to think Mary Berry is at best naive, and at worst deluded, about feminism?

(304 Posts)
MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 13:42:56

Times link if you can get through the paywall
free Daily Mail link

Apparently feminists are shouty. We should enjoy being "looked after" and gently persuade our menfolk with our feminine wiles to do what we want. It's alright if you're surrounded by well-meaning malleable blokes.

No mention of equal pay, equal voting rights, equal employment opportunities, freedom from sexual discrimination or harrassment, etc. No - all you need to do, is "persuade them [men] gently to do things and, of course, when they come back they say, “Oh, wasn’t that fun?” Try telling that to victims of domestic violence Mary...

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 28-Jan-13 13:47:21

Lol, MB is one scary laydee. In every sense of the word. Jesus. She doesn't want any of these equal rights apparently

She is misguided of course and clearly comes from the Delia school of feminism (I had a thread about one of her less well thought out remarks in a Womens hour interview). I bet she didn't become a well known and respected Chef/ food writer/ TV personality, simply by drifting around being 'nice' to men. She must have focus, ambition and a much more forceful personality than that opinion suggests - so add disingenuous to the critique.

valiumredhead Mon 28-Jan-13 13:48:45

I think either she's a bit confused as to what feminism actually is or the journalist as cherry picked what she said to make a good story.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 13:51:56

It's possible she has been quoted out of context a bit valium but she does make utterances such as: "‘Feminism is a dirty word" and "I'm not a Feminist".

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 13:54:30

Mary's obviously lived a very charmed life, if she's never been the victim of discrimination of some sort.

Feminine Mon 28-Jan-13 13:55:09

Oh, it seems she knows masses about flour and nothing about feminism.

Mitchy1nge Mon 28-Jan-13 13:55:43

bigmouth please could you link to your thread about Delia if you have a spare minute?

fromparistoberlin Mon 28-Jan-13 13:57:42

oh FFS she is a different generation, she knows my great aunt! nuff said

NormaStanleyFletcher Mon 28-Jan-13 13:59:09

Oh Gawd, why did I click on the mail link and then read the comments

That lesson should have been learnt long ago

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 13:59:43

Why should it matter if she is from a different generation even if she does know a MNer's great-aunt. She still has a brain and powers of perception, surely. And her generation was heavily involved in the fight for equality.

Gigondas Mon 28-Jan-13 13:59:59

Not sure about that mardy- she says went back to work a matter of weeks after each kid was born as knew that job wouldn't be kept open.

I found her words odd as her life and general attitude , although she is of a generation, are very much about being able to live as fulfilling a life as possible.

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 14:00:54

Why did you ruin Mary Berry for me OP sad [sticks head back in the sand]

Feminine Mon 28-Jan-13 14:01:59

I see she has no understanding of the word/what it means, I get she is from another generation...

but she would have been very much around when women were trying to get things equalized in many ways.

Its nothing to do having a door help open confused

She is only in her 70's. She would have been a young women in the 60s, like my Mum.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:02:14

Sorry Solid. I'm disappointed in her too.

Feminine Mon 28-Jan-13 14:02:22

*held open

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 14:03:17

Also Mardy i love your username grin

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 28-Jan-13 14:03:17

fromparis she is of my Mum's generation, in fact slightly younger. My mum would be horrified about her comments. In fact my mum taught Home Economics for years. She is like a reverse MB grin

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:04:55

Thanks Solid

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:05:46

Funnys My dad's about her age and not the most liberal of blokes, but will admit that the "women's libbers" have got a point.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 28-Jan-13 14:07:24

I nearly died then. I thought I read Mary Beard.

After all the sticking up for her I have done this week as well.

PS Mary Berry, your "can't go wrong chocolate cake" is no such thing.

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 14:08:47

Why is anyone asking this woman for her views on feminism ?

NormaStanleyFletcher Mon 28-Jan-13 14:09:04

Me too ariwl on the berry/beard thing blush

cory Mon 28-Jan-13 14:09:44

Because she makes nice cakes, apparently, AnyFucker confused

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:10:13

Sorry about the confusion. La Beard seems to have all her feminist credentials in tact.

NormaStanleyFletcher Mon 28-Jan-13 14:10:22

My mum is only a little younger than her, and she is a feminist.

Bobbybird40 Mon 28-Jan-13 14:10:43

I actually liked what she said the DM interview - the commonsense face of feminism I would say.

AllYoursBabooshka Mon 28-Jan-13 14:11:11

She thinks Feminism is about shouting at men and she "doesn't like to shout"?


MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:11:27

Good point AnyFucker. I didn't ask to hear her reactionary views but the papers like to stir up a bit of controversy.

BupcakesAndCunting Mon 28-Jan-13 14:12:28

She's just confused and unclear on what feminism is.

I think that she thinks that if she embraces feminism that she will be unable to accept offers of chivalry, which simply is not true. I will allow a man OR a woman to offer to open a door for me. How does that tally with my thoughts on equality of pay or the women bishops issue?

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:13:20

I'm not going to link to it, but I've just made the mistake of looking at Melanie Phillips' column in the Mail.

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 14:13:47

She doesn't come across as stupid normally.

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 14:14:27

Bupcakes I never understand women who say "I'm not a feminist because I like men opening doors for me". Um, opening doors for anyone, men or women, is just being nice and polite, no matter what your gender is!

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:14:42

Exactly Bups.

Can you explain exactly what is "commonsense" about it Bobby?

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 28-Jan-13 14:15:34

Noooo this is so disappointing. She always comes across as so kind and decent. Hope Mel and Sue can educate her a bit. sad

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:15:34

I presume you mean Mary Berry, not Melanie Phillips. She always comes across as stupid.

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 14:16:16

Yes, I meant MB smile

fromparistoberlin Mon 28-Jan-13 14:17:02

well she is same age as my aunt, who is disgusted from tunbridge wells, literally!

I get more depressed by the young uns to be honest

BupcakesAndCunting Mon 28-Jan-13 14:17:33

Exactly, Solid! Good manners and a willingness to help others transcends gender, surely?!

I am surprised by her.

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 28-Jan-13 14:21:31

So many people who appear to be otherwise intelligent have no fucking idea what feminism is or how it has benefitted us all. We need something like a TV programme with a "cool" presenter with populist appeal to educate people.

atthewelles Mon 28-Jan-13 14:23:39

I think a lot of people associate the word 'feminist' with being anti-men, strident, angry, objecting to terms like 'manhole' and 'chairman' etc. I suspect a lot of the people who deny being a feminist would, if asked if they believed in equality between men and women, would say 'yes'.

Bobbybird40 Mon 28-Jan-13 14:26:43

The reason for thatatthewelles is that feminism has as it's cheerleaders people like Harriett - do as I say not as I do - Harman.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 14:29:25

You keep contributing with one-liners which don't actually explain your views Bobby.

Tailtwister Mon 28-Jan-13 14:34:36

I read this yesterday and was a bit confused tbh. I particularly disliked the bit about women in her business taking a year's mat leave.

I do like her and think she's a pretty tough cookie. She's overcome a lot in her life, not least the loss of her son and I do feel a lot of empathy towards her. I was quite disappointed when I read this about her, but she could well have been misquoted.

PessaryPam Mon 28-Jan-13 14:42:13

There is nothing wrong with feminism, but there are some people who describe themselves as feminists who are unpleasant, similarly some who would never describe themselves as feminists can be pretty foul too. The principle of feminism is really about equality of women AFAIK, politically, socially and economically. It's equality of people of whatever gender.

Tabliope Mon 28-Jan-13 14:42:39

I think the journalist was crap. If I was a journalist and a high profile figure that I was interviewing said she wasn't a feminist I'd be asking questions like so you don't believe in equal pay? etc. There's none of this in the interview just a snapshot of a couple of old fashioned views. Poor journalism. She didn't exactly challenge her on this view. I can't believe it's Mary Berry's complete view - what woman is ever going to say no, I don't think we should get paid the same as men for the same job.

HanneHolm Mon 28-Jan-13 14:46:23

agree with AF "Why is anyone asking this woman for her views on feminism ?"

my mother is the spit of berry in looks and age and would be similarly clueless despite being a rare graduate of the 50s

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 28-Jan-13 14:56:08

Well my mum is a working class secondary modern graduate of the same age and she would think Mary Berry was talking a load of bollocks. (She is actually a massive Mary Berry fan and goes all misty eyed about some daytime TV programme called "Houseparty" that Ms Berry was on in the 70s)

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 14:57:35

Don't tell your mum about her views moom, ignorance is bliss grin

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 28-Jan-13 14:59:31

I imagine that she is being asked her views in feminism because ignorant people think baking a cke and wanting equal pay are mutually exclusive.
(Whistles the Red Flag as she removes scones from the oven)

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 28-Jan-13 15:01:06

Obviously baking of scones is detracting from my spelling in the above post.

Scholes34 Mon 28-Jan-13 15:02:49

We can't have a pop at Bezza!

Do you think there's any chance the DM journalist may have cherry picked their notes to be ever so slightly sensationalist? Is the DM that kind of paper?

I remember her from Good Afternoon, with Judith Chalmers (before she was orange) in the 70s.

threesocksmorgan Mon 28-Jan-13 15:03:20

read the link, can't see what is wrong with what she said, it is how she feels.
and she won't be the only one.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 15:04:44

Mary Berry has lived a life that acted out feminist principles
- Main breadwinner
- Didn't compromise her career when she had children
- Became her own boss and ran her own company

She doesnt want the 'label' feminist as for women of that generation that is quite toxic.
Although she says her husband 'let' her work, its more likely that she chose to marry a man who supported that choice.

Ultimately I think Mary Berry is foolish to shirk away from the label feminist but I think a 77 year old doing this is very different to a 30 year old doing it.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 15:06:42

Bobby Why isnt Harriet Harman a feminist. Ok she sent her dc to fee paying schools but thats hardly anti feminist

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 28-Jan-13 15:09:09

Hmmm I chucked my career in the bin when I had my kids. I don't think that makes me any less of a feminist. And by being reluctant to give maternity rights to other people she has gone a hell of a way to comprimising their careers. Nice one sister.

Oh, how depressing. sad

What a selfish point of view to hold, though.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 15:21:51

Regarding maternity leave - isnt this the elephant in the room and what all women like Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer and Christine Lagarde are saying?

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 15:23:00

Moomin I am not saying that by not working you are not a feminist, just that Mary Berry seemed to act on a lot of what feminism is about

How is maternity leave the elephant in the room? confused

I can understand that Berry probably hasn't had cause to think of it for decades but everyone else has been discussing it until kingdom come.

I also think plenty of women her age have good knowledge of feminism and were involved in the Second Wave, so the fact she may be stereotyping about it in ignorance is not really an excuse for saying stuff like this, that's going to harm women less fortunate than her.

ithaka Mon 28-Jan-13 15:45:06

Mary's comments are depressing, all the more so as I admire her greatly as a person.

She comes across as a strong and gracious character who has survived the death of her son (which she talks about very movingly in interviews). I wish I hadn't read this sad

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 15:51:02

When you listen to women like Sheryl Sandberg, Christine Lagarde, Marissa Meyer, Mary Erdoes etc talk about their work life balance you realise that they simply dont have a work/life balance that allows them to spend what most women would decide is a reasonable amount of time at home. They, by and large, haven't spent 6-12 months off on maternity leave for each child either.

Big jobs in big companies demand a high level of commitment and generally pay a high salary. Unless you are willing to give up a lot of family time you simply wont rise to the top and women are just not willing to make that sacrifice.

I suppose the elephant in the room for me is - if you want to be head of a Fortune/FTSE 500 then take little time off post baby and act more like men, otherwise you just wont rise to the top.

SilverOldie Mon 28-Jan-13 16:02:26

I think she's great. What does it matter if she is a feminist or not? She's a successful and strong woman who has worked hard, runs her own business and has written countless books.

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 16:14:41

I don't accept the "act more like a man" phrase above. Lots of women do want to work full time. That is not acting like a man. It is acting like a person. Not all women want to be home with the babies. You can go to work full time and not be acting like a man, but acting like a human. The fact you don't want to work part time does not mean you are man.

Of course most men and women are pretty idle and don't want to d much housework, childcare or work if they can help it so most people don't earn much.

A very few women and men are prepared to work hard and surprise surprise we tend to earn quite a lot but it's a pretty gender neutral thing. Indeed last week's news was that UK female entrepreneurs earn more than male ones. A lovely statistic.

As for this cooking lady she has lived a pretty feminist life and it is not helpful if she chooses not to use the F word. Pity she is not into oil or gas rather than such a stupid feminine thing as cooking.

min - yes, but isn't this what most feminists spend their time discussing? Whether jobs should be structured like this, and if they are, how do we enable women to get to the top?

She'd have to have been living under a rock not to notice people discussing whether or not women struggle with these issues.

IMO it doesn't matter in the slightest whether she calls herself a feminist - but being rude about feminism is just selfish. If she doesn't need it - fine. But leave it for others who might.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 28-Jan-13 16:23:59

Welli agree that Femenisim is a dirty word to many

Sad to see a successful woman attacking women in this way but it's In the dm so would not expect anything else

FreudiansSlipper Mon 28-Jan-13 16:25:30

Feminism even

Fuck my brain .....

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 28-Jan-13 16:32:04

Pity she is not into oil or gas rather than such a stupid feminine thing as cooking.

Arf. Why are there so many male chefs? They do cooking.

Now if you had said baking cakes, you may have had a point, though there are many patissieres in France, for example, who would take exception to this.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 16:35:04

Xenia Whether you care to admit it or not, it is about acting like a man as men are far more likely to brush off concerns about work /life balance than women.

LRD Yes you are right it is, but I just dont see any way around it and it pains me to say it. I took my foot off the pedal when I had children because I didnt want to work 12 hour days. Male colleagues have had children around the same time, put in the 12 hour days and moved ahead. I had the opportunity but I gave it up to spend time with my children. It isnt about birth or breastfeeding, its about all the other time you want to spend with your family and what you are willing to sacrifice to get this.

PeppermintPasty Mon 28-Jan-13 16:35:30

This is depressing, I love Mrs B.

I shall choose to interpret that article as part of her clever (and probably feminist) plan to maintain her place at the top of the Baking Patriarchy (there is one you know) by pretending to be fluffy, light and spongy brained

It's been a long day. Without any cake.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 16:36:20

I agree with Xenia to an extent.

The sooner that we stop referring to working full time as 'acting like a man' the better.

And that's why it's disappointing to see someone who has benefitted from feminism making similar statements. She likes the idea of chivalry, she likes being treated like a lady. Quite frankly, I expect everyone to be courteous to everyone but a lot of what she finds flattering is actually insulting. It suggests incapacity or weakness. Can't walk over and pick up your own coat, dear ? Door too heavy for you ? Bollox to that. And yes, I wouldn't buy any of her books after that.

booboomonster Mon 28-Jan-13 16:37:11

Of course she is a feminist - she just doesn't know it! Otherwise, like others have said, it's just deeply depressing. Pity she's so deluded really!

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 16:38:44

"Sad to see a successful woman attacking women in this way but it's In the dm so would not expect anything else"

It's not just the DM. Also linked to The Times, but decided to do a dreaded DM link as I know lots of MNers don't subscribe to the paywall.

ppeatfruit Mon 28-Jan-13 16:40:53

I agree mindosa

min - I would think the way around it is to get rid of the idea that the best way to work is by working 12 hour days, and that only women take leave when they have a baby?

I don't know.

But I think wherever you stand on this, it's not like there isn't a shedload of debate on it, and if she's not informed, she shouldn't pontificate, IMO. Because she's not just expressing an off-the-cuff opinion - she knows lots of people will take her seriously.

AmberSocks Mon 28-Jan-13 16:45:26

the thing is feminists do have a bad rep,i can see why some women dont want to be seen as a feminist.

If being a feminist means i am a woman who wants to have equal rights and opportunities to men then yes i am one,but i have to say,some people on here seem to look for sexism where it isnt,some people are just idiots,just because they are being nasty to a woman doesnt mean is sexist,they are just being nasty!Same as when a white person does something to a black person,its not always race related.


MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 16:46:24

"What does it matter if she is a feminist or not?"

She has every right not to be a feminist. The problem is that she doesn't seem to have understood what feminism is, and is unfortunately perpetuating the DM/netmums myth that feminists are some man-hating shouty stereotype.

MmeLindor Mon 28-Jan-13 16:48:32

In the interview, Berry was asked whether she thought feminism meant “shouting at men and being horrible and angry and rejecting them”.

The “Queen of Cakes”, as she is known, replied: “I don’t like that at all. I respect them. I don’t like shouting.”

“Feminism is a dirty word. You’ve got to persuade them [men] gently to do things and, of course, when they come back they say, ‘Oh, wasn’t that fun?’”

I reckon that was quite a leading question really.

And agree with whoever said that the journalist should have followed up on what feminism has done for Mary Berry, and asked what she thought feminism is.

Not everyone self-identifies as a feminist, but they may still live their lives with feminist principles.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 16:50:43

Maybe if Mary Berry has been misquoted or misrepresented, then she should come on MN and set the record straight.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 16:50:53

Feminists don't have a bad reputation. Women do.

It's women who are seen as weak, incapable, emotional.

And because feminism questions that and was succeeding to an extent, there was an outpouring of negativity about it. BUT, when you get a popular figure such as MB restating that feminism is nasty and shouty, it just perpetuates the myth and makes women reject the concept without ever really considering it.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 16:53:20

LRD min - I would think the way around it is to get rid of the idea that the best way to work is by working 12 hour days, and that only women take leave when they have a baby?

Yes but that throws up a couple of issues
1. How many women would be actually willing to share their leave - I'll be honest, I wanted those 6 and 10 months respectively with my babies. My DH was happy enough with the arrangement, he loves the time he spend with the children but a couple of months at home - no way.

2. How can one rise to lead a company without putting in the hours required to truly make an impact?

AmberSocks Mon 28-Jan-13 16:55:05

i disagree,feminists do have a bad rep!

Mme - true, that's a very leading question.

min - well, obviously. There are masses of issues. That's why I say, it's a question that's been discussed a heck of a lot, and even if she hasn't had a personal stake in it, it is surprising she's somehow missed the debates, and rather implausible.

bonceaswell Mon 28-Jan-13 16:57:31

I was really shocked at her comments, but am prepared to put them down to her advanced age and just a silly slip. But I'm wondering whether she would have said that if her parents had sold her to her husband at the age of 11, she was forced to give birth over and over again, wasn't allowed to have an education, was beaten and raped and then denied access to justice. And had her external genitals sliced off with a dirty knife before she reached puberty. Women's rights is not about shouty women that hate men burning their bras - it's about having equal rights to be in control of their own lives, just like men.

Btw, I should say, I'm pretty sure it's bollocks you need to work 12 hour days before you make an 'impact' on a company.

If that were true, there would be no differences in terms of working weeks across different countries, would there?

But in fact, we in the UK work very long hours and people in France don't. I think a lot of it is to do with a culture of presenteeism.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 16:59:30

How many women would be actually willing to share their leave - I'll be honest, I wanted those 6 and 10 months respectively with my babies. My DH was happy enough with the arrangement, he loves the time he spend with the children but a couple of months at home - no way.

I think more men would if raising children was seen as having value. There's no reason why it can't be the norm for two parents to parent equally during the early years. It's just a matter of changing legislation and expectations. Your husband probably was perfectly capable but didn't want to because he's not expected to

2. How can one rise to lead a company without putting in the hours required to truly make an impact?

By realising that impact does not equal presenteeism. More and more employers are recognising this but only when men like your husband take time off or equally share in parenting, will it become the norm. Women, for their part, will also need to let go of the notion that they are always, automatically the best carer.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 17:01:45
MmeLindor Mon 28-Jan-13 17:02:17

I also agree with AF. Why was she asked about her views on feminism at all.

You know, just cause someone is a woman, and one I admire for her cakes, it doesn't mean that I am going to agree with her on issues.

I met the granny of Pres Obama last year, who was presented as a feminist icon, when she was nothing of the sort. It annoyed me that there was a pretence - this idea of a wise 'village elder' feminist, when she was really wasn't.

Just because she is the granny of a president, or a well-loved baker/TV presenter.. it doesn't mean these women speak for feminists the world over. And if we expect them to, then we will be disappointed.

expatinscotland Mon 28-Jan-13 17:03:42

She's a professional baker, fgs, who is nearly 80 years old.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 17:03:56

bonceaswell That's what I meant earlier when I said that she must have lived a charmed life if she has never been affected by any sexism whatsoever.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:04:00

LRD But in fact, we in the UK work very long hours and people in France don't. I think a lot of it is to do with a culture of presenteeism

Agreed to an extent but no very senior person working in a private company in France or anywhere else is working 6-7 or even 8 hour days.
I abhor long working hours but to be a CEO of a large company you cant do a short day.

Blistory Why would raising children be seen as having value in a corporate environment. It has no value to a company so why would they reward it?

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 17:05:07

"Why was she asked about her views on feminism at all. "

It would appear that she has a new telly programme this week. And now we're all talking about her.

Yes, min, I know. I am just saying that my impression is that these are issues people have been discussing, at some length and in some depth.

Of course we could do the 'Feminism and Working Women, 101' right here and right now, but I doubt Mary Berry is reading. I do take the point that she is elderly and that most men aren't asked their views on feminism with the assumption that women would care if they agreed. But I do think it is selfish of her/her interviewer to decide to paint such a negative picture of feminism while ignoring what it's about.

I can't separate out what is down to the interviewer and what is down to her, and in the nature of an interview. But I do feel disappointed that someone who is successful would say the things she's been quoted as saying.

It doesn't mean I don't still think she comes across as a lovely person and a knowledgeable baker and so on.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:08:43

Well she is a bit more than a baker. She has a company that produces sauces etc

She is asked her views on feminism because she is quite unusual for women of that generation - career, children etc

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:09:48

LRD The interviewer was Camilla Long who I find to be quite sneery to women and a bit simpering to men.

expatinscotland Mon 28-Jan-13 17:09:54

I still couldn't care less. If her sauces are good, I'll buy them!

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 17:10:25


Because it is generally women who take the time off to raise children so it is women who are penalised with their long term career prospects. Men are able to be present at work because they're not expected to be present at home. We need to get away from this.

If men also took time off as the norm, we would be able to get away from the culture of presenteeism and start valuing the input/output. And I say that as someone who works in a corporate environment which charges by the hour.

And that benefits everyone, not just parents.

Gigondas Mon 28-Jan-13 17:11:17

Yes Mindosa and (as most journalists do) she goes looking for an angle which i imagine is what paper employs her for.

min - I've not read much by her, but that's a pity, if so.

I would agree with gig that most (all!) journalists have an angle, so it's not surprising IMO.

I agree with blis about benefit and childcare, btw.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:13:56

Blistory But the company doesnt benefit and that is all the company cares about so in reality what would happen is that the men/women who took the least amount of time off would be rewarded because their outputs would be much higher. So no change then.
Its rare indeed to have someone who can deliver within a siginificantly shorter time frame than others at the same level.

MrsMushroom Mon 28-Jan-13 17:17:05

She must have forgotten how the suffragettes managed mustn't she? They certainly didn't persuade anyone with their wiles did they?

min how do you know the company doesn't benefit? confused

Surely we don't know what would happen in an untested situation?

We do know that some types of work suit people working flexitime or working from home, though, so I think it's a far from hopeless situation.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 17:21:19

Min, have to disagree.

In my organisation, it's the parents or ones with caring responsibilities that tend to give me 100%. I rather have top notch work achived in a four day week than mediocre work over 5 days.

In return, I reward those who put in the effort so if they need to leave early for an ill child, they don't need to worry about asking. I would rather encourage good staff back after paternity/maternity leave than train up someone new and inexperienced.

It's a partnership - my company benefits from an employee's hard work and therefore so do I . Why on earth would I not value them in return and reward them accordingly ? And forcing men to take maternity leave, forces employers like me to make the necessary changes. There may be a lot of moaning and resistence to it, but that's always the way.

Things are changing - just not very quickly.

That is really interesting, blis (that it works in practice).

Isn't there also a bigger context? I'm using really obvious examples to make the point, but as far as I know, before slavery was abolished, people were wondering how they could make it financially viable. And the same is true about making it illegal to have children working fulltime. This is a very simplistic point because I'm not an economist, but it seems to me we do constantly reassess what is 'economically viable' in the light of what we think is fair, and we move forward, right?

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 17:30:02

Absolutely, for most professions, it's simply tradition to work Mon-Fri 9-5.

In the interests of ensuring that I was being honest, I've just checked last weeks time records.

Employees 1 -5 - worked 25 hours each, billed 22 hours on average each
Employees 6 - 14 - worked 35 hours each, billed 27 hours on average each
Employee 15 - worked 43 hours, billed 30, so checked online usage - 1.5 hours a day on internet - all after 6pm. So they were here but they weren't working for me !
Me - logged in for 63 hours last week - billed 4. Kind of proves my point myself about presenteeism.

ithaka Mon 28-Jan-13 17:33:29

I don't think Mary Berry has lead a 'charmed life' as another poster claimed. She has worked hard and continuously for decades and in fact as known personal tragedy that has destroyed many (death of a child).

I don't agree with her views on this issue, but I still admire her greatly.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 17:35:49

OK "charmed life" is clearly wrong. But maybe she hasn't suffered from sexism.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:38:13

Blistory - do you think the fact your company bills hours makes a difference to making this work?

My experience is that you are valued as an employee regardless of whether or not you have children but when it comes to promotions at a high high level, it is highly unlikely that you will be promoted if you are not putting serious hours in.

LRD - Womens equality is constantly evolving but I do think that corporate culture is a big stumbling block in that the women who are making it as CEO's of very large organisations are doing it in the traditional way - there is no new path emerging.

I am not referring to smaller companies because they can always be more flexible

Oh, I see! Yes, I totally agree, it's problematic that women are succeeding (great!) but having to do so by using the same old structures. I take your point.

I think a new path will emerge.

I also get the impression smaller companies actually have less flexibility, but I suppose it depends how small we're talking. Obviously a family-run company will have far less flexibility than a large corporation in terms of covering maternity leave, but perhaps the companies in the middle do better? I wouldn't know!

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 17:47:57

Min, if anything, working in a profession that charges by the hour would make presenteeism the way to go.

Modern technology means that I can check up that the work I think they are doing, is actually being done. It also means that I can be more flexible in how and where and when they work. So presenteeism no longer has anywhere to hide and will ultimately not be the way corporations work.

I know, because I've done it myself, that hours spent in the office does not equal hours spent working. Not one of my staff works past 5 o clock in an average week. They go home and have a life. That alone makes them a better worker when they come in the next day.

I had one employee let down by childcare one day last week and I couldn't give her the time off. That's unusual for me but the work was critical however knowing that she works her socks off normally, I put her in a taxi to the school and back, told her to bring her son in and gave him a PC to surf the internet on. She was then able to leave early once the project which was time critical, was completed.

What did I get out of it ? The knowledge that the next time we're seriously under pressure, she will stay on and help out if she's able. That, as an employer, is invaluable.

If you'd asked me 5 years ago, I'd have said something different. Times change but slowly.

MiniTheMinx Mon 28-Jan-13 17:52:07

The media is not something completely free to print just what it likes without bias. I notice a lot of: Anti-feminism, floral fashions, retro kitchens, cupcake baking crapadoodle, scrounger & benefit bashing.

I just wonder now, as this economic crisis isn't lifting any time soon, when will we be hit with main stream press stories about how working women harm their children through neglect. It's gota follow.

sieglinde Mon 28-Jan-13 17:52:33

Mary Berry isn't even all that great a baking writer. Her recipes are very amateurish. They picked her for her looks, ladylike granny with a thread of steel.

Blistory, love your tale! Every single junior appointment I've made has led immediately to pregnancy and long maternity leave... but I've always upheld that as the choice of the woman concerned. Thing is though that sometimes quality/continuity does suffer a bit, and I myself took far less time off. That's NOT to side with Berry - but just to say it can occasionally be a bit hmm

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 18:02:35

I agree sieglinde and I don't want anyone working here under sufferance. If someone is only at work to pay for childcare and would really rather be at home with their child, then they are not as valued because they don't value their employer. That works for men and women.

It works both ways but it's easier for the employer to lead and set up a culture where staff know they are valued. When they do, they give full value for money and they don't bitch about other staff enjoying their rights because they know that they all have the same rights whether male/female, old or young. It's not just employers who need to change attitudes, it's staff to other staff.

Continuity only suffers because it hasn't yet become the norm. I work in a profession where maternity cover is a bugger to find because of the short term nature. That's why it's my responsibility to have contingencies in place. It was a pain in the arse to start with but it's just become normal now and slowly but surely male staff have begun to wake up and realise that I value them more for being all round good guys and not because their bum happens to be on a seat. So they now take time off but they also provide cover for maternity leave without bitching about it. When they see that they can all benefit, the culture really does start to change.

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 18:45:43

"OK "charmed life" is clearly wrong. But maybe she hasn't suffered from sexism"

Purhaps she has suffered from sexism but is one of those who just egnores and gets on with what she has to do.

I am reading The Iron Lady at the moment. I always wondered how M Thatcher got on so well in a mans world? Now i know it was because she didn't try to fight the sexism, she just got on with what she had to do and proved herself through sheer hard work and determination.

Purhaps getting on with it and proving you are just as good as any man through hard work and determination is more powerful than trying to fight against it by complaining. No man could argue that M Thatcher wasn't fit for the job in hand because she had proved herself by getting on with it. Mary Berry is the same, she didn't complain about it, she just got on with the job and proved herself to be successful.

MmeLindor Mon 28-Jan-13 18:54:05

I am writing my application to work for Blis right now. No idea what you do, but you could use me somewhere, I am sure.

Seriously. I love that there are companies willing to put real proper flexible working hours to the test. I read about the (then) boss of T-mobile who said that he left the office at 6pm every evening, spend time with his kids and then went online when the kids were in bed. It would have been great if his work-life balance had been encouraged throughout the company.

With modern communication methods, I don't see why flexible working hours, and working from home some days, should not be possible for many people.

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 19:01:19

But MmeLindor - that's ok if someone works in an office based job but there are thousands of jobs out there where it isn't pratical to work from home or do flexible hours. More manual/practical jobs are very different from office type jobs.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 19:07:44

Haha, it's certainly not Utopia by any means.

The most difficult thing was changing my own attitude but seriously once the men realised that they benefit too, it was just soooo easy. I still catch myself coming out with standard corporate defences every so often but I tend to be aware of them and less resistant to change.

Now if only I could go back and tell my 20 year old self the things that feminism has helped me with and helped me understand.

I do think that women find it tough to point out the benefits that change can bring and I understand why M Thatcher found it simpler to work with the system rather than against it. I found some of her opinions in her autobiography very much in tune with feminism and wonder if she was simply a product of the idea that feminism is nasty and shouty hence her stated disregard for women's rights. I can understand that being the sole voice in a male dominated and very conservative (small 'c') environment was isolating but just wish that she had done more to promote women's rights during her time as PM.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 19:11:58

But MmeLindor - that's ok if someone works in an office based job but there are thousands of jobs out there where it isn't pratical to work from home or do flexible hours. More manual/practical jobs are very different from office type jobs.

I used to argue that for my profession too but employers need to adapt. A lot of what we do isn't suitable for homeworking or flexitime so we adapted ALL our structures to make it possible for there always to be cover. I thought the trials would show it didn't work but it was the opposite.

amazingmumof6 Mon 28-Jan-13 19:13:34

Definition of feminism (Oxford Dictionary) : the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

see I have a problem with this.
I agree that women should and do have rights as human beings,

but what does "on the ground of the equality of sexes" mean?

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 19:19:02

I would think it means that men and women are equal.

Woman are equal to men so deserve the same legal rights and for the rules of society to apply to all. That doesn't happen so feminism wants to achieve a level playing field where you're not judged by your sex.

MmeLindor Mon 28-Jan-13 19:22:11

There are certainly some jobs (medical staff, sales, police force, teaching come to mind ) that would not be doable from home, but many would be.

I was temping recently, and the job could easily have been done from home, given appropriate internet connection etc. In fact I did some translation work for them in the evenings, because I had to leave at 3pm to pick up the kids.

amazingmumof6 Mon 28-Jan-13 19:36:40

I think it must be that the words "Equal" and "Same" get interchanged all the time that causes a lot of problems - for me anyway

(like in maths 6+2 = 8 also 1+7=8, but 6+2 is not the same as 1+7 IYKWIM)

because men and women are certainly not the same....

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 19:42:21

Blistory - yes purhaps it can work for some businesses but not all can do the flexible working or working from home - especially small businesses.

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 19:44:24

amazingmum Definitely. I hate when people confuse equal and same. I don't want to be the same as a man by any means, I am proud of being a woman, but I want to be seen EQUAL to a man.

Latara Mon 28-Jan-13 19:46:10

I took MB's advice when asking my neighbour to remove his car from my drive earlier.

Well, being cutey girly & nice didn't work, so i got back to my normal feminist self & that car got moved fast....!

Latara Mon 28-Jan-13 19:47:20

''Will you kindly move your car from my drive''


''Move it or else''

''yes ok''

garlicblocks Mon 28-Jan-13 19:48:01

I've just been bumping all the MN feminists' comments on the article wink

Good one, Latara grin

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 19:48:30

Latara Good going grin

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 19:56:04

I can't think of any job that can't offer flexitime off the top of my head.

And we are a small company.

Honestly, I could give you all the arguments against flexitime, home working, maternity leave etc etc. I used to use them myself. I resisted it all for years. And then realised that if we don't change, there is absolutely no point in educating women if all we expect is that they'll attend school, maybe higher education, start on the career ladder and then have to become a SAHP even if they don't want to. Men don't have that restriction and if we don't change it now, we never will. I bought into the whole 'women can't have it all' Yes, they can, as men have shown time and time again, so why don't they ? And really it comes down to working patterns and society's expectations as to child care and different roles for the sexes, so why not change them ?

It was only when I really looked into it that I realised that these arguments about it not being possible were simply traditional perceptions about our work culture in the UK. I promise you, I am not seeing things through rose tinted glasses or holding my company up as a shining example. I do see many of our clients and competitors changing and yes, it might be small steps but it is happening.

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 20:00:04

Latara - i'm not sure i like the stereotyping. What i mean is to me you are saying:

Cutey, girly and nice = typical female way

normal feminist self = typical male way

Where as to me it is:

Polite, nice and kind = male and female way sometimes

More assertive and outspoken = male and female way sometimes also.

I don't like this labelling that suggests a nice polite cute attitude must be a girl thing therefore wrong whereas a strong assertive attitude must be either male or feminist.

If i have to get someone to move something i always start off with the polite, kind way first (because that is just good mannors) then if they are being a stick in the mud i will get more assertive and strong. I don't link that to being a female i just link that with being a human being trying to be polite first instead of going in all guns blazing.

I think she's referring to what Mary Berry thinks feminist/nonfeminist ways of doing things are, moon!

amazingmumof6 Mon 28-Jan-13 20:10:52

solidsnake well, then it really should be called "Equalism" shouldn't it?

Feminism is often portrayed by showing women at their least feminine, behaving like men would do - so is a feminist someone who wants to be equal to a man by appearing to be one?

It's very confusing for me and I have great difficulty with the whole issue

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 20:11:58

Blistory - my business cannot offer flexible time. For a start, part of it is a dying trade and it is very difficult to find someone who can actually do the job in first place and the hours, let alone someone to cover them to do flexi time. The other part of it most do part time anyway and they are very happy to do their Mon-Fri with some doing 5 hours a day others 7. It works and i can't see having double the amount of staff to come in and do a few hours each helpful at all. Flexi working just wouldn't work at all.

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 20:12:46

amazingmum Well I think what described sounded pretty much like feminism to me!

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 20:15:28

Also, personally, I don't like 'Equalism' much because to me it sounds like a term for feminists who don't want to call themselves feminists, but if any equalists would like to explain more about the movement or correct me, i'm happy to listen.

ComposHat Mon 28-Jan-13 20:18:17

I have no idea, I haven't read the article. However I always thought she looks like a cross between Sue Barker and a scrotum. Just thought I'd share it.

TheDarkestNight Mon 28-Jan-13 20:20:45

amazingmum, I think the same/equal thing is a bit of a false issue, anyway. I'm equal to my sister, but we're far from the same, because we're different people. A 40-year-old black man and a 40-year-old white man are equal, but not the same; not because of the colour of their skin but because they're individual human beings. I might have far more in common with a man around my age with a similar background than I have with say... Mary Berry.

I agree that equal does not mean the same, but the idea that I'm similar to another woman just because we both have female genitals just doesn't sit well with me. I don't think seeing women as an homogeneous mass doesn't really help anyone.

TheDarkestNight Mon 28-Jan-13 20:21:56

*I don't think seeing women as an homogeneous mass helps anyone. Sorry, got distracted mid-sentence!

ElectricSheep Mon 28-Jan-13 20:22:31

‘I would always stand up for women but I don’t want women’s rights and all that sort of thing.

‘I love to have men around and I suppose if you’re a true feminist you get on and do it yourself. I love it when someone says, “I’ll get your coat” or, “I’ll look after you”, or offers you a seat on the bus. I’m thrilled to bits. I’m not a feminist.’

Can anyone actually read accurately any more?

MB obviously associates feminism with the type of radical feminism of the 60-70s which were often separatist - I don't think she's referring to what we would understand by feminism nowadays.

Cut the woman some slack. She's a cook not a political commentator.

AnyFucker Mon 28-Jan-13 20:34:19

Precisely, ES. So she needs to shut up yapping to the media about something she is clearly uneducated about.

IDreamedADreamOfSausageRolls Mon 28-Jan-13 20:35:09

I subscribe to the Times so in case anyone still cares, here's the relevant bit of the interview:

Would she consider herself a feminist? She pulls a face. “I don’t think so,” she says. “I would always stand up for women but don’t want women’s rights and all that sort of thing. I love to have men around and I suppose if you’re a true feminist you get on and do it yourself. I love it when someone says, ‘I’ll get your coat’, or, ‘I’ll look after you’, or offers you a seat on the bus. I’m thrilled to bits. I’m not a feminist, no.”

Does she think feminism has become a dirty word? “I think feminism is a dirty word,” she nods. “You’ve got to persuade them [men] gently to do things and, of course, when they come back they say, ‘Oh, wasn’t that fun?’”

Part of her exasperation is possibly based on the fact that she is an employer: “I had about five weeks off [for maternity leave] and now I think, gosh, they haven’t half cottoned on to it! You have a year off, and you don’t have to tell them whether you’re coming back or not,” she says, stunned. “It makes it terribly difficult for the small employer to employ young women, young married women or [women] with children. You’ve got three in the department and they all go to have children and you’ve got to leave the job open.”

Personally I'm not massively bothered by what she's said, mainly because of her age and because she isn't a role model for women in their teens and twenties.

SpaceAstronaut Mon 28-Jan-13 20:35:31

I wish I didn't read the comments under the Telegraph article. angry [shocked] and fucking disappointed.

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 20:36:34

I think if i were in a job interview and it was a choice between me and a bloke, i would want to get that job based on my work and skills. I wouldn't want that job to either A) Fill someones quota of how many women they must be seen to employ or B) Because i have had to be like a man.

If i didn't get that job through my skills and knowledge all whilst being myself (like a female, not a male traited female) then i don't think i want that job after all.

SolidSnake Mon 28-Jan-13 20:39:38

Space Don't you know the first rule of the internet? Never read the comments!

SpaceAstronaut Mon 28-Jan-13 20:42:45

No, I didn't know, Snake! I always read them and the suffer form heightened heart rate. I'll know next time.

chocoluvva Mon 28-Jan-13 20:46:07

I can't get very worked up about her comments either - she bakes - she doesn't sound like she's given much thought to feminism.

merrymouse Mon 28-Jan-13 20:50:13

She is 77 and bakes cake.

I don't agree with her, but I won't be throwing her cook books away.

I think her remarks aren't very well thought out and I don't agree with them, but I don't really expect her to be the Germaine Greer of sponges.

salopia Mon 28-Jan-13 21:15:03

I admit I havent read the entire thread but has the beloved MB said what she did for childcare when she went back at 5 weeks ?

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 21:20:00

Lots of women want to go back very quickly - 5 weeks is fine. It should not be that women are all made to take the same amount of time off work.

She just doesn't like the feminism word, but her life and her example is pretty good. Most successful women like their work and many combine it well with children. You do not have to take a year's maternity leave to be a good mother or father for that matter.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 21:35:25

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, not all women will agree about feminism etc. She is a very successful entrepreneur and what she says is probably what Thatcher would also have said.

' She likes the idea of chivalry, she likes being treated like a lady. Quite frankly, I expect everyone to be courteous to everyone but a lot of what she finds flattering is actually insulting. It suggests incapacity or weakness.'

She doesn't think it is insulting or reflects incapacity; she thinks differently.

I think Alibhai Brown's article is poisonous, not the thoughts of Mary Berry.

'But now, suddenly, we discover that the fragrant lady of the cakes has a bitter centre, some pretty poisonous views, all seemingly arrived at without the burdensome reading of serious texts or heeding of authoritative voices'

What 'authoritative voices' is Alibhai-Brown referring to? - her own?

It is a free country and people differ in their views. Allow differing views to be expressed and don't allow the 'my way or the highway' thought control of 'authoritative voices'.

edam Mon 28-Jan-13 21:50:16

Shame she has to slag off feminism when I'm sure she wouldn't be impressed if someone tried to take away her right to run her company, or vote, or be paid the same as a man... Good grief, she's from the generation that fought for equal pay, her memory is clearly very short indeed. Or maybe she thought she should be paid less, who knows...

sarahseashell Mon 28-Jan-13 21:52:47

YANBU not read the whole thread but saw an interview with her the other day and was angry

IDreamedADreamOfSausageRolls Mon 28-Jan-13 21:55:40

YY agree about Yasmin Alibhai Brown, claig!

If Mary Berry sees that she'll probably think "why would I waste time reading serious texts when I could be making/eating cakes?" - and rightly so grin

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 22:00:45

Having just spent a lovely evening with some older ladies, I find it even more surprising that she expressed those sentiments. The consensus of the women I spoke with was that women have it harder in many ways in current times. As one put it "there wasn't the time to worry about how you measured up to other women. We just got on with it. I worked during the war and raised three children. I didn't think twice about asking a neighbour or relative to mind the weans, that's what we all did for each other. I didn't have to be the best mother, just the best mother for my child. There was none of this faff about working or staying at home, we just got on and did both. These poor wimmin of today are judged left right centre and what does it achieve ?"

Made me think.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 22:04:26

Alibhai-Brown's article is a very nasty article and is also personal. Mary Berry is not being personal. She just gives her views. They aren't "poisonous" and don't have a "biiter centre", they just differ from Alibhai-Brown's views.

I don't agree with Mary Berry, but I believe in freedom of thought and expression and I don't like to see "liberal","authoritative voices" personally attacking people for expressing their views. That goes against liberty and is illiberal.

It is not only 70 year old women who think like Mary Berry, and everyone is entitled to their view.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 22:08:20

'We just got on with it.'

That is exactly what Mary Berry is saying in my opinion. She had no extra rights, no special treatment, she had to go back to work after 5 weeks. That is what she believes in. She is entitled to her opinion without being called "poisonous" and without whipping up a "liberal" backlash for expressing her opinions.

I am hoping that she was misquoted or misled (sp?).

I love Mary. I met her through my job years ago when she judged a cookery competition.

<shamlessly marking my place so I can read tomorrow>

WoTmania Mon 28-Jan-13 22:09:08

YANBU - just read the DM article angry what a load of rubbish. She sounds like one of those women who have had all the advantages of feminism without realising that is down to feminists and feminism that she has those equal rights etc.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 22:13:46

Claig, please stop quoting my posts out of context. The woman I quoted believes that women today need feminism more than ever and believed that MB expressed those views because in some ways, she had it easier, in her opinion. And overall the consensus was that it was a selfish view. The 'I did alright so feminism has no relevance to me as a woman' view.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 22:19:21

Yes, that is probably Mary Berry's view, because that is how she did it. She "just got on with it" like the women who went through the war said. She doesn't feel that she achieved her success through feminism. Thatcher would probably say the same type of thing. That is what she thinks. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, because disagreements and different opinions will always exist. What is far worse is an attempt to force people to heed 'authoritative voices'.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 22:26:43

Blistory - the individual company stories sound great but that is not the reality. The situation you describe works because those employees can switch off after 5, their work is not terribly demanding, much like mine now. However if you climb the ranks it's a different story. A CEO who leaves at 5 to spend time with their family is certainly a better person but probably not a better CEO

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 22:29:26

Blistory the point you made regarding how older women view our generation is excellent. There is no doubt we tend to over think and beat ourselves up endlessly

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 22:32:38

'These poor wimmin of today are judged left right centre and what does it achieve ?"

This is teh key difference with then and now. Mary Berry is not a modern "role model" that can be used by 'authoritative voices', she is a human being. She dares to disagree with the 'authoritative voices' and they don't like it and thow vitriol at her.

She should not be judged as being "poisonous" because she thinks differently to those "voices".

She just "got on with it", she didn't try to be a "role model", she didn't try to be a "high flier" or a beast in the boardroom; she just got on with it and she did it. She didn't have the pressure of the media and the extra high expectations judging her all the way while she built her career. She doesn't think she is wealk or incapacitated because a man holds a door open for her; she actually likes it.

She "got on with it", and the "authoritative voices" should let her get on with it, back off attacking her personally and let her express her views.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 22:37:22

Min, sorry but I find that offensive. I have never disclosed what I do in RL but suffice to say my profession is one that involves my staff being put in some very harrowing and threatening situations. It is very much a profession guilty of presenteeism but given what they do, that leads to burn out.

As for your comments on not being a good CEO, I balance my actual work, my company management and home life extremely well. The difference is that I make sure my employees get those benefits too. Profitability is up, productivity is up, client satisfaction is up and I have a strategy in place to deal with one poorly performing employee.

You are making the tired old assumption that quantity of time at work is a better guage of success than the quality of time at work.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 22:39:21

Sorry Min that sounded really defensive on my part. But it is my reality and that of my colleagues and if my profession can do it, so can others.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 22:48:28

Xenia works very long hours and weekends. MPs work long hours. I am sure that Tony Blair had to work long hours. Highly paid traders work long hours and self-employed business people often work very long hours.

I think that people in the private sector at top levels do work long hours and I personally wouldn't invest in any company where the boss left the office at 5 pm. I am sure that Mary Berry also worked long hours.

If you want to be a champion sports star you have to put the hours and graft in, in order to stay ahead of your competition. You have to make sacrifices.

It may be different in a council job, I don't know.

The old adage "it's tough at the top" has some truth to it.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 22:53:16

They work long hours because traditionally it's expected. That's very different from being necessary.

And there may well be some industries where flexitime or home working aren't possible. I just can't think of one.

Quite why you seem to be dismissive of council workers is beyond me.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Mon 28-Jan-13 22:55:44

Blistory, your company sounds great.

Min, to respond to your anecdote a few pages back, DH would have loved to have shared maternity leave with me and I with him. I am pleased this is increasingly going to happen - first something is made legal, then more people give it a try and slowly it becomes just another option.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 22:59:23

Council workers are public sector workers and do not face the competition that exists in the private sector. I am not dismissive of them, but I don't think they face the competitive pressures that Mary Berry faced when running a private business without state aid and taxpayer funding.

People in private businesses don't work long hours because it is expected; they do so in order to remain competitive in regard to their colleagues and competing businesses.

I am sure that the founders of Microsoft and Apple worked very long hours in order to get where they are today.

edam Mon 28-Jan-13 23:00:05

VERY well said, blistory. Long hours are a form of macho showing off - look at me, look at how hard I work, very few other people would make these sacrifices and command my pay packet! In many industries and many jobs it has very little to do with actual impact. And even in, say, corporate law or medicine, it's the juniors climbing the greasy pole who are made to work ridiculous hours. Once you get to very senior levels you often don't have to pull such ridiculous stunts. (Although with restrictions on junior doctor's hours and people finally waking up to the fact that patients are ill round the clock, not just 9-5 Mon-Fri, things are beginning to shift in medicine.)

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 23:00:41

I can't really take credit for it. A lot of posters, particularly in FWR have really opened my eyes as has reading the same old threads by women really struggling to get by and nothing seems to change. That's possibly why MB's comments rankled. As a woman, if I can influence or have a positive aspect on other womens lives and am fortunate enough to have the means to do so, don't I have a responsibility to do just that ?

edam Mon 28-Jan-13 23:01:55

The founder of Apple is dead - at least one of them, Steve Jobs. 'Where he is today' is six feet under, sadly for his friends and family.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 23:05:48

Claig, where am I not being clear ? I am self employed, I am highly paid, I work in a traditional profession, your refusal to invest in company's like mine is your loss. Had you done so, your dividends may have opened your eyes to the benefits of not blindly following tradition.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 23:07:40

' Long hours are a form of macho showing off - look at me, look at how hard I work, very few other people would make these sacrifices and command my pay packet!'

Edam, I think that is wrong. Most prople don't like doing extra work. Even the traders in the banks would prefer to pick up their bonuses and go to the pub. They have no choice if they want to pick up their pay cheques. They are at the train station at 6 a.m. and don't get back till late. If they are not prepared to do it, then there are lots of eager competitors who will do it instead.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 23:11:40

'I work in a traditional profession'

I think things may change in your profession too, and I doubt it will be towards shorter working hours. There was a time when teh city bankers had 3 hour liquid lunches, then Thatcher brought in deregulation and in came the American and foreign banks and they were eating sandwiches at their desks.

Times change, competition increases, life gets tougher.

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 23:16:52

I agree completely about self employed people working long hours not because they want to or because its expected but because they have to.

Blistery I appreciate that your company works the way it does with flexible working hours but that is your company and it is what works for you.

My husband and I dont own a company, just a small business with a handful of employees. Flexible working would not work for the business as I have said.

What works for your company may not work for every business and company and you cannot possibly say flexible hours would work for every business unless you know the ins and outs of it.

There are thousands of jobs, mainly manual and practical work rather than office based, where it just would not work.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 23:19:34

Don't know why I'm even bothering to reply.

Ok, lighthearted example of change. BigDog comes to the office with me. I originally hid her from clients, professional colleagues visiting the office etc because I worried about the perception that having the dog in the office wasn't professional. Turns out that everyone loves the idea and she now spends more time in the boardroom than I do. We now have two full time dogs and one part time. Sometimes you have to shake up traditional ideas and practice.

And by evolving and adapting, companies tend to go from strength to strength. By clinging to outdated working practices, companies struggle to survive in general. 90% of MY role is restructuring struggling businesses of all shapes and sizes so I see it daily.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 23:22:27

Moon, I get that but that's exactly how I started.

There are other solutions than flexitime and remote working but I appreciate that not all businesses can adapt.

Does that mean that those who can, shouldn't do so ?

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 23:23:22

We used to have jobs for life, now many people are lucky if they get a 6 month contract. Things have got tougher, insecurity has increased, competition has increased. Rewards have increased for the lucky ones, but insecurity is now behind every door and no one can be certain how long the good times will last.

Globalisation has made the entire world a competitive arena, and that is why most people have to work harder for less. Some areas have been cushioned so far, but they will see teh same thing that teh blue collar workers saw and that the middle management white collar workers saw.

That is why our rights are now being slowly removed under the "austerity" imposed by the elite. The mantra is we must be competitive in a globalised world. We can't stop the locomotive, we are in it for the ride.

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 23:24:33

So you have an office based job then? I cannot relate to that at all.

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 23:31:07

If they can then of course but its the tunnel vision that is bothering me where some people think that all businesses and companies can and should do flexible working. There are so many different types of work forces out there and very few know or understand the differences and difficulties within those work places.

So for someone to come along and say you can do something without any knowledge of the ins and outs of that business is just not right imo.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 23:31:45

Moon. 50/50 most times. The times I'm out of the office, I'm at someone else's business advising them how to get out of financial difficulty so I really do appreciate both sides of the argument. But the majority of businesses I advise resist change because they don't want to, not because it's not possible.

I appreciate that your industry may well be one of the exceptions.

Claig, please stop telling me why things can't change. Have you ever thought it would be more productive to implement change rather than just blindly dismiss it because we're all doomed and the end of the world is nigh.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 23:39:10

'Claig, please stop telling me why things can't change. Have you ever thought it would be more productive to implement change rather than just blindly dismiss it because we're all doomed and the end of the world is nigh.'

I don't believe in anthropomorphic climate change, I didn't believe Gordon Brown when he said we have only 50 days left to save the planet.

Before you implement change, you need to understand what is going on around you. You need to understand what your competition is doing. I don't believe in implementing change for change's sake.

Maybe your profession does not yet face the fierce competition that many other businesses face - competition that has seen our manufacturing industry decline. But things will change. Just as Virgin now runs trains, new companies will break barriers in the traditional professions. Competition will increase and shorter hours and flexi-work is likely to fly out of the window.

MoonLighter Mon 28-Jan-13 23:43:00

I think at the moment though people are just happy to have a job because of all the cuts and redundancies. The last job I filled I had over 100 applicants whereas before it would be around 10 to 20. At the moment people are grateful for any hours so having a choice and being picky over what hours they want to do is not an option at the moment. My dh hates doing 12 hour days but it is what has to be done. I am coming up with all sorts of knew things to bring customers in. Everyone is doing what they can.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 23:44:48

Anyway............still disappointed that MB appears to have not recognised the positive changes that feminism has brought and that article seems to have reinforced the negative view many have of feminism.

claig Mon 28-Jan-13 23:46:59

Agree, MoonLighter. Well done to you and your husband putting the hours in. You are providing employment to people and are the backbone of the country.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 23:51:11

Moon, that's tough. Have you looked into any local authority schemes to assist people back to work. In my area they still have plenty of government funds to throw at these incentives. I had one client take on 2 staff and had their salaries paid by the fund up to £10k each for the first year. He made up the difference but it really helped his cash-flow during a tight time. You really have to hunt out these schemes but might be worth considering. We do about 4 applications a month and most are successful and cover long term unemployed or unskilled through to graduate placements.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 06:30:00

I thought that with the increase in part time jobs and zero hours contracts more people were working less for less...

nooka Tue 29-Jan-13 07:47:23

There is a bit of a split in terms of working. If you are one of the lucky individuals who has chosen to specialise in a true shortage area then you are part of what is known as the 'war for talent' and you can demand all sorts of changes n work patterns etc. Whilst there is no such thing as a job for life (and hasn't been for many many years now) the corollary is that employees are no longer automatically loyal. They will and do move on.

That might not feel very real to people struggling to find and keep work, but it is a significant strategic risk for many companies (I'm a risk manager and it is a consistently quoted concern, and one of my own organisation's top risks right now).

Oh, and we have parental leave split between mother/father and it is not unusual or frowned upon for the dads to take their share. I can also recall a first meeting with a high flying CEO who told us on his first day that he would be leaving early twice a week to pick up his child from school. It is not impossible. Recognition that it's about what you achieve and not how long you take to achieve it is already happening.

I'm sad about Mary Berry. I hope that the interviewer twisted her words - it certainly sounds as if some very leading questions were used.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 07:53:49

Blistery the thing is we do not have problems in those areas. Finding staff iis easier now than ever due to the amount of people looking for work. We do not have vacancies come up that often because our staff tend to stay for years at time. They like the hours so there is no problem.

I was at home with the children and when my dc started school I created a job for myself in the business. It does not bring in a wage per se because the business profit comes into our house anyway. But what it does do is bring in nose customers through what I make to sell and it gives the business that little extra edge over competition. I did not complain about it, I just got on with it and used a little imagination. I don't suppose mary berry or m thatcher got where they did from cosy 9 am starts and 5pm finishes or whatever. They got where they did career wise through doing the difficult unsocialable hours and going the extra mile without wanting everyone to bend over to accomidate.

That is just my opinion.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 07:55:13

Anyway I pretty much agree with blistory. Obviously flexible working won't work for every company and it isn't mandatory. However if you can offer flexible working (e.g enable staff to work remotely, have some control over their hours) you are providing your staff with a non cash benefit which makes you a more attractive employer without hitting your bottom line.

Nothing non competitive about that.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 07:59:45

Blistery the thing is we do not have problems in those areas. Finding staff iis easier now than ever due to the amount of people looking for work. We do not have vacancies come up that often because our staff tend to stay for years at time. They like the hours so there is no problem.

I was at home with the children and when my dc started school I created a job for myself in the business. It does not bring in a wage per se because the business profit comes into our house anyway. But what it does do is bring in nose customers through what I make to sell and it gives the business that little extra edge over competition. I did not complain about it, I just got on with it and used a little imagination. I don't suppose mary berry or m thatcher got where they did from cosy 9 am starts and 5pm finishes or whatever. They got where they did career wise through doing the difficult unsocialable hours and going the extra mile without wanting everyone to bend over to accomidate.

That is just my opinion.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 08:09:31

I think mrs thatcher worked a lot from home.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 08:25:01

MoonLighter, here is Clegg for you

'People will even be able to ask for flexible working to enable them to volunteer in schools, hospitals and care homes.'

'But a senior backbench Tory MP warned that the ‘crazy’ plans would be just another burden on Britain’s hard-pressed small businesses'

The Tory is right. These policies will destroy the competitiveness of many of our businesses. In teh long run, it will harm employment prospects for people in this country. In the end it will all be rolled back.

The bureaucrats and public school boys, who have never worked in industry, will have to admit they got it wrong, and they will have to start listening to business people - people like Mary Berrry and MoonLighter, just as Margaret Thatcher did.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 08:29:41

I think the key phrase there is 'ask for'. Nobody has ever suggested that workers should be able to choose their hours at the expense of their employer. He is just suggesting that the current right to ask for flexible hours without fear of discrimination be extended. If flexible hours don't work for your company just say no.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 08:33:26

'Employers will have to come up with a good reason if they turn a request down.'

I am sure that the barristers and solicitors and professions and old-boy public school networks will make money out of taking hard-working businesses - the backbone of the country - to court.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 08:39:39

Parents have had this right for a decade - not much publicity about court cases if any have occurred.

freerangelady Tue 29-Jan-13 08:41:27

Blistory - although many industries canaccomodate flexible and home working some just cannot. Farming for instance. I just can't hop off my combine on an August evening at 6pm to either pick up kids or create a better life balance. My staff cannot have flexi working because hens don't stop laying eggs, animals have to be fed and alarms to off at 2am that have to be investigated otherwise we have a lot of dead pigs on our hands.

I think Mary berry has a bit of a point that women do just need to get in with stuff sometimes. I do however believe in feminism - I wouldn't be driving my combine without it! I'm about to have my first baby - due this wk but I'm still doing what I can at work because I'm fit and healthy and it's my business. The other girls on my antenatal course all gave up work 5-8 wks ago, one did have health problems that needed rest but the other girls have not.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 08:44:47

Clegg, the public school boy who is very probably also a millionaire, is extending it.

'A Lib Dem source said: ‘At the moment, grandparents in their 50s and 60s who are still working would not be eligible to apply for flexible working. If they could do it, they could pick up the kids from school twice a week, for example.
It would clearly reduce the burden on mothers.’

But Brian Binley, a Tory member of the Commons business select committee, said: ‘Here we go again with another crazy plan.
‘The effect of this on small businesses could be sizeable. I am sick to death of people that don’t understand that our nation needs to earn a living in what is a more competitive world.’

A spokesman for the Institute of Directors said: ‘We are not big fans of the right to request flexible working in general, and we do not think this extension is a sensible thing for business.

‘It’s extra red tape, extra burdens – and is a funny thing to do when the Government is saying, “We’ll cut regulation for all business”.’

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 08:52:10

Margaret Thatcher, daughter of a grocer and grammar school girl, understood the pressures that our businesses face.

The silver-spooned toffs at their elite public schools that cost £30,000 odd a year and who had gilded careers in politics and law without setting sight on businesses or a business person, are divorced from the realities of business life.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 08:58:51
claig Tue 29-Jan-13 09:11:19

The hard-working people up and down the land are paying for all of this. Their taxes are funding it. Businesses are fnding it.

The silver-spooned toffs, out ot touch and out of order, are slowly strangling the goose that lays the golden eggs.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 09:16:37

'Controversial new 'flexitime' arrangements are allowing Whitehall officials an extra three days holiday a month if they work over 36 hours a week, it was revealed today.
More and more civil servants are working nine-day fortnights by cutting lunch breaks short and staying in the office until 6pm, allowing them extra holiday.
Whitehall staff can even factor delays getting to work due to traffic into their contracted working week, according to a leaked document seen by the Daily Telegraph.'

Meanwhile small business owners and hundreds of thousands of ordinary employees are working ever longer hours just trying to keep afloat and in order to pay rates and taxes that fund the policies introduced by the silver-spooned toffs, with their public school hats and quaint uniforms and their elegant legal gowns.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 09:17:56

Soon the country will rise and demand the return of the Thatch, and it won't come a moment too soon!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 29-Jan-13 09:21:53

Do you hear the people sing?

mindosa Tue 29-Jan-13 09:26:51

Blistory where are you getting that from my posts? I think you are misreading them.
I am referring to large organisations - multinationals etc. I think I made that pretty clear

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 09:27:21

'Do you hear the people sing?'

It's only a murmuring now, only a rumbling. The Daily Mail has it ear to teh ground and has heard it. Soon it will be a crescendo.

We found out about the MPs' expenses, soon we will find out what the ordinary workers are paying for, we will find out how the other half live on the taxes of the backbone of the nation.

The toffs in their towers will hear the singing of the people when they demand an end to the exploitation, austerity and squeezing of the goose that lays the golden egg.

The toofs will go and the likes of the Thatch will take their place.

mindosa Tue 29-Jan-13 09:30:58

Thats hilarious Claig (or are you Clegg????)

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 09:32:27

The churches will once again be full, the bells will ring out loud and Hallelujah will echo across the land.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 09:34:43

'or are you Clegg????'

How VERY dare you!! That silver-spooned toff!

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 09:45:45

Does Clegg read the Daily Mail? Does he heck!
Toffs read the Guardian, not the paper of the people!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 29-Jan-13 09:54:34

Mrs Thatcher is a messianic figure. She will return to save the country, just like King Arthur.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 09:58:55

Didn't she herself predict 'the return of the Mummy'?
and she wasn't talking about a yummy mummy, oh no!

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 10:03:34

' She will return to save the country, just like King Arthur. '

That is certainly what the silent majority wish for. For Clegg is no Sir Galahad, that's why things have got so bad. He is no Lancelot, some commentators say he has lost the plot.

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 10:55:08

Yes claig and she can deregulate more banks (and kiss the axxx of the darling bankers) like she did at the start of the the mess that you seem to have forgotten that she and her chum Reagan created. (oh she also allowed EVERYONE in to own U.K. businesses).

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 29-Jan-13 11:01:27

I was being sarcastic. Was Claig not? Surely she can't really think this stuff? <startled>

ponydilemma Tue 29-Jan-13 11:15:55

God since when have we all cared what MARY BERRY thinks?! The worlds gone mad etc etc etc

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:20:29

Ariel I got the feeling that claig was being serious I'd be pleased to be put right though grin.

Of course you're right ponydilemma The DM seems to care though or it thinks we do.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 11:23:43

I am joking, but I do believe that some of the toffs' policies are anti-business and that harms ordinary people who want business to thrive so that they can get employment.

Toffs aren't affected by their own policies, because they are millionaires on good expenses, but ordinary people need a business-friendly environment.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 11:27:20

At first, I hoped that the socialists in France might be able to achieve growth for the people. But it is starting to look like a disaster. Anti-business policies and high taxation of high earners is driving business people to leave France and growth is not happening. If they had an Iron Lady, they would probably be able to get some growth.

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:02:07

DH thinks that Etonians can't understand the MCs and W.Cs but it's down to intelligence, study and empathy. IMO

I don't remember Thatcher helping the W.C.s apart from selling Council houses which just created more homelessness.

But the "growth' that Thatcher got has left us ALL in a pile of shxx it was a fake bubble that has effing burst or maybe you haven't noticed Claig? I noticed you didn't reply to my post about Thatcher CREATING the problem we're in.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 12:13:13

I agree that Thatcher was the cause of some of our problems, but she also did some good things too. I prefer Thatcher to silver-spooned toffs like Clegg.

Thatcher was a grocer's daughter, she was one of us, not a toff. She didn't bow and scrape to them and was far more capable than the whole lot of them put together.

They are out of touch and do have a lack of empathy and understanding of the lives and struggles of ordinary people.

The toffs claim that they want to "save the planet" for us, but we know their game. It's the old "cost ya, cost ya, loadsamoney". They put red-tape and regulations on business which stifles growth and they privatize businesses that then increase energy charges by around 10% every year while wages grow at about 1% for millions of people.

The toffs work flexitime, with expenses paid for by the public, while the workers graft full-time.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 12:17:04

I prefer Thatcher to Fettes public school boys like Tony Blair too.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 29-Jan-13 12:19:09

Sorry claig but constantly using the word toffs is undermining your argument.

Just because Thatcher was a grocer's daughter, it didn't make her "one of us". If she ever was one of us, she lost that empathy extremely quickly.

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:25:32

Why does Clegg upset you more than Cameron? He of the "I trust and love all corrupt press officers" And the lover of Murdoch newspaper empires (if it was up to him we'd be ruled by the Sun, News of the World and all their corrupt cronies) Thank goodness that those poor parents of the murdered girl blew the whistle on the crap the newspapers print I don't believe ANY of them; esp. not the DM.

Oh and some people actually care about what sort of mess this planet is going to be left in by going for 'growth' at any cost and about workers conditions; I worked P.T. and I'm not a toff it seems that the DM has a champion in you claig

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 12:25:45

Thatcher was one of us, she was exceptional. She was a woman in a male world of snobbert and privilege. I am sure that some of those Etonians etc. looked down on this upstart woman who told them what to do. But they soon recognised that she was more capable and had more steel and iron than the whole lot of them.

Spitting Image had it right with that classic sketch where a waiter takes her order in a cabinet type meeting, and then the waiter asks her "what about the vegetables?" and she says "they'll have what I'm having".

Those were the days!

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 12:28:33

'Why does Clegg upset you more than Cameron?'

Because he is more anti-business than Cameron, more of a global warmer even than Cameron.

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:30:38

Yeah right hmm claig

Claig, I think you might find that both Cameron and Osborne, Boris etc are also 'silver spooned toffs"!

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 12:46:17

womblingalong, you are right. They are all toffs.

I preferred the Thatcher days when we were ruled by people like us who were exceptional, not by people of privilege.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 12:57:40

I wouldn't say Thatcher was one of us to be honest, she just had a view of politics that was different than those around her at the time. She did what she believed in and what she thought was best for Britain whereas the people around her did what was best to win votes and save their seats.

I agree Thatcher achieved a remarkable amount as a women in a mans world. She was a very single minded woman and aimed to excel in every department she was in. She was a grocers daughter yes but her father was also in politics and wasn't short of a bob or two. Thatcher gained a science degree and was very educated. Lets not forget she married a very rich man which allowed her to pursue her career in politics freely without the worry of having to make ends meet whilst doing so. It also meant she could afford nannies to look after her twins, in fact they had two flats with a joining door so the twins were in one flat with the nannies whilst Denis and herself were in the other flat where they could continue to work on piece.

I don't deny Thatcher got where she did through hard work and determination but lets not forget she had some big leg ups too that most don't get (ie a rich husband that allows you to pursue the career you really want.) Druing her election campain alot of the pictures of her in the local shop buying milk etc were to fool the voter into thinking she was just an ordinary housewife but the reality was her career was her goal and her family life did suffer for it.

Thinking about it i don't think Thatcher is a good example really of how someone can pull themselves through the career ladder because she may have been born of humble beginnings but she certainly wasn't "one of us" by any means.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 13:04:25

Good points, MoonLighter.

But I still think she was more one of us, she was closer to us and understood us more than the toffs we have now.

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 13:19:15

Thatcher was actually in competition with the toff of all toffs; the Queen FFS! shock Thatch had delusions of grandeur you just had to look at her handbag, hairstyle and listen to her accent!!
Remember "We are a grandmother" The royal we shock TBH I prefer real royalty to the arxxlickers like her.

zamantha Tue 29-Jan-13 13:20:44

To the post down a way that toffs read Guardian - No

Sensitive people who want a fairer Britain read the Guardian - or my folk are.
Thatcher did not want a fairer Britain - she wanted dynamism, ruthlessness and ambition. Carers were seen as naff and to come on the cheap.

Women, often in caring professions should be proud of their legacy and fight for more equal pay from within. Why is it women have to join male-dominated professions to achieve some parity of pay. Women, with traditional roles, should be arguing how they support economic development and deserve to be merited equally for their contribution. Teachers, nurses, social workers, carers are looked down upon in this society - feminism does have a way to go.

SolidSnake Tue 29-Jan-13 13:24:39

no no no zamantha sensitive people who want a fairer Britain read the Independent, whata re you talking about grin

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 13:33:39

Oh absolutely claig. Thatcher was a rare bread of MP who was in politics because thought her ideas were best for Britain, not because she wanted something purely for her own advantage. She did things because it was she believed in, not to win votes.

Zamantha i do believe she wanted a better Britain and everything she did was because she thought it was best, even if other didn't. She wanted people to better themselves as an individual and encouraged people to get out and do things for themselves. I don't see that as a bad thing.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 29-Jan-13 13:37:39

Blair believed in the war against Iraq. It didn't matter what everyone else thought, he was so convinced of his rightness. He said it in his farewell speech: "I did what I thought was right."

There's more to politics than imposing your own ideology on everyone else and not listening to the dissenters.

I agree with zamnatha - why are these roles so low value? We need carers. In my dotage I would like to think that the person helping me to the loo and changing me was being paid fairly and didn't resent every moment s/he was at work.

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 13:42:54

So how is the Thatcher created recession a "better Britain" ? She made some huge mistakes that we are paying for now. She was the capitalist to beat all capitalists.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 13:47:04

Blair also mysteriously got very rich after he left office and wanted a higher role in Europe. I believe Blair was in it for his own pocket and accepted many back handers.

Thatcher was in it for what was best for Britain with no other motive. She would have been horrified at the thought of any sort of back hander and most certainly wouldn't have ever done something or any sort of deal to further her own career.

They may have shared the same thoughts in doing what they thought was right but they cartainly didn't have principals when it came to deals for personal gain or career advancement.

Hobbitation Tue 29-Jan-13 13:47:27

Stick to cakes Mary.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 13:47:46

They may have shared the same thoughts in doing what they thought was right but they cartainly didn't have the same principals when it came to deals for personal gain or career advancement.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 13:48:59

Given that Mrs T married a millionaire and sent both her children to expensive boarding schools shortly after becoming an MP, I'm not really feeling this 'woman of the people' vibe very strongly.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 13:49:09

How did Thatcher create this recession?

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 13:57:36

So selling off the water companies, railways etc. was good was it? The only thing she did that was almost okay was curbing the closed shops of the unions but it should 've applied to EVERY walk of life (the law,medicine etc.) not just the unions (which BTW she was very adamant that she wanted to 'beat'). claig She HATES the working classes.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 14:02:57

The question was: How did she create the recession we have now? How did that get turned into me thinking selling off the water companies and railways was a good thing?

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:07:39

ppeatfruit, you are right about privatizaion. But Thatcher also broke down the bureaucracy. She wanted to open upo the closed shops of the professions, with their quotas on new entrants that stifled competition and kept their wages high. She tried to do the same in medicine. She was for more competition in all sectors and she tried to break down the protective barriers of the closed shops.

The merchant bankers nearly all disappeared as they were snapped up by foreign and UK banks.

She did things wrong, but she changed Britain forever and Blair and even Brown followed in her footsteps and often continued with her policies of modernisation.

Some of those policies were wrong and some were right.

I don't think she was against teh working class. Working class entrepreneurs like Alan Sugar rose to fame and suuccess during her time. She didn't protect Etonians etc. from the winds of competition. She believed in a meritocracy where the able could rise to the top, whatever their background.

Social mobility declined under the public school boy, Tony Blair. The ladder was kicked away by the New labour elite and working people were not able to rise as easily as they could before.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 14:12:55

"Social mobility declined under the public school boy, Tony Blair. The ladder was kicked away by the New labour elite and working people were not able to rise as easily as they could before"

That's interesting. Could you explain more as to how?

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:15:15

For years, the Labour elite put up against her the best minds they could find - Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock - and for years she knocked them down like skittles in a bowling emporium.

Week in week out she trounced the Labour elite at Parliamentary Question Time. It got so bad that they no longer knew what to do, they no longer knew which way was up, as they hurtled down into an electoral abyss.

They tried their best, they pulled out all their stunts, but nothing worked. Some wondered if this was a case of divine provenance.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:22:28

She dealt with Mitterand, she dealt with Reagan. The foreign press called her "La Dame de Fer", and the Labour elite cried that it was not fair. The country had seen nothing like this since Cromwell himself. History was being made, but eventually it all came to an end.

Labour then changed their name to New Labour, so discredited ha they become. They launched themselves anew and convinced the public to give them a second chance, and by God they led the country a merry dance. And so we are where we are now and the toffs are in charge.

Why does it all matter? Because some of their policies are not to the benefit of business and will not help employment. Giving legal rights to grandparents to obtain flexitime so that they can pick up grandchildren from school etc. may not be what business needs in such a competitive world.

But the toffs never worked in businesses, so what do they care, they're already millionaires and they'll carry on getting more than their fair share.

monica77798 Tue 29-Jan-13 14:31:24

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 16:14:41
"[...] last week's news was that UK female entrepreneurs earn more than male ones. A lovely statistic."

I think this highlights the problem with feminism and why to many people feminism is a dirty word. Feminists do not really care about equality - they think inequality in favour of women is a good thing.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:35:54

Am looking for the articles that told us how social mobility declined more under Blair than Thatcher.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 14:38:49

monica77798 - so do you mean feminists don't want to work alongside men as their equal, they want men to work for them as their underpin? Basically reverse the roles so men aren't charge, women are?

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:40:29

'Indeed, it is hard to resist the suspicion that British politics has become an exclusive club, dominated by public schoolboys, and that an old school tie and Oxbridge connections are the passport to that club.'

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:44:02

Found this article praising Thatcher. Haven't read it all, but makes some good points.

'As a middle-class woman fighting her way through a world dominated by upper-class men, Margaret Thatcher had to overcome obstacles far greater than any faced by today’s politicians.

Confronted at every turn by sexism and snobbery, she became the embodiment of grit, drive and determination.

Her background could hardly have been more different from the gilded childhood enjoyed by today’s privileged leaders. Born to Grantham grocer Alfred Roberts, in 1925, the young Margaret Roberts grew up above the shop, steeped in the values of thrift, hard work and good housekeeping.

This was little changed later by gaining power. In 1981, as documents released by the National Archives last week show, she was astonished by civil servants’ plans to spend £2,000 refurbishing Downing Street.

Thrifty as ever, she even insisted on paying £19 for her own ironing board. Compare that with the £680,000 of taxpayers’ money that David Cameron has spent renovating Downing Street!'

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 14:44:07

I personally think Blair crippled large parts of the nation by making them dependant.

Thatcher gave the message - go out and better yourself, work harder and you can rise to better things and live a middle class lifestyle.

Blair gave the message - you can live a middle class lifestyle but you don't have to better yourself and work harder, all you have to do is work the hours that suit you and we will top up the rest.

Now we have people who think you can do a 20 hour week on the hours that fit in around your life and still have the lifestyle of someone doing 60 hour weeks working around the clock. That's not reality.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:47:30

divine providence not provenance - I think that is a region of France

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 29-Jan-13 14:48:44

I'm not going to give credence to an article praising Thatcher in the Daily bloody Mail for God's sake!

You can appreciate that she was a very hard worker and was clever and was determined, without admiring her politics.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 29-Jan-13 14:50:00

That's right - A Year in Provenance by Peter Mayle.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 14:51:16

Did Mrs Thatcher ever work in business - I thought she was a chemist?

I'll accept she may have bagged the odd apple, but I had a Saturday job in the Body Shop. Doesn't make me Anita Roddick.

If she just inherited the feel for being a grocer from her father, I'm not sure that she is that different to George Osborne, who I suspect could talk about wallpaper, if the political occasion called for it.

Still, she seems to have spent huge amounts of energy propping up her rather difficult son, so I suppose in that respect she has a lot in common with other mothers.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 14:56:10

I'm not convinced that £19 for an ironing board was a particularly thrifty purchase in the 1970's. She was had.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:56:23

'That's right - A Year in Provenance by Peter Mayle.'

That's the one. A classic. I have read it twice!

zamantha Tue 29-Jan-13 14:59:54

Doubt statistic is true - women on the whole earn less.

Anti-feminism is a problem - it is self respecting to argue for your equality, those that aspire to inequality are everywhere but are not really anything to do with the feminist movement, they are uber captialists, unsorted people who think inequality is just how life is.

Sound people respect themselves and others including self-respecting feminists.

zamantha Tue 29-Jan-13 15:02:49

Not all of us want to hear about THATCHER - BRINGS BACK BAD MEMORIES.

claig Tue 29-Jan-13 15:03:42

'Did Mrs Thatcher ever work in business'

I presume she helped out in her father's shop, but I haven't read her biography, which is something for which I am amiss.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 15:20:05

My mum was a physiotherapist. When my mum was short on child care she often took me in to work. I know nothing about physiotherapy. (Except for frozen peas and raise the affected limb).

I suspect that Mrs T. spent more time with her books than in the shop, hence her academic success. On the other hand, like many politicians, she came from a politically active family. I suspect she was more influenced by her father being a local councillor and later mayor than his grocer's shop.

Also, marrying a millionaire at 26 would have been really helpful. If only more women would follow that example, there would definitely be more women in politics today.

Xenia Tue 29-Jan-13 15:29:26

There are a lot of Thatcher supporters. I found when I was clearing books this weekend a letter to me from her office in 1980 with a photograph - she wished me well in my university exams which was nice. I think I'd written (as a feminist) to congratulate her on the election victory. I was at university but too young to vote as I went a year young. I think people have forgotten how much good she did and how many of us owe her so much.

She certainly inspired many and it is a pity no main party has managed to drum up a single female leader since. Very poor show.

MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 15:49:46

merrymouse you are correct, she was influenced more by her fathers active role in politics and also her books rather than the business side of things. She did used to help out in the shop, that wouldn't have been a choice as everyone had to help. She had a very strict upbringing, very regimented and had to attend church every Sunday, sometimes twice.

Her being married to a very rich man allowed her to pursue her career in politics. She did go to University and gained a degree in science, something which she later regretted because her passion was politics.

Even though she was married to millionaire i don't think she had an easy ride in politics and certainly earned her way through. Her goal wasn't even to be the Tory leader nor prime minister, she didn't even think she would win the Tory leader spot, her aim was to just shake things up abit and it was just as much a suprise to her as it was to anyone else when she won.

merrymouse Tue 29-Jan-13 16:02:26

You can accuse Mrs T. of many things, but I don't think anybody would argue that she didn't work for her success.

(Although still confused about the ironing board - maybe they adjusted the price for inflation?)

ComposHat Tue 29-Jan-13 18:22:17

You can accuse Mrs T. of many things, but I don't think anybody would argue that she didn't work for her success

Marrying a millionaire who supported her whilst she hawked herself around as a prospective parliamentry candidate and paid for a full-time nanny didn't do her any harm either.

She was certainly no feminist and for the majority of her time in office, promoted no women to cabinet.

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Jan-13 19:44:21

moonlight How did she create the recession we have now?

Upthread I posted she deregulated the banks she brown nosed all the capitalists let them do what they wanted to do basically and look where that's got us.

Iam aware that it could've been undone by Mr Blair et al but why kill the golden goose? Till it kills itself of course. As the Queen said "Did nobody foresee the end of the bubble?"

LesBOFerables Tue 29-Jan-13 19:58:06

I'm not interested in discussing Margaret Thatcher, but I am very surprised that The Times invited the opinion of Netmums shock. I'm not surprised, however, that it was a bit rubbish and added nothing of value to the debate.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 29-Jan-13 21:43:34

why would i care for the opinion of someone who would still make a chocolate cake with cocoa and veg oil some 58 years after the end of rationing?

(date of end of rationing from wiki, i thought it was later)

Smudging Tue 29-Jan-13 21:57:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sukysue Tue 29-Jan-13 22:07:44

I should think Mary has been cossetted all her life and never been treated badly by anyone let alone men or society I am so glad I didn't bother to watch and btw she never eats much at the tastings her teeth won't allow it if you watch carefully.

AnyFucker Tue 29-Jan-13 22:27:35

Am I correct in thinking there was a programme entitled "The Mary Berry Story" on BBC2 tonight ?

What fortuitous timing some semi-controversial comments of hers found their way into the press this week then


bochead Wed 30-Jan-13 01:26:17

Margaret Thatcher put the luxury rate of VAT on tampons - nuff said.

Feminism hasn't yet achieved it's ideals in the UK. We'll know it has when:-

1. "I believe you" campaigns are no longer needed
2. Female circumcision and forced marriage no longer occur.
3. Single mothers stop being blamed by the popular press for all societies ills
4. Men have access to DV refuges, & associated support services, including those for rape victims. (male rape is grossly undereported).
5. Shared care is the default for babes off the breast, and non-payment of maintenance is treated as a criminal offence. The benefits and tax system is changed to reflect this.
6. Social mobility and equality of opportunity becomes a reality for both sexes.
7. Both sexes manage to obtain the same rate of pay for the same work at the same performance level every single time.
8.Men who abandon their offspring suffer the same degree of social finger pointing that women do.
9. We see grey haired women presenting the news nightly on our TV screens.
10. The ratio of women left to eke out a poverty stricken old age lowers to that of men who find themselves in the same position

Mary Berry should count her blessings and be damn grateful to those that campaigned before and alongside her own charmed life. Women still have a long way to go. We can celebrate the differences between the sexes while acknowledging that globally women are still more likely to be victims of oppression than the beneficeries of choice and opportunity at every stage of life. Infanticide or abortion due to gender is almost always female.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 30-Jan-13 07:58:33

Good list, bochead.

Xenia Wed 30-Jan-13 08:19:08

Yes, good list. I would probably add that to 8 that women who deny men contact with children after divorce are jailed - to make it more fair.

ppeatfruit Wed 30-Jan-13 10:21:56

I watched Most of Mary Berry's life on T.V. Yes anyfucker odd or coincidental that there was the publicity JUST before that programme.

But if you call being in hospital (some of it in open air even in winter shock) with polio for a long time at age 14 a "charmed life" then so be it. That's the reason for her misshapen hand and thin arm BTW.

Xenia I agree.

Gigondas Wed 30-Jan-13 11:15:44

Agree with ppeat -my definition of a charmed life doesn't include having life altering illness at 14 or losing a

kimorama Wed 30-Jan-13 11:29:59

Yes, the TV programme ahowed her as a lady of her time. A lot of women have moved on.

monica77798 Wed 30-Jan-13 11:31:13

"MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 14:38:49
monica77798 - so do you mean feminists don't want to work alongside men as their equal, they want men to work for them as their underpin? Basically reverse the roles so men aren't charge, women are?"

Yes exactly that. Feminists will complain about inequality when women are worse off, but gloat about it or ignore it when men are worse off. As an example, about 60% of uni students are female and this majority has been increasing every year for the past two decades. Rather than debating this inequality, feminists will focus on the few subjects like engineering where female students are a minority.

atthewelles Wed 30-Jan-13 12:05:29

Not only did Mary Berry suffer from polio and struggle academically at school. She also suffered the appalling tragedy of losing her teenage son in a car accident. How on earth can anyone say she's led a 'charmed life'?

ppeatfruit Wed 30-Jan-13 12:58:06

One interesting point about why some older women are not keen to be called feminists (even though they are in their lives) is that in the 70s some women were SO extreme and anti male in their feminism that they set up communes and forbade the member's baby sons being part of them.

It was given a lot of publicity at that time (probably too much) but I remember feeling very shocked by that.

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 16:25:01

ppeatfruit - that is a cop out, Thatcher isn't to blame for todays recession. Sure, she did deregulate the banks but that doesn't mean she made it ok or legal for the things that went on within the banking industry years after. You should be blaming the FSA for it's failure to regulate effectively and nip any corrsive culture in the bud. They had all the powers they needed to do the job properly, they just failed to do it. But then what do you expect when the majority of staff come from banking backgrounds.

The state of the Country and the world recession is bad, but if Blair and Brown hadn't screwed up the finances so badly and made alot of people very dependant (with a belief that they can have a middle class lifestyle doing 20 hours a week) then we may have been in a better position to fight the recession than we are now. Helping people isn't to throw money at them (which we cannot afford to sustane), it's to help them stand on their own two feet and help themselves (Thatchers message.)

Susan2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 16:29:45

She (berry) comes over as confused. I do feel the need to point out to Mardy shes hardly likely to mention equal voting rights since im pretty sure we already have those and it would be a leetle irrelevant.... sigh

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 16:37:36

monica77798 - i have to agree with you there. It's along the same lines as men looking at young, fit girls naked or going to a strip club are called dirty old pervs who are degrading women. But women looking at a young, fit guy or having a male stripper at a hen party is deamed as "a bit of fun" and "a bit of laugh." Both principles are the same but one is ok and the other is "wrong".

I think with Mary Berry, she did ok because the career she chose was classed as "womans" work anyway. Cooking and baking were what women did in those days, no self respecting man would have been seen holding a cake tin! So she wasn't really challenged in what she did because it wasn't threatening to men and she wasn't trying to compete with men. I do like Marys attitude towards men actually - she doesn't want to compete against them or "beat" them at anything, she just respects them and gets along with them and i think because of this she is repected and they get along with her back.

Is that not what we are trying to do - not compete against men but merely work alongside with them?

grovel Wed 30-Jan-13 16:43:04

I like that Moonlighter.

My MiL was just like Mary B. She would completely have agreed with the list above. She once told me that she was a feminist but not a Feminist. This distinction made perfect sense to her and I suspect MB would "get it" better than I did.

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 17:10:58

Compare Mary Berry with someone like Janet Street Porter, one a full on feminist and the other not. Yet i see Mary Berry as someone who has achieved far more in terms of equality than Janet has from my view.

Mary has enjoyed a career she loves with much success, has a lovely family, has been married 46 years and is a happy, joyful person who respects men and works happily alongside them.

Then i look at Janet who has been married 3 times, is always moaning about something or some unfairness she has come across, doesn't appear to actually like men and never seems happy about anything.

I know if i was on my death bed which one i would want to be.

Blistory Wed 30-Jan-13 17:26:46

Maybe MB is happier because she's only had to concern herself with her and her family. She enjoys the results of feminism but doesn't seem to have contributed much to women's rights. So she enjoys the advantages but won't recognise those advantages for being just that. Hmmmm.

Not a fan of JSP but at least she sees some of the issues and raises awareness.

It certainly makes for a harder life when you decide to speak out. I wouldn't condemn someone for staying quiet but I wouldn't praise them for it either.

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 17:44:34

Mary Berry has done plenty for women by just getting on with things. To me it is a far more powerful message to go out, get on with the job in hand and work alongside men happily than it is to constantly moan about how unfair everything is. There are the complainers then there are the doers who are the ones who actually get things done.

Thatcher was a doer not a complainer and look how much she got done. She didn't complain about how unfair men were, she showed them what she could do and did it.

expatinscotland Wed 30-Jan-13 17:56:57

Maybe Mary was too busy living, you know, that thing called working FT, which she has all her adult life, and raising a family and such likes to become politically active.

Blistory Wed 30-Jan-13 18:11:18

So because some women have advantages that allow them to benefit from the system, we should hold them up as examples ? And ignore that the system is broken and only able to be worked by a very few select women.

Do you know what ? I would have bothered be less if she'd said nothing. It's the fact that she implied that maternity leave is a negative. It happens to be a really huge area in terms of fixing the system and ensuring equality for women but when you get public personas voicing that it's somehow wrong, it reinforces the attitudes of those who don't want change.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 30-Jan-13 18:12:07

Compare one person with another person and one seems happier than the other and even though they are totally different people with different lives and different personalities, the happiness differential is down to their outspokenness or not about feminism.

What the actual what?

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 18:35:02

There is nothing wrong with fighting for equal pay in a job where both genders do the same work equally, there is nothing wrong with women going into roles that have been traditionally for men either. But the amount of complaining and whining that goes on when it would be more productive to just get on with the job. No man is going to complain if a woman is just getting on with the job in hand.

Maternity leave is going too far the other way. Six months was perfect, now it's turning into a whole year and you don't even have to tell your employer if you are coming back. That is hard on business, especially small ones. It seems some women don't want equality, they want the whole workforce to evolve around them and their choices.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 30-Jan-13 20:25:46

I get on with my job. In my spare time I advocate women's rights and I also call sexism at work if I see it, just as I would with any other ism.

The two aren't mutually exclusive, you know.

Incidentally, "maternity" leave can now be shared by both parents and the majority of children are born after a joint choice, rather than because of "women and their choices"

Xenia Wed 30-Jan-13 20:33:15

I have always thought that long maternity leaves are a tool to keep women down, ensure sexism in a marriage and destroy female careers. I am sure the fact I have had such a wonderful family life and career is because I chose to take 2 weeks of holiday and return full time to work. Best of all worlds. I agree with Moonlighter.

I don't think we need be too concerned about more women graduating than men as by the time women hit the age of having babies they marry men who force them to stay home or put their career on a second track or who were brought up by housewives so they expect not to work much so that despite being 60% of graduates by the time they get to their thirties and 40s women make up about 15 - 20% of very senior roles. The 60% graduate rate and 50% in my day 30 years ago has not filtered through. If it had worked then 50% the cabinet, boards and the like would be female as women may age made up about 50% of graduates. In other words women doing better at university has not stopped them choosing to go part time, work for pin money and devote their lives to housework, keeping a man happy and doing most of the cleaning and childcare whilst he goes out into the big world and earns the real money.

We do have the nice recent statistic though that women like I am who set up their own businesses and do well now out earn men who do that. That does give me some comfort and in those cases you can simply be the best int h e Uk at what you do which is what I try to be and it does not matter if a male or female colleague promotes you or whatever as you own, rather than are a paye slave.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 30-Jan-13 20:45:44

How do you feel about shared post-baby leave, Xenia?

merrymouse Wed 30-Jan-13 20:57:20

To be fair to Janet and Mary, one is a journalist and going on about stuff is her job. The other is a cookery writer and presenter and that is her job.

They both just do the work for which they are paid.

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 21:51:33

xenia You have made some good points although on some parts, do you think some of those women who didn't filter through maybe chose to stay with their children out of choice? I mean lots of women in careers don't feel the same about their career after they have their babies because they have a mind shift and feel their priorities are different? Not all women of course but alot do feel different about life, jobs and priorities after children.

MerlotAndMe Wed 30-Jan-13 21:54:04

Enjoy being looked after?!

EVEN supposing everybody wanted that and only that, it does smack of 'I'm alright jack'. I wouldn't mind being 'looked after' occasionally but things like equal pay and tougher sentences for sexual offenders and more women in the cabinet and various other things matter a bit more. God love her. She can roll a roulade though, I'll give her that.

Xenia Thu 31-Jan-13 10:44:26

Yes, some people do choose to stay home out of choice. Many men hate their work, nasty boss, long hours, loads of travelling and if told you can stay home and be your own boss in effect at home and your wife will work would jump at the chance. Men are rarely given that choice in the same way women are.

Most people are not happy to work particularly hard or do not like their work enough to do it to the extent you need to succeed at most things and this applies to some men too. However we still have most women earning less than their husbands as women tend to marry older men who are a bit better educated and earn more. That may be changing but for now if he is on £60k and she £25k because he picked a better career or is a bit older you ccan be pretty sure who will stay at home. If instead she is on £100k they probably won't want to lose that standard of living when a baby comes. Women very often do not choose to marry men who are much worse than they are still. It is a key reason for women not doing better as they move into their 30s and 40s - they are the ones with the lower pay so they are the ones who sacrifice career and plenty then go on to regret that too.

I would like us to get beyond women subconsciously marrying good providers and men pretty women whose career doesn't matter.

MoonLighter Thu 31-Jan-13 16:23:34

I see what you are saying Xenia and i agree that men should have more choice in whether they want a stay at home role in the same way women do.

It is just such a difficult thing to comment on because there are so many shades of grey inbetween the black and white picture. The scenario you are wrote about is true for some but not for all. Women who want a career can go for their goal and achieve what they want to achieve. The draw back is when they do decide to start a family, it is tougher on women then men and it always will be because women are the ones who carry and give birth to the baby. That and maternity leave puts a big stigma on a womans career.

Whatever happens in later years when the child get bigger can be worked out to what works best for the family but to start with during that first period of pregnacy and birth, women don't have the choice because men can't do it for them. The point i am trying to make is when a man announces in the workplace that he and his wife/partner are having a baby the only thing that will effect that mans job during that time is a couple of weeks paternity leave (although now with the maternity share it could be longer.) Whereas when a woman goes in and announces she is pregnant it effects so much more. There is potential morning sickness/time off, appointments/time off, risk assessment with potential moving her job around if her condition is too unsafe/risky to do her currant role then there is maternity leave plus all the little things that could happen/change/go wrong inbetween. Maternity leave in itself puts women to a disadvantage because it's ok to give more and more rights but it ends up being counterproductive because it makes employers not want to employ women of a certain age, especially as a woman can leave the employer in limbo by not telling them if they intend to come back or not.

I know you said you went to work 2 weeks after birth and i completely respect your choice on that. But not many women do want to go back to work that soon and alot enjoy the time spent with their babies and after birth, alot of women's mindset changes so the career they were very happy with before doesn't look so appealing anymore.

I also don't think most women have the same mindset as men because that is just the way we are made. I am all for women working, i think women in careers is a very positive thing so don't get me wrong in that. There does seem to be a stigma attached to women who choose to stay at home with their children these days almost like they are letting the side down if they do.

Family life has broken down and the results aren't making people happier they are making family life harder and more miserable. I don't understand why?

MerlotAndMe Thu 31-Jan-13 20:16:21

Men could choose to stay at home if they chose a different kind of wife.

I think men subconsciously want to earn more, they want the power and the control and the final say. They also just prioritise a woman's looks way above what she earns. That's the status quo that most men are the most comfortable with... also, even modern, liberal men are statistically likely to be paid more than the woman doing the same job 3 desks away.

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