more difficulty in adjusting and making decisions later on. Being grounded in these things comes from early teaching and practices demonstrated by the parents. Development of character and morality, ability to understand life and its diversity and disparity are often set in these earliest of years. Children who have interactive parents do often have greater abilities to actively engage these in their own lives. My early years of being at home and instructing the first ones born bears this out; the last one had the least attention and direction after I was forced to work outside the home has suffered from the lack of guidance (none from the irresponsible man who sired them and should have been an active partner). A professional career might be necessary for income to serve the needs of family , but those choosing having children should not make that decision lightly if they truly want to give children the best start in life both girls and boys.

SONGSOPTOK: Detailed studies have shown that there are very few women across the world who occupy really top positions both in the private and public sectors. How do you explain this fact? Do you think that women are less qualified to hold top jobs or are there other explanatory factors?

MICHAEL MILLER:  I think I can boldly say if women thought working alongside ruthless, vindictive, prejudiced, inequitable, unjust attitudes so rampantly pervasive in so many existing institutions, they would fight much harder to have entry into them. Honestly between the political entities, governments, corporations and religions being fully filtrated with men who work every sort of treachery and hold to ideas that perpetuate violence I want neither to work alongside nor have my children in the sphere where such characters are rife. I can tell you out of all those who employed me only two would I work for again. In all seriousness stop this bus I want to get off. Can we just click "NO" to the current existing systems that have control of the world and take up a agriculturally focused society where self aggrandizement and achievement are the NOT targets of the day !

SONGSOPTOK: Even in the advance countries in the world, there is a large disparity between the number of men and women in political parties resulting in an under-representation of women in governments and elected councils. Do you agree with this point of view? What in your opinion are the main reasons?

MICHAEL MILLER:  Well l pretty much covered that on the last question. I would add to it the majority of those involved today follow the same patterns of millennium of empire building nations. The same elitism and centuries of attitudes that oppress everyone, male and female alike, are still taught and practiced. The female peers who have managed to insinuate themselves into centuries old institutions of thought have pretty much succumbed to the worst practices that humanity has generated over time themselves. Those who hold these considered highest positions in the realm of men, hold not even to the law they seek to impose on those they "think" they rule. The Rule is most are corrupted by thoughts and attitudes that continue to deconstruct all that can be gained in the areas considered "good" for humanity and are therefore the foremost in hindering any true advancement of "good" for the world as a whole . The myth that a nominal portion of the population is more fit "to rule" the populace is still alive and well even if all of recorded history fully demonstrates the "lie" of it. Any that thinks a mutually involved world government acting as one will not display the same Traits of all which have gone before it are living in a state of deep self deception . No law made changes the heart of a man, only instructing them early to seek good and love justice for everyone will effect any beneficial changes in the behavior of humanity.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think a larger participation and presence of women in all domains – economic, social and political- are actually required? Would it substantially improve the nature and quality of services and make the society a better place?

MICHAEL MILLER:  "In a perfect world" … how many sentences could we start with this. Those of us who have really dug deeply, tore apart, studied and asked the questions to ourselves and had long conversations with others seeking answers to the problems that plague every nation and ideology have probably come to the same conclusion. What would constitute a perfect, flawless, and well cultivated earth and society? And I can say women have not been left out of this conversation by those delving for answers to things that habitually inhibit what society considers "progress" .Regardless of whether I think women would improve the services in such institutions, unless those institutions are populated with those of unbreakable moral character, what difference would it make. Unless we can instill them (virtues) in the youth, in families, in the smallest starting place of life "childhood" how in turn will it make a difference in the whole. The erstwhile seeds of empire and competition, survival of the fittest must be replaced or realized in what is taught to the succeeding generations. Right now that means mothers ( who now remain the predominant teachers of children) must take steps to instill a love of goodness , truth , and love of ones family , neighbors , mankind . But again there is such disparity of what "the institutions" consider to be 'standards of behavior' so as to make this a nearly meaningless exercise. I can only hold myself to consider the apex of character and living to implement them in my own life . These are things I am learning to seek and to uphold. What more can we do without some sort of "divine intervention". How can we overhaul humanity without seeking a more "divine purpose?”

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that for women the choice of a career and that of a family life with children should be mutually exclusive? Do you think that women who opt for both are not totally successful in either sphere? What is your own experience?

MICHAEL MILLER:  I suspect that would depend on what a woman wants to "achieve" in life. Whether it's to satisfy the self or if in the broader scope she is able to see the true effect she can realize if she decides to have children. What's more important, money, achievement, recognition, or being the founding teacher and instructor of the offspring which she has "chosen" to have (not withstanding many don't make those choices we know, they are made for her by others and her own desires are diminished by certain ideological dogmas) or the desire for money and prominence. Twice I've taken courses called "Investments in Excellence" both courses demonstrated that the personal needs of family  should be of highest priority in filling those spaces  and fitting all the "required" needs around that, money, achievement, leisure etc. While those not having children can slide some of the parameters of life around to suit themselves, parents should be more cognizant of the influences of those who will become active participants of the future. Truly I'm not sure I can even answer a woman trying to pull off having both a professional career and being successful in giving children the best foundation for their futures and making them the best kind of people to influence the future. My own attempt at being, mother, father, breadwinner, disciplinarian and teacher failed miserably (but I was forced into this position by circumstances). Even having the extent of knowledge that I have added to my experience do I think I could it pull it off but only slightly better.

SONGSOPTOK: What is your opinion about the role played by the mother in bringing up children? Do you think that mothers should take more responsibility for the well-being of the children more than the father given that other than breast feeding, almost every other responsibility can be equally shared between the parents? Please explain your answer.

MICHAEL MILLER:  We are still dealing with the natural dispositions of males and females attributes here. While skills can be taught either gender there are still some distinct physiological and psychological and temperament issues here. A female is rarely going to surpass a male in muscular strength; likewise women don't usually have the greater tendency to use anger and violence upon children. A woman "appears" to be indelibly more suited for a nurturing influence of children but I would add fathers must take up a more hands on, active approach in raising children to have the full benefit of parenting. A solid positive interactive relationship with one’s children must be part and parcel of parenting. Why one would choose to have children and not want any to see achieving grafting the greatest moral character upon them. Whether one is a farmer, craftsperson, or some other profession required for survival and continuance, the time away from such concerns should give parents the opportunity to be abundantly interactive in play as well as instruction. Why bother with family if one isn't prepared to complete the "occupation" ...

SONGSOPTOK: “Women have been called queens for a long time, but the kingdom given them isn't worth ruling” said famous American writer Louisa M Alcott. Do you agree? What, in your perception, is the kingdom given to women?

MICHAEL MILLER:  I doubt she was jesting. Really the closest thing I can relate this to is hearing the phrase "Daddy's little princess" but the reality is that fosters an ideology in a girl that she should be doted upon but is rarely true in my experience. Too little are women appreciated even when she is a great wife, mother, homemaker and truly capable in all she undertakes. I've not seen that many men who truly appreciate and acknowledge all that his wife may have realized or achieved both in the work sphere and/or in one’s family. Many women have left the family to seek acknowledgement for their existence in some other way and found the world to be as equally lacking in its perspectives. In the US in this century the family unit has become hard hit by the social infringement of a breakdown in morals. Anyone thinking a woman could even be appreciated for her value in the home has become a somewhat "lost notion”. Men are more frequently morally deficient and unable to field the demands of being committed to the undertaking of family. While this might have been considered a previously dominated sphere by adulterous males, women here have taken up behavior that was formerly condemned as rampant only among mentor perhaps it's just been there all along and only hidden from view. In this case the myth of being "Queens" has spilled over into being merely the chaff of being abused and becoming abusers .This is not a kingdom it is a prison of repeated assault on ones humanity, reason and ideology.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you agree that professional women have to work at least twice as hard as men to attain credibility in her chosen career? What is your personal experience? Do you think that it is a rule rather than an exception? What in your opinion needs to be done to bring greater equality in the workplace?

Michael Miller:  Yes I do, even if one such is incredibly talented, skilled, gifted and a quick study. This is the norm and not a perception. Even if laws are enacted in attempt to eradicate such discrepancies, traditionally held ideology still stands as the rule in placement. While many men have adopted more "liberal" views in opposing tradition as they were taught more just perspectives by the family , unless they are the employers both of the work place and the morality connected to the fields within it they have little influence unless the course of injustice within a workplace is fully exposed and sued in court . Too few will voice outrage as their own financial survival may come into question if loss of work ensues as a result of exposing injustice. We know this is an age old threat in all fielded enterprises from governments to corporations and religious institutions. Again start by teaching the virtues to children and youth. The more parents teaching children what truth, love, justice, wisdom and understanding are the better these will flow into the lives of mankind. What you put into your garden is what will grow.

SONGSOPTOK: Women who choose to be ‘homemakers’ often feel that they are not respected by society in general since they do not go out to earn money, though they probably have to work harder and for longer hours. Would you agree? What needs to be done to really valorize the homemakers?

MICHAEL MILLER:  Yes I do think many feel that way. But having my own appreciation for the true requirements to be a successful mother or father and just acknowledging that to those who are. Really it takes phenomenal effort to pull off having children and succeeding in raising them to be well adjusted human beings that are a benefit to the community in which they live. I might add a note that a great many children just "survive" their parents rather than their parents being the true boon and foundation of all they hold dear. And many parents would not admit to themselves or others they have failed miserably in this the most dear of pursuits. (for the very reason of never having experienced such parents for themselves) Parenthood should be considered among the most sacred grounds for teaching lasting principles to those who will continue to teach them for generations to come. This is no ground where halfhearted input will create desired results. When what we earn becomes more important than what we teach and practice ...well we already have centuries of documented results for that perspective. I love when I find persons committed to giving their best in all situations, it is a rare and genial delight.

SONGSOPTOK: On the other hand, working women very often have to juggle their professional and personal lives to be perfect both at home and at the workplace. What is your personal experience? Do you think that a woman really have to be perfect in both spheres or is this idea self-imposed? In your society, what is expected of working women?

MICHAEL MILLERWorking women/mothers while competing harder to keep their position or advance in them are still required the same service time input for more tightly controlled businesses. While many laws have been enacted, traditional viewpoints still hold the same fields they have for many ages. Here also most unions have been destroyed so even the nominal protections of organization have been sweep back into darker periods and the ability to "police" the policy changes are now defunct. A few score of bad politicians and corporations have managed to mangle what was for all intent and purposes a fairly decent country constitution in the last half century, While the surreptitious rhetoric of duplicity continues to denude the populations of the world of common decency by their own ruling "elite”, women work harder and harder just to keep from sinking under the load and burdens she is given to accomplish under such oppressing and pervasive "norms”. The status quo for humanity in general has been/is under even greater assault than ever before. The erosion of morality in every field makes those committed to passing on a legacy of love for life an ever more difficult pursuit . While mankind has rarely enforced virtue, those mums must be  ever more concerned with passing that legacy onto those who will hold the torches so others might see light instead of darkness . Perfection is an ideal to reach for, to pass on as an ideology , a teacher , an inspirer , a beacon , at this time not one currently living has achieved such a thing but considering "the paths of perfection" might just as well be an avenue we as women might continue to strive to lift up. Juggling or multi-tasking is ever the 'norm' on a woman's path but centuries have shown many women have held firm to passing on the ideals to children ...Why should we stop now ?


We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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