to wonder if women

(105 Posts)
Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 19:56:06

will ever, ever be truly equal.

Because sometimes if seems as though we still live in a patriarchal society, that the glass ceiling is still there in the workplace and that some men (and indeed some women) are guilty of the most outrageous attitudes towards women, work, parenthood.

It makes me sad and angry in equal measure.

Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 20:00:42

<coughs sadly, but also angrily>

Grennie Tue 28-Jan-14 20:02:00

I don't know. I hope so, but I am not totally convinced.

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 20:02:51

I think we will get closer and closer, but the fact remains that only women gestate, labour and lactate. Even getting that down to the only difference, and medicating/managing pregnancy to be as undisruptive as possible and the recovery as quick as possible, it will still be a difference.

Because even if men end up as likely to take a family career break, they will still never be pregnant, and that tiny difference (though defining and fundamental) will cause the 0.0001% inequality.

TalisaMaegyr Tue 28-Jan-14 20:04:17

We will never be equal. Because it is ingrained in some people that women are inferior, and judging by some of the misogyny and chauvinism that I come across in life, it's no different now than in was 50 years ago. Not really.

Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 20:06:03

But to be equal men and women don't have to be the same.

If pregnancy, breasfeeding and child rearing were seen as just as important as working in a job, that would help. If time away from work to have children wasn't seen as being a negative. If workplaces were more flexible.

And that's just one element of the whole unequal shitstorm.

Poopoopeedooo Tue 28-Jan-14 20:07:11

I've been thinking along those lines a lot recently . Mostly people- male and female- just go from day to day not really thinking or questioning much at all.... The vast majority don't want to rock the boat and just follow the path of least resistance, fitting in with whatever society expects of or projects onto them. It's very sad and frustrating and so much of the crap attitude comes from women themselves! I sit at school gatherings and watch open-mouthed as mothers drape their "princesses " in pink pink and ... Errr... Pink and reinforce all the same old crippling stereotypes all over again. Actually.... I think this generation may even be going backwards!! With all todays incredible marketing going on now- our kids are gender-stereotyped in the womb!
I hope somebody will come along and say it ain't so, but I feel very alone in a world of ignorant sheep.... Baaaaaa

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 20:07:24

True. But I based my answer on the fact that there will always be bigoted arseholes, who will pick on any difference. Reducing difference reduces discrimination, but only so far.

Bubblegoose Tue 28-Jan-14 20:09:00

I think we were closer 17 years ago when we had a new Labour government who instigated better SMP and women's services etc. The last ten years have been a bit grim, with the rise of sexualised images in the media and some pretty shitty role models for young women.

I don't think we're close but I'd like to think it will happen one day. I like that stuff like the Everyday Sexisim Project is raising awareness and giving us a reference point which we can work from.

Bubblegoose Tue 28-Jan-14 20:09:42

Poopoo - I totally agree.

SybilRamkin Tue 28-Jan-14 20:10:09

I very much doubt it. From an employment perspective, you miss a year out of your career for every child, and the employer has to fund maternity leave and get cover for when you're not there.

Even the most fair-minded employer would find it hard not to discriminate against a woman of childbearing age, particularly if she's newly married, or has only got one child so far etc.

I wish it was different, but unless men start to take responsibility for 50% of childcare (and thus 50% paternity/maternity leave) then we're doomed.

RandyRudolf Tue 28-Jan-14 20:11:49

I think about this a lot. I think about life has changed in the past 100 years for women in the UK and I think 'yeah, we're making progress, slowly'. But then I look outside the UK at the bigger picture...the strength of the Taliban, FGM and so on and I just feel we're actually going backwards not forwards. It's grim if you think about it too much.

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jan-14 20:13:44

I don't think that there ever will be equality for women.

Take the issue of equal pay and opportunity at work

I know it is controversial view but actually for every woman who loses out on promotion and pay rises at work there is a man who gains and often there is a woman at home with children who benefits from that indirectly as her DH/DP gets paid more than he should AND she has a better standard of living as a result.

Does that women at home really care about the women who lost out on pay and promotion? No of course not. The woman at home has enjoyed a benefit. Only if she herself tries to return to work does she really realise how stacked against her the odds are.

Society accepts its OK for women to be paid less and to make women redundant first because society does not want men unemployed. The structure of society likes women at home and men at work.

its a very deep societal belief - so deep its almost subliminal.

cheminotte Tue 28-Jan-14 20:14:35

I don't think so no. The number of women represented on boards is growing sooo slowly for example and yet no one has the guts to introduce a quota to force companies to actively support women who want to progress.

Joysmum Tue 28-Jan-14 20:18:52

I don't think we'll be equal either. I too think most of the open bigotry comes from other women, more than men.

I remember going through CV's to interview for a position in the company I worked for and my boss questioned my first choice because she had a young child (she mentioned time off for child illness) and would most likely want another. shock

It was my first openly sexist confrontation and was thanks to another woman, not a man.

Thinking of things from a business point of view, generally aren't as reliable and are dearer to employ because of time off for childbearing and rearing. Sad, but true.

Poopoopeedooo Tue 28-Jan-14 20:19:13

We'll always be biologically/ physiologically different and hurray for that, but wouldn't it be nice if women were revered and respected, oh and REMUNERATED!!,for their vital role and feminine traits rather than taken advantage of, dominated and belittled? Imagine a benign matriarchal society.... sighs wistfully

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jan-14 20:24:54

I used to think quotas were a bad idea but frankly I do support them now. Its the only way to get a strong cohort of women at the top of business.

I know several women who are extremely well qualified and desperately trying to get non Exec positions on boards but continually blocked. Without non Exec experience it is hard to get offered a main board Executive position.

We could start at 10% minimum and go up 5% per annum.

Also limit board membership to one board per person. Stops cronyism among men and stops a few 'acceptable' well connected women being hired by multiple boards. We don't want the same small group of women cropping up on multiple boards across the land as currently happens. We need a large number of women gaining board positions.

Dahlen Tue 28-Jan-14 20:28:29

A lot of it is about changing perception rather than any real evidence that women are mostly to employ.

For every woman who produces a baby and needs maternity leave, there is a father, be he a sperm donor or an actively involved parent. Children are created by two adults, one of whom is male. While children take rather than give when young, they are the adults of tomorrow and society needs them. Rather than see maternity leave as women costing money, we need to see maternity leave as society facilitating men and women (i.e. society) to reproduce the next generation of society.

Research indicates that employers who operate family-friendly polices tend to experience greater company loyalty, gaining staff who will go the extra mile rather than work to rule, precisely because they appreciate not being given hassle about taking a day off to cover childcare for a sick child.

But there is a vested interest in not promoting that viewpoint too strongly.

Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 20:29:28

<bursts into tears>

Jesus.

It's Not OK.

Poopoopeedooo Tue 28-Jan-14 20:30:31

I disagree that quotas are a good idea- yes it will change the figures, but will it change the attitudes? Won't every woman in a high position be looked upon as somebody put there to make up numbers rather than that she got there on her own merit?
Affirmative action or whatever you want to label it, causes unfairness, less qualified people being prompted above better candidates and a lot of resentment and disrespect in the workplace! Not doing women any favours IMO- just allowing a few to earn better money but a lot less respect!

Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 20:31:15

Research indicates that employers who operate family-friendly polices tend to experience greater company loyalty, gaining staff who will go the extra mile rather than work to rule, precisely because they appreciate not being given hassle about taking a day off to cover childcare for a sick child.

Do you have any specific research to back this up?

I'd like it, preferably in hardback to ram up my bosses misogynistic backside <reasonable>

Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 20:32:35

I think you're spot on about attitudes poopoo - we need women to have an equal share because the playing field is level, not because employers have been told they have to.

Poopoopeedooo Tue 28-Jan-14 20:33:25

Err- promoted, not prompted! Oops

Dahlen Tue 28-Jan-14 20:37:31

This isn't the study I was thinking of, but it's a starting point.

PortofinoRevisited Tue 28-Jan-14 20:38:22

I was well chuffed when my employer very recently employed a female CEO. Double chuffed as the company is part state owned, and technology is still dominated by men.

Dahlen Tue 28-Jan-14 20:39:27

This might be more authoritative.

smile

Poopoopeedooo Tue 28-Jan-14 20:44:30

My theory.... Ahem, clears throat importantly and stands up tall at 5ft1.....is that we will never be as "successful" in the world as it is now and measured by the current ideas of what "success" actually is, because, as that bleaty and patronising song says," this is a maaaaan's world". It's all set up by men, for men. Women are doing amazingly well in western societies,all things considered, but "equality" is impossible when standards are set by masculine ideals and values. We should actually stop trying to compete with men on their "playing fields" and set up our own parallel systems.... That work just as well to achieve the end goal but just in a feminine way. Personally I tend to prefer working in a more feminine supportive workplace with less competition and more cooperation ( in my experience- obviously that's not always the case!) women need to stop feeling they need to compete with each other and go back to working together for a common good :-) that's where our strength and power lie.
Ok I'm rambling.... It's just a vague theory of mine!

Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 20:45:30

Thank you Dahlen, that's really helpful.

It may stop me becoming incandescent with rage and being labelled 'an overly emotional women' when I have some further discussions with my leadership team.

So what can we do about this situation?

DoJo Tue 28-Jan-14 20:49:56

If it makes you feel any better (and believe me, it doesn't make me feel any better!) I think that it isn't even really about men or women, it's about money and power. The fact remains that the centuries of oppression of all kinds of minorities has lead to a white male ruling class who don't give a shit about anyone of any gender, so long as their position isn't threatened.

I recently read that the 85 richest people in the world control as much money as the poorest half of the population of the rest of the world. That sort of inequality needs to be eradicated before any significant inroads can be made into everything else, because it is the attitudes and desires of those 85 people that trickle down through the layers of society and end up taking their toll on the most vulnerable and needy. Women the world over will never be equal as long as they are living in societies where they are not valued, and inheritance and likemindedness among the vastly wealthy insures that things change much slower at the top than they do at the bottom.

anothernumberone Tue 28-Jan-14 20:54:28

Tbh I think society needs to change both for men and women. I think modern western society generally is not serving either particularly well. Both my DH and I work full time and sorting out kids in this context is challenging. I dream of Scandinavia but with a little more choice for women who prefer to sah.

DrDre Tue 28-Jan-14 20:56:02

I work for a small business (four staff two of whom are the employees). I am a bloke btw. If a woman took a year off on maternity leave we would be in deep financial trouble - having to pay maternity leave and employ someone else at the same time. For this reason, if a hypothetical owner of a small business was considering employing two equally qualified people one of whom is a woman of child bearing age, I imagine they would go with the other option pretty much all of the time. That thought will almost certainly enter the owner's head. I know it is wrong and grossly unfair, but if businesses have to absorb this cost then that is what will happen.
Possible solutions could include making maternity (parental) leave equally claimable between men and women. But I imagine if this did occur it would still be mostly women who claimed it, partly for biological reasons, so it wouldn't affect the thought processes of someone considering employing someone.
I therefore think, that for this and reasons given above, that women are a long way from being equal in the workplace.

PortofinoRevisited Tue 28-Jan-14 20:56:32

I am vaguely interested in the offspring of those rich ones - there must be daughters. I think of Bernie Ecclestone's daughters and they only spring up in my mind for excessive house expenditure. Sad that if you have the world at your feet, the best education money can buy, and you only reach my consciousness via the money you spend on houses and shoes.

PortofinoRevisited Tue 28-Jan-14 20:58:56

DrDre, but SMP is paid by the government and parental leave IS being opened up so that men can take half or more.

Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 21:17:59

I wonder if it is about what society deems as valuable.

It seems that women so things deemed as less valuable.

I feel very, very powerless to change things.

PortofinoRevisited Tue 28-Jan-14 21:25:43

Have you discovered the FWR topic? Or looked at the Let Toys Be Toys campaign? Or joined the Fawcett Society? Or subscribed to some of the most excellent blogs?

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jan-14 21:27:50

DrDre - yes as Portofino says the whole SMP thing is a specious argument. The Govt pay it back to the employer.

I often wonder why employers just don't employ more women as a way of strengthening their negotiating position with men pushing for pay rises?

I know one employer who successfully got rid of a lot of men who were always pushing for pay rises and quickly hired a lot of VERY good women without needing to hike the pay bill. You just have to say no to men and let them leave and hire every good woman who walks through the door who is prepared to accept that pay (and any good men of course). The organisation is run by a woman. She just tells the men to stop pushing for pay rises that are unwarranted and treats people equally and fairly. It really works.

Its mad how many employers cut off their nose to spite their face by discriminating against women and hiring less good men at higher pay.

Dahlen Tue 28-Jan-14 21:33:41

When I had my DC I worked in an almost identical company set-up DreDre. Despite profits being tight, my employer paid be 100% pay during my maternity leave because he wanted to keep me on board. I was good at my job and a lot cheaper than hiring a man who would need training.

PortofinoRevisited Tue 28-Jan-14 21:35:46

Not quite sure what I think anout that MoreBeta. You've spun it as a positive thing, but what you mean is that MEN deserve and ask for more money, where as they can happily get away with paying the women less, so it is not an entirely good thing that they ditched the men and employed "cheaper" women, surely?

Coldlightofday Tue 28-Jan-14 22:30:40

Yes to toys be toys, don't know what FWR is but yes to Fawcett society.

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jan-14 22:52:34

Porto - what I mean was the men were told NO and they left and they then just employed women who were better on the same wage. They were good women underpaid elsewhere - hence easy to attract. Not a perfect solution but if more employers did this the wage gap would pretty quick disappear.

Not sure why employers don't just say NO to men more often.

ukatlast Tue 28-Jan-14 23:35:48

I think the only way it could happen is if everyone worked part-time - that way childcare could be shared by partners equally and both would have the best of both worlds with more leisure time once children were older.

Failing that having the womb/boobs/hormones I want to be there for the kids early on whatever my prior education level/career status.

wobblyweebles Wed 29-Jan-14 02:39:58

Do men not want to stay home for the year with each baby?

Or is it that women do want to?

I think it's more of the second than the first.

MyBaby1day Wed 29-Jan-14 06:49:49

Maybe someday in the future, I REALLY hope so but no, it doesn't see like yet. I LOVE strong women such as Karren Brady! smile

MyBaby1day Wed 29-Jan-14 07:09:42

seem

I met a man the other day whose baby is 6ish months and who is about to go on paternity leave. He says whenevrr he mentions this to people they assume he has had another child in the meantime grin (me included I have to say, or I was at least confused)

Welshwabbit Wed 29-Jan-14 07:40:56

In fact if a business pays out less than 45K in employer's and employees' NI, the employer can claim back 103% of statutory maternity pay - presumably to assist with the cost of recruiting cover.

ikeaismylocal Wed 29-Jan-14 07:51:20

I think that women in the UK get a much better deal than men. Women are more often entitled to parental leav, men get a poxy 2 weeks ( if their lucky) women usually get the majority of time with their children if there is a relationship breakdown, I don't know anyone in the UK who has a 50/50 arrangement for their children after a seperation. I have 2 friends who have moved across the country, taking their children away from their ex ( who had no issues in terms of being a parent) just because they wanted to be closer to family.

Women don't earn as much as men, but men get far less time with their children. What's more important? Children, or money? If the answer is money it's probably best you don't have children.

I live in Sweden which is one of the most equal countries in the world. My dp is entitled to 9 months paternity leave ( I'm entitled to 9 months maternity leave) if we split up dp would be automatically have ds 50% of the time, I wouldn't be allowed to move away ( rightly so) if our child is ill dp is entitled to full pay to stay at home to look after ds, if I'm ill whilst on maternity leave dp is entitled to full pay to look after ds, when ds was in hospital with bronchiolitis we were both entitled to payed time off so we could live at the hospital with ds.

Are UK women willing to give up half their maternity leave? Are UK women willing to allow their children to live with their ex half the time?

The real injustice in my opinion is the way men are sidelined in the family.

NearTheWindmill Wed 29-Jan-14 08:04:03

Well I am equal.

I had my own flat at 22, my own house at 27, I spent about 15 years on a city trading floor earning six figures. Got married had two children, had 8 years off because I had earned enough at that point to be able to afford it. Went back to work when the youngest started school, admittedly started at the bottom again but have a second career and am 2nd most senior in my department. My last two bosses have been female.

Women need to focus on portfolio careers and accept that they are different - who would want to be a man.

FWIW my grandmother was equal - her husband considered her to be so and she worked (she was the one who ran the farm while grandfather ran another business), my mother worked all her life having at one point a successful small business and then ran the admin side of my stepfather's large business. I have no examples of women who think they are not equal in my growing up. My grandmother would be a 101 this year and come to think of it I think her mother was pretty much an equal to her husband too.

I'm not even sure if I'm a feminist.

Bohemond Wed 29-Jan-14 08:23:29

My experience is similar to Near's.
And FWIW I was shocked by the number of women that said they would prefer not to work on a recent thread.
In some ways we have more choices than men.

Faverolles Wed 29-Jan-14 09:03:23

I was the only woman at my workplace for the majority of the time I was there.
Maternity leave was a nightmare, as the company had to replace me, train the new person up and accept that my colleagues would have to pick up the slack until they achieved decent productivity levels.
I returned part time, and even though, during my 22 hours there, I was more productive and versatile than my colleagues, I was treated like a slacker, like I'd let the company down.
I left when my third dc was born (my boss, sadly also my father) barely spoke to me during that time, as I was clearly deliberately letting everyone down hmm

Where I live, there are many small businesses, and it is definitely a man's world.
People I know who employ people do try to avoid women of child bearing age, because despite smp being paid back, in a small business, this doesn't cover the upheaval of having to replace someone temporarily.

I left work demotivated, feeling worthless and dreading the thought of having to run the gauntlet of working again.

I know many have positive experiences of work and maternity leave, but I know too many who had similar experience as me, who felt completely disrespected and put down because they dare to have a baby.

Until this changes (and I don't see how it can, as the idea of the little wife at home with the baby seems very ingrained), men will continue to see themselves as the important breadwinners, bringing home the bacon as the woman does the majority of the child rearing and house work.

beta, I'm wondering how true that is, about a man's pay often going back to a woman at home. I can see you were saying 'often' because obviously we can exclude single mums/dads, lesbian parents, etc.- but even in a 'trad' set up, don't most couples both work? How common is it these days for a woman to have children and never work again?

Sorry, side point I guess.

HazleNutt Wed 29-Jan-14 10:12:08

Employers will be reluctant to employ women who have or might have children, until there is the same risk that a male employee will want to go on parental leave or stay home with a sick child.
The opportunity to take a part of the leave is a start, but I don't think it will change the expectations and attitudes. It did not in Sweden, until it was changed to "use it or lose it" - interesting article here:
www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/world/europe/10iht-sweden.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

traininthedistance Wed 29-Jan-14 10:32:52

The SMP component of maternity pay is claimed back from the government, so for businesses who only pay SMP the financial cost of maternity leave is nil (apart from associated costs in admin, finding maternity cover etc.)

Agree with MoreBeta about quotas - I have sat on several interview panels for senior jobs (CEO/Board level - a lot more senior than my own position!) And wow, what a load of mediocre senior level men there are out there - you rarely come across a good one. They are near-uniformly complacent, not that bright, smug and over-promoted and their "success" has been down mainly to money, lots of the right contacts, being "the right sort of person" and good luck. (I would even go as far to say that many wouldn't make it in the door for entry-level positions if they were up against today's hungrier, more hard-working and far better qualified young people.) Honestly, after seeing how board-level appointments work I no longer have any problem with quotas. The sheer mediocrity of the male candidates at that level and the old boys' network stranglehold on those kinds of jobs makes me think that this excuse that no-one will take women seriously if they are there because of quotas is just that - a very convenient excuse, that women also like to buy into because it sounds good. The smaller number of women around at that level (and below) are nearly always far better qualified, sharper and better than the majority of the men, and have worked far harder to get there). And even a few mediocre women on boards would only be as mediocre as the majority of the men on them, to be honest. It's hard to see how women applicants could be worse than most men for non-exec / exec positions to be honest - apart from not having the right connections with Tim also from Oundle back in the day who was at Balliol with Nigel and plays golf with the chairman, and so on.

NeartheWindmill it's easy to see how someone in that position would consider themselves equal (but I'm not sure why that means you might not be a feminist - you don't want to be equal? Feminism is an equality-based project, so if you believe you are equal by default you're a feminist, no?) There are only a few fortunate women in your position, however. Would your office cleaner be able to say the same?

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 10:43:28

I have been the main earner in all my relationships and I certainly consider myself equal. However, I still fell foul of sexism once I had DC.

Near and Bohemond you should be rightly proud of yourselves, but I hope you recognise that you occupy a very unusual situation not just for women but for people. In the UK you are in the top 25% of earners if you earn £35,000 per year. The average salary is £26,000 but that's inflated artificially because of high salaries. The typical salary for a full time worker in the UK is £21,000. so far, that's just capitalism and has nothing to do with gender politics. Capitalism requires a pyramid structure of wages. It is impossible for the majority of people to be high earners.

With that in mind, do you see how difficult it is for the majority of women to return to work after children? Childcare costs for one child for a parent working full-time hours can cost well over half of that typical salary. And that's assuming 9-5 hours. If you want to work antisocial hours or shift patterns, it could easily cost more because you might need a nanny, need to pay for hours you don't need to ensure the flexibility to cover your shifts, pay for overnighters to prevent your child being woken up at 4am for a 5am drop off so you can start work at 7am, etc. (Even assuming you can find childcare to suit, which is not a given outside any of the major cities.)

If mum and dad are both on a typical wage or less, it can be prohibitive once housing costs and other living expenses are deducted, and if you're on NMW your childcare costs may be greater than one parent's salary. And while it's all well and good saying that the mother is liable only for half of those costs, in practise the result is that joint wages - childcare = less money than one parent simply not working but having no childcare costs. Given a choice of keeping their hand in their job (most people have jobs, not careers), or facing a situation where there isn't enough money to eat, it's a no brainer for many families.

All the research shows that the gender pay gap is really quite negligible up until the point women have children. Then it kicks in big time. This is why. Due to maternity legislation, the pattern of mum off work caring for children is set, so when a family realises it's more cost effective to keep a parent at home, it's nearly always mum who ends up in that role because she's already started in it.

I would like to see decent paternity rights for men with a use it or lose it qualifier. Again, the research shows huge benefits surrounding fathers who are actively involved in their child's care when young. One of these is the continuation of an active role throughout the child's life even if the parents separate. One of the reasons some men lose out on contact time with their DC post separation is because they weren't actually that involved on a practical day-to-day basis before the split.

grumpyoldbat Wed 29-Jan-14 10:46:55

I'm afraid I can't see women gaining true equality. 20 years ago I was told that science probably wasn't the best choice of subject for a girl because it would be too difficult and involved maths. Fast forward to today and dd's class had a lesson on men's jobs and women's jobs angry. I had hoped things would have changed but they haven't.

As for men being sidelined in the family DH is a SAHP. I on the other hand am studying full time to retrain (40hr/week on placement + assignments), working part time and do about 75% of the housework so really can't see how he has it bad. Mind you there's a queue of people ready to tell me what a bad mum I am for 'abandoning' my dc.

Women definitely have to work harder for the same level of recognition if they're lucky. Quite often their contribution will be dismissed as worthless IME.

traininthedistance Wed 29-Jan-14 10:54:21

OMG grumpyoldbat I would be making a serious complaint to the governors and LEA about a lesson on men's jobs and women's jobs!!! That's awful!

HazleNutt Wed 29-Jan-14 10:55:12

grumpy a lesson on men's and women's jobs?? So what was said, women should work as nurses and men as doctors? shock

learnasyougo Wed 29-Jan-14 11:01:08

Dahlen says exactly what I think. well put.

cheminotte Wed 29-Jan-14 11:02:32

train and morebeta - great you agree on the quotas. Thought I was going to get flamed for that. Maybe the first few women will get comments but in a generation no one will care. The mantra of women will succeed if only they work hard enough obviously isn't true.

NeoFaust Wed 29-Jan-14 11:05:32

Men and women will never be equal because while men can perhaps learn to see women as human beings, women still judge men as human 'doings'.

I used to be a lot more feminist until I saw the thread about how important a partner's earnings were. Dripping with gender entitlement.

I'm a person, not a job and not a pay-packet.

Latara Wed 29-Jan-14 11:18:10

I don't think there is true equality because women are constantly judged on their appearance by the media in a way that men never are.

We have old men who are still working in the public eye when women are forced to retire in case their ageing looks upset people.

ikeaismylocal Wed 29-Jan-14 11:38:27

The point with the paternity leave in Sweden is that it is the mans leave, he can choose to give some of it ( not all, he must take 3 months or those months are lost) to his partner if for example the couple wish to breastfeed longer than 9 months, the mums can also give the dadssome of their leave.

The fathers have equal rights to their children right from day 1, they are welcomed in the hospital rather than being banned from spending time with their new child, they have equal parental leave and equal rights to paid time off to look after ill children.

Do those of you concerned about women earning less really think that that is a greater injustice than the way the UK treats fathers?

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 12:37:19

I don't see that they should be set in competition against each other at all. Surely improving paternity rights is a first step towards equalising women's pay?

Pigsmummy Wed 29-Jan-14 12:42:46

I work for a company where women earn the same as men. Also had a female CEO for part of our firm and my GM is a (lovely) lady. So work wise I feel equal.

However domestically and parent wise I don't. I envy my DH getting up and getting himself ready for work without a thought of the rest of the house, he doesn't even feed the cat. The planning, shopping, worrying is all down to me.

ikeaismylocal Wed 29-Jan-14 12:45:52

But are women willing to let their partners have half of their maternity leave? Are women who are seperated from their child's father willing to let the father have the children 50% of the time ( and therefore have no financial support) are women willing to agree to stay living in the same area as their ex until their children turn 18. In my experience most women are not willing to do these things yet they still want equal pay.

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 13:01:53

Doesn't that depend on the father as well.

When I had my DC the agreed plan was that their father (self-employed so no issues about paternity leave, and I was the breadwinner paying all the bills so no worry about money either) would be primary carer. Quite apart from the fact that his 'care' was very haphazard anyway and while I was working from home (breastfeeding) would often result in him 'nipping out' for several hours when we split up he refused point blank to have them at all as he didn't see why he should do anything for my benefit!

In the UK 60% of single mothers get nothing from their DC's fathers. Of those using the CSA 45% receive £5 or less. I get nothing. I also have full responsibility of the childcare costs, to which he also contributes nothing. In the UK most single mothers would be significantly better off financially if their DC's fathers had the children 50% of the time even if all maintenance stopped. And that's before you even consider the likely improvement in their earning potential resulting from being better placed to commit to work.

I would not let my X have my DC now because he has since assaulted one of them and is barred from unsupervised access, but when we first split up I offered him 50/50 access and pushed him as hard as I could to take it because I then believed it was in the DC's best interests. Most mothers love their DC more than they hate their X I know lots of women who hate sending off their DC to their Xs (no abuse, just relationships breakdown) but they do it because they believe their children's needs come before their own - even though in many cases the Xs often cancel or change things.

I'm not going to deny the existence of women who use their DC as pawns. I don't think their existence is any higher than the number of men who mess about with contact. I think the number of fathers who don't pay is a bigger statistic than either group.

Discounting situations in which abuse applies (and it features slightly higher in the single parent demographic than it does the population overall), I think most mothers would go with 50/50. I know I would and I know all my other single mother friends would. The only exceptions are those where the child's welfare is genuinely a consideration or the father has buggered off completely.

Bohemond Wed 29-Jan-14 13:03:47

Dahlen yes, I do recognise that I am lucky and, like Near, work in an industry where pay is high (I would argue that I sacrificed a lot in my younger days to get here though).

But I do believe that we create some of these issues for ourselves through our own choices about how we want to live our lives and in the relationships we have. It is not all imposed by the 'patriarchy'.

Hence the recent thread about the number of women not wanting to go back to work and Neo's ref to the thread about how important a partners earnings are. And why does Pigs husband not give a thought to the rest of the house like she does despite working full time.

Ikea is right - do we want to give up the benefits we have for absolute parity. I am not sure we do. I like it that I have a choice to stay at home or to be the main earner and there is no judgement whatever I choose.

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 13:05:49

Interestingly, very few fathers push for 50/50 and it's not often given because the courts in the UK tend to award contact that reflects the current status quo of caring duties in a bid to reduce the stress placed on a child adapting to a new situation.

Being in full time work is not a barrier to being a hands-on parent. I know because I am a single parent who works full time and I do it all - homework, feeding, bathing, talking, cooking. There is no reason at all why a father with limited paternity leave cannot be just as involve as I am.

I want to see paternity rights increased because I want to see more fathers become primary carers.

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 13:16:47

Bohemond - no one makes choices in a vacuum. We are all culturally conditioned to some degree.

Just yesterday I contributed to a thread discussing the potential harm to children under three placed in childcare. Who do you think is judged on a macro scale for that? It's not the fathers. Culturally, women are held to higher account for their children's wellbeing than are men, and this is still pushed quite aggressively.

And while I agree that it's wrong so many women assume the domestic role without question (I'd make wifework compulsory reading), take a look around you culturally and think about the last time you saw a "father and baby" magazine, or a man's magazine discussing the merits of different cleaners, check out the Mitchell & Webb spoof advert for a satirical but accurate summation of how domestic adverts are aimed at women, not men. It all serves to reinforce the role.

It takes fortunate circumstances, parents who question things, or well-educated women to cut through the crap. 80% of housework is still done by women according to most surveys.

And you wouldn't have to give up your choice. You can still make it, but you have to make it with the other person who created your child with you. I think that's perfectly reasonable as long as legislation protects a period of time for women to make a full physical recovery from childbirth and establish breastfeeding.

ikeaismylocal Wed 29-Jan-14 13:18:31

I think that fathers in the UK possibly are so uninvolved ( often, not always) which then leads to the mother getting primary responsibility of the dc after a break up because the message right from day 1 is that being a father is not important, dads are sent home from the hospital, given a tiny amount of time to bond with their young child, people often work long hours with short holidays. The message is in my opinion that dads don't matter.

The only reason I can see for unequal paternity leave is breastfeeding, but the breastfeeding rates in the UK are so low anyway it wouldn't be an issue for most families.

Bohemond Wed 29-Jan-14 13:18:46

Dahlen I am interested in the response to the question you have posed re 50/50. I also agree that the authorities have failed catastrophically in what I see as a duty to force fathers to pay for their children. Quite possibly the patriarchy in action but it doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar in Parliament.

As an aside, and recognising that there are many exceptions, I do sometimes want to shout at my screen asking why, when we have had pretty much full control of our own fertility for more than 40 years, some obviously intelligent women choose to procreate with such losers.

The above is a general point from years of reading Mumsnet and is not in response to your situation Dahlen

Waltonswatcher1 Wed 29-Jan-14 13:22:44

At our middle school each term the kids are graded for effort and behaviour. The top five girls and top five boys from each year group get an award and cake with the head. Sounds ok in theory BUT, as the girls mainly score better they are often not an award winner but have scored far better than the male award winners.
The boys achieve less but get the praise.
I think this teaches girls that even in school you have to put up with sexism and strive much harder than males.
It's a flawed award system that stinks, the head refuses to see the discrimination.
I am aware of how the sexes supposedly differ educationally ,but feel a fairer system could be in place.

Bohemond Wed 29-Jan-14 13:28:52

Agree Dahlen that we are culturally conditioned to some degree and yes I agree that legislation should protect women for the time it takes to recover from birth.

But after that? Do we want to give up the right to a year's maternity leave. Should it be reduced so that women are able to get back to work to re-establish their careers or do we prefer that we at least have options.

I don't think it is all cultural conditioning - and we are missing something if we think that men and women are/should be the same. I realised from an early age that to do what I wanted I needed to make the right choices along the way.

NearTheWindmill Wed 29-Jan-14 13:30:44

What makes me really sad though is that so many women think they can't do it. That's in response to Dahlen's post.

There are so many clever women here on MNet but I'm not one of them, certainly not academically. I got 7 O'Levels, poor A'Levels, dropped out of a Poly after a term, went to finishing school, did a secretarial course and then met a friend's dad at a house party who asked what I was doing and when I said looking for an office/secretarial job in London, said phone me on Monday. I did, he offered me a job as gofer to the trading floor. I gofered as did many others who were too precious to gofer, ie, wouldn't put on a bet, resisted making tea, got bored photocopying. OK, there were more adminny things to do as well. I just got on with and they realised I could add up so after about a year they gave me a job on the syndicate desk - not because I was brain of Britain but because I worked hard, didn't procrastinate and wasn't too easily offended.

DuckworthLewis Wed 29-Jan-14 13:33:00

As things stand, no, women will never be equally as valued as men.

I believe this is because the world is overpopulated as it is, pressure on resources is high and birthrates are increasing.

Therefore, because we don't need additional children, having a baby is seen as being slightly indulgent and selfish and hence the gestation, birth and BFing of DCs just isn't valued. As this is the domain of women, it follows that women are not valued highly.

If the tables were turned, and it looked like Humans were becoming endangered, then I believe women (mothers) would suddenly become extraordinarily highly valued.

Socks555 Wed 29-Jan-14 13:37:06

Someone said to me years ago you can never have freedom AND equality.

I thought he was spouting nonsense at the time but I often think of what he said, 20 years on, and I think he was right.

wobblyweebles Wed 29-Jan-14 13:54:10

The only reason I can see for unequal paternity leave is breastfeeding, but the breastfeeding rates in the UK are so low anyway it wouldn't be an issue for most families

Indeed. The breastfeeding rates in the US are actually higher in the UK despite most women being back at work at 6-8 weeks post partum.

wobblyweebles Wed 29-Jan-14 13:55:24

Dahlen - while people see childcare costs as something that stops women but not men from returning to work then women will not be equal.

Men and women are equally guilty of that IMO.

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 14:20:00

Bohemond - in reply to your 'losers' statement, don't worry, I don't take offence but I do often ask myself the same question. wink

My comment about protecting maternity for women to recover/establish breastfeeding was simply to acknowledge that the initial period at home is probably going to be taken my mum. That should not be transferable. But rather than having a situation where men get paternity leave after this period, I'd like to see men given initial paternity leave at the same time as women. I bet if they had this we would see an awful lot more equal parenting without complaint from mothers since they would be seeing first hand that dad is learning the same as they are. (As a result of this I think we'd also see a lot more cases where residency is awarded to fathers.) I think having both parents off at the same time is the first step not only to granting men greater equality but also to changing women's perceptions that only they can perform their role.

After the initial period I think it's fine to have parental leave for both parents, which can be either used at the same time, consecutively, or transferred. And I think to pay for this it's fine to reduce maternity leave. Parental leave should not be about saving childcare costs, it should be about establishing a relationship with the baby.

I think that childcare is massively undervalued personally. Someone has to look after children or they die. Since it makes an obvious kind of sense that one of the people responsible for creating that child cares for it, maybe we need a return to the days in which one typical salary could maintain a typical family of 4, maybe not comfortably, but above poverty levels.

Since that is rather fanciful thinking and most people accept that only a privileged few are in a position where that can be done (MN has a significantly higher membership of this group than the population at large), maybe governments need to be proactive about deciding that since most members of society need to work, both parents need to suck up a certain amount to facilitate equality for the other.

That would mean an end to the situation where men can opt out of bearing responsibility for their children either while together (use it or lose it paternity) or apart (make the CSA automatic and enforced), and an end to extended maternity. Not necessarily popular at first, but within a few generations hopefully normalised.

However, bearing in mind that it's still very much a man's world that we live in and ultimately it's children who are suffering, I would want to see the CSA situation addressed before increasing paternity rights.

I agree with your assessment that the UK does much to sideline fathers. Patriarchy hurts men as well as women.

traininthedistance Wed 29-Jan-14 14:27:38

NeartheWindmill but that also sounds like you benefited from a generational jobs climate that simply doesn't exist any more. I'd be willing to bet that to get into even the most basic of similar roles today you'd either need a good degree, relevant experience and to go through some pretty punishing application and assessment rounds; and/or that there is simply no direct route up any more from the hard-working gofer with no degree to trading desk. The job market just doesn't work in that way any more ( unless of course you're already very senior and/or wealthy and networked).

Bohemond Wed 29-Jan-14 14:39:09

Dahlen for PM

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 14:57:52

I agree wobbly. I think that requires a major shift in social thinking.

If non-resident parents are chased for childcare costs incurred by the primary carer that would go a long way towards addressing that balance.

If more men chose to be primary carer within a relationship, that would also address the balance. The fact is that while one parent is at home either full time or part time with the DC while the other earns the main source of income, it is human nature to see the children as the SAHP's responsibility. When that parent then decides to return to paid work or increase their hours it is that persons's actions that are changing the status quo so the costs become associated with that person. It's not fair but it's how it goes. As it is mainly women who find themselves in this role because of our current parental leave set-up, we see this as a female problem. If more men were primary carers, that would change. But that requires legislation.

Beyond that, I'm not sure that getting more women to make the right choices about their lives would help much (other than in the obvious caveat that life will probably be much better for everyone who adopts this line of thinking). After all, unless we think men are better at making the right choices than women, surely the number of people making good/bad choices is about gender equal? Yet despite the the number of men making bad choices being comparable, it doesn't seem to be hurting their earning potential in quite the same way.

MoreBeta Wed 29-Jan-14 14:59:33

One of the problems in the modern world of work is that employers do not want employees to have any flexibility around working hours. They want total control of when and if you are at work.

Flexibility costs money, it means having spare capacity ready, it means more management time in juggling resources. Big business wants workers who turn up any time day or night waiting at the end of a phone but not getting paid until they literally are on the shop floor. As we all know, children do not work that way. They have t come first and they don't fit round the 24/7 economy. The are ill, they need to go to school and come home form school. If you are a worker with children and they are your responsibility then a company cannot demand you stay at work or arrive at short notice to meet peaks and troughs in demand.

I do some work in the electricity industry. Power station operational staff man (they usually are men) the power station 24/7 even if it is not generating. They have to because they might get a call to switch on to keep the grid from blacking out and that call is at most a few minutes away and often just a few milliseconds away. A lot of operations are like that now.

Having a worker who cannot be there on a guaranteed basis except for occasional illness is just not possible for most operations. They have to operate - regardless of childcare responsibilities. No operation can just have staff sat about to pick up the slack in case a Mum (or Dad) gets a call because little Johnny has been sick at school.

Mostly it is still women who take childcare responsibility and frankly most employers just don't want the risk and hassle. Add to that the plain old irrational woman hating sexists that exist in upper management and there you have the outcome we have.

Women who reach high office do so by effectively blanking their children and any childcare responsibilities out of their work life. My best piece of advice is never ever mention children at work or have any conversation for any reason or leave work early or not turn up for any reason to do with children. If you do you are branding yourself unreliable and you can forget a career right there and then.

Your employer does NOT care about you, your children or your family.

They should but they don't.

Bohemond Wed 29-Jan-14 15:17:49

Dahlen I do agree that men must make equally bad choices. And I underline the point that all of us must make many good choices before we have full freedom to choose (as per Socks).

However, I don't necessarily see that choosing to stay at home for longer with a child is a bad choice (for many it is a positive one that suits them and fits their natural instincts); it is just not compatible with equality in the work place.

So if we are to gain equality (and I agree with your solution by the way) we must lose some of our ability to make that choice. And men gain it.

traininthedistance Wed 29-Jan-14 15:18:31

Morebeta a good argument for the regulation of businesses, and also probably for the renationalisation of the energy industries and utilities in particular. After all, we know that capitalism, given unfettered chances, will tend to reduce the value and power of labour to nothing if it can - to its own destruction if not prevented from it. We need children and meaningful lives and not to live like animals in the service only of profit - so we need to make sure we regulate those forces which would treat us like that.

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 15:21:43

I don't necessarily see that choosing to stay at home for longer with a child is a bad choice (for many it is a positive one that suits them and fits their natural instincts); it is just not compatible with equality in the work place.

I agree. smile

However, I think because both parents benefit from having a parent SAH with a child, more should be done to protect the economic interests of the parent choosing to SAH. Having an interest in the income-earning parent's pension is a nod towards this, but it still has some way to go I think.

MoreBeta Wed 29-Jan-14 15:25:02

tarinin - its globalisation that did it.

There is always someone poorer and more desperate for work somewhere in the world (and often they are children) who can be packed into an even more dangerous and exhausting workplace than we allow in this country.

The simple fact is that for most people working today it is a simple choice of doing as you are told or the job goes to India, China, Brazil, etc etc, etc.

Globalisation didn't actually benefit anyone but the very top end of global society. Hence 85 people now own/control half the world's wealth as DoJo pointed out up thread.

Drquin Wed 29-Jan-14 15:41:47

morebeta I agree flexibility is at the root of (some of) the equality issues. But, equally, flexibility has to work both ways, or it's just not flexible.

Many employers are flexible - I know mine is, but that's primarily because it's suits our business to be so. We are a multinational, supporting local 24/7 operations, so there's scope for a lot of the support work (I'm excluding explicit shifts here) at odd hours, half days here and there - it doesn't need to be within 9-5 Uk-time Monday-Friday. So requests for flexibility working arrangements (permanent, and ad-hoc) are in the main granted, and genuinely workable.
We accommodate flexible working requests from our shift workers - varying combinations of no late finishes / no early starts / no Tuesdays / no weekends / reduced hours. Admittedly we've refused some too - but because they didn't work for the business.

And i think that's where flexibility has it's limits - if you work in a shop, as a retail assistant, shop open 9-5, there's going to be a limit to the flexibility options. Part time probably will be an option - but not so much an 8-4 or 10-6 flexi-hours pattern.

So I think employers (or some, at least) do care .... But to a point, because it's a relationship ultimately and it's got to work for everyone.

In an ideal world, it'd be fairer for everyone and every circumstances, not just women and / or (working) parents. By that I mean, people with caring responsibilities beyond young children. That no-one would be discriminated against, for any reason. That concepts such as "sexual harassment" wouldn't even exist because we'd all know what was acceptable behaviour and what wasn't.

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 15:57:51

As a single parent in full-time paid employment, I have thought long and hard about the issue of childcare. The more I think about it, the more I have decided that actually I don't want to work family friendly hours to make childcare easier to juggle, I want childcare to be more accessible, flexible and affordable to allow me to adapt to my work.

Obviously, that's my choice. Other parents may prefer to work different hours. It remains the case that some careers are not very compatible with being a parent (even if you're not primary carer the job will have a negative effect on your relationship with your child). That's a choice/sacrifice other parents can make. But I think many parents would like to work the same hours as childless colleagues and would be prepared to do it if they could just find and afford childcare that facilitated that.

I really feel that childcare is one of the biggest issues facing this and subsequent governments. I'd really like to see a cross-party agenda dedicated to dealing with it.

For my mind, I think massive state subsidy for existing childcare and the state funding/support of private parent-based co-operatives (e.g. where you all agree to do a day each per week or fortnight) could be a step forward. While that would cost vast sums of money to implement, I have read various reports that suggest the tax raised from the greater number of women in work would quickly mean this was self-funding.

ikeaismylocal Wed 29-Jan-14 16:06:45

I think that the situation with csa would be solved if fathers were more bonded to their children. If fathers had months being the sole carer for the child, if the father took days off work to look after ill children, if fathers were told they were important and they were vital in the first few days of a child's life, that they should stay with the mum and baby and have almost constant skin to skin contact with the baby rather than going home and going out to the pub with their mates, if the fathers were as likely to pick the children up from school I don't think that if the relationship between mother and father broke down the father would think oh fuck it, i don't need/want to support my children either practically, emotionally of finacially because surely someone bonded to a child would want what was best for that child and would walk to the ends of the earth to see their child as often as possible. It makes me deeply sad to think that many british fathers (mine being one of them!) don't even want 50/50 rights.

If fathers were involved both whilst a relationship was intact and if a relationship broke down mothers would be just as reliable as fathers, mothers would be more employable, men and women would take the same amount of time off work both when the child was a baby and when the child was ill, therefore womens wages would go up.

MoreBeta Wed 29-Jan-14 16:09:06

Dahlen - wage rates would collapse to minimum wage in the middle and bottom end of the scale if they did that. More workers, lower pay. More benefits and in work tax credits. Not sure it would be a net benefit on tax take.

Not sure Govt want deflation in wages either. In fact the Govt wants more inflation as does the Bank of England to help pay off all the debt.

Nope society, employers and Govt like it all just the way it is and all political parties agree. They do nothing about this issue of inequality and never will. They passed equality laws and never properly implemented. Big business lobby groups see to that. Its an unholy alliance of interests.

Dahlen Wed 29-Jan-14 16:19:27

ikea - I agree. I'd also hazard a guess that the rates of relationship breakdown would decrease.

MoreBeta - I don't know. I don't think wage rates would collapse that dramatically since not everyone would choose to to work full time or at all, and it hasn't led to wage rate collapses in countries where childcare is massively state subsidised. The UK isn't "other countries" of course, and I suppose the truth of the matter is that no really knows how it would play out, despite some very well educated guesses. At the moment it would seem that no politicians even want to investigate it, as you've pointed out.

If I was given to pessimism I'd feel thoroughly depressed about it all as once you start looking at things in real depth you are forced to consider UK macroeconomics. You realise that housing costs and the general cost of living have a direct relationship with the ability to get women into work. And that's where most people switch off I think.

MoreBeta Wed 29-Jan-14 16:28:15

Dahlen - in effect what I think you are proposing is some sort of Scandinavian model where society decides that childcare is important and that subsidies paid by other peoples taxes (I suppose they may well benefit later or have benefitted before) subsidises something that society agrees is a good thing.

I don't know Scandinavian childcare and schooling and equal opportunity policy and parental leave policy too well but I believe they are better than ours at achieving more quality for women.

Interesting point that Scandinavia was generally historically until fairly recently a hunter gatherer economy whereas we in the UK fundamentally adopted the man out in the fields (i.e at work) and woman at home structure of a typical agrarian economy.

This is very deep rooted as I said. Society accepts it as 'normal'.

MoreBeta Wed 29-Jan-14 16:29:01

'..._e_quality for women.'

YABU, we will. Times are changing. Growing trend in hands-on fathering helps.

cheminotte Wed 29-Jan-14 17:15:29

Morebeta - Norway for example has long maternity leave that can be shared, guaranteed childcare provision from age 1 and after school and holiday care all very cheaply and the board quota. I read an article recently saying as a small country they just cannot afford to have half the population not working.

We're not doing badly in Scandinavia, and surely we can't be more than 10 years or so of coming into line with them?

Backonthefence Wed 29-Jan-14 17:58:36

They do have some of the highest individual tax rates in the world to help fund their policies. I am not so sure this would be popular in the UK however.

ikeaismylocal Wed 29-Jan-14 18:26:56

The taxation is actually the same in Sweden as it would be in the UK for us (we are an average income family) Sweden is simalar to Norway in that we get parental leave, state funded daycare and state funded before/after school care. Tax is higher for the highest earners in Sweden, but for an average family tax is simalar between the UK and Sweden, outgoings are much less in Sweden as daycare is very very cheap as is housing.

Iwannalaylikethisforever Wed 29-Jan-14 18:28:06

I think it's important to point out that there are plenty of women who are happy to take a career break to have children, and plenty of mothers who are happy to work reduced hours, compromising on salary and status within the workplace for what is a rite of passage as a woman. Not all, but some feel a burning desire, if not a craving, to experience motherhood, some of these posts make it sound like a burden. However until men evolve with a womb and give birth this will not change. Mothers are damned if they do and damn if they don't, leaving a newborn to return to work can find themselves being asked why have a baby at all? You don't see it from 8am until 6pm. Equally staying at home to raise a child is also being critiqued even by government.

Coldlightofday Wed 29-Jan-14 20:50:17

There are some really thoughtful and thought provoking posts here.

There are, without doubt, some practical changes that would make the playing field more level - more flexibility etc

I think the bit I struggle with most, though, is the idea that women can be seen as second class citizens, as less valuable, as inferior by virtue of their gender.

I can't even put forward any coherent arguments. The more I reflect on it, the more cross I become. It's way wider than the workplace too, I think.

NearTheWindmill Wed 29-Jan-14 20:52:23

Traininthedistance I agree with you about the generational thing the first time round but for the second career I applied to an ad in the local paper and at 43 went back to the bottom, part-time, for about £8k per annum, and for a second time I just got my head down and got on with the job and kept saying "I'd like to do that please" and eventually through dint of hard work they listened and let me apply for promotion and funded my professional quals (which I was allowed on by the local college as an exception without a degree after an interview and test). So whilst I agree in the first instance I don't in the second and things were much tougher when I went back. I will never earn what I earned in the 80's and 90's again, but it's still double average and it's local and it suits and it really isn't rocket science or very hard.

If an old so and so like me can do it, I don't see why lots of other women can't but having said that a lot of my contemporaries at the time (playground) said I was nuts and what I was doing was beneath them, etc.

I really do think that the nub of the matter is that I was well educated if not well qualified and I think the fact that qualifications have replaced "education" is very sad indeed and I don't understand why the UK, society, politicians, etc., haven't caught onto it. I think the worm is turning and vive la revolution is all I can say.

Poopoopeedooo Wed 29-Jan-14 21:58:07

Just catching up on the thread since last night....Interesting point made by Duckworth 2 pages back ... Sorry- I´m skipping past all the very interesting stuff re workplace inequality here!
She was saying that in a world where actually producing children is probably causing more problems than it solves, our unique reproductive role is therefore not an asset and we are thus not revered for our role as mothers.
I shall go and ponder that some more.
As you were

Poopoopeedooo Wed 29-Jan-14 22:00:32

I was supposed to highlight that, wasn´t I?
That would be DuckworthLewis to whom Iwas attempting to refer!

Coldlightofday Thu 30-Jan-14 20:32:34

I don't even want to be revered.

I just want to not be fighting a boys club

<sulky>

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