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Live webchat about women and work with Maria Miller, Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, TODAY, Thursday 22 November, 1pm to 2pm

(335 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 20-Nov-12 16:28:42

Hello, we're very pleased to announce that Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Minister for Women and Equalities will be joining us for a live webchat on Thursday 22 Nov between 1pm and 2pm.

Maria has been the MP for Basingstoke since 2005 and has previously held shadow education and family briefs. Before entering Parliament, Maria worked in advertising. She is married with three children.

This is Maria's second Mumsnet webchat.

Maria is keen to hear your thoughts on how to get more women into work, with a particular focus on getting the right childcare in place for women. She also wants to hear your thoughts on how the government can make workplaces more equal environments, where women can better realise their potential.

Do join us for the webchat. As ever, if you can't make it, please post up your advance questions here.

Thanks,

MNHQ

Ooh sounds interesting.

BIWI Tue 20-Nov-12 18:32:54

Oh bugger. I am working sad

But my question is something I feel very strongly about. I believe fervently that women should be encouraged back into the workplace (assuming that they want to, of course grin) but why is childcare always assumed to be a woman's issue?

It's even in your OP - with a particular focus on getting the right childcare in place for women.

This makes me really angry. Why is it always the responsibility for women? Until men start taking children and families seriously, and sharing the responsibility for organising childcare, we will never achieve equality for women in the workplace.

Children are produced by parents, not just by women.

strandednomore Tue 20-Nov-12 18:39:45

I seriously don't think there is an easy answer to this. If there was, we'd all be doing it. But for me the answer is more about more decent (and decently paid) fleixble and part-time jobs rather than more and more childcare. Two of us earning (eg) £25k per year each and sharing childcare rather than him earning eg £50k and me doing all the childcare.

BIWI Tue 20-Nov-12 19:02:14

What would have helped us enormously would have been the ability to pay our nanny without having to pay her income tax. Paying her tax out of our already taxed income added a significant extra financial burden and we struggled massively with that in the early years.

LadyStark Tue 20-Nov-12 19:21:52

Hi Maria,

You commented today that you though the time limit for abortion should be reduced to be more in line with '"people's views" - which people specifically do you mean? Yours?

There certainly doesn't seem to be any scientific basis to this and whilst I support your right to a personal view on this type of issue I really worry about the message it sends when the women's minister is saying things like this.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 20-Nov-12 19:39:21

What LadyStark said! Surely health policies should be based on scientific and medical fact, not on public opinion?

(Was going to ask that earlier but wasn't sure if I had to stick to the topic.)

sabusz Tue 20-Nov-12 19:49:21

My 3 year old daughter is sick for most of the winter season, chest infections, wheezing and all that. Why there's no paid time off to care for your child and you have to take it out of your holiday entitlement or as unpaid leave??So unfair, there should be at least let's say 5 days a year of paid leave like most European countries have. I'm just dreading coming months...

Meglet Tue 20-Nov-12 20:29:56

Why does childcare have to be in place for women. The last time I checked men were parents too.

<<slighty narky but valid point I think>>

BIWI, I was going to ask the same but trying to work out how to phrase it. There's no doubting that childcare is on the whole an issue that affects women a lot more than men so I suppose the question is how do we change that? I suppose the split maternity leave goes some way to helping, however I think it will require an overall culture change.
In my little team at work, there are just two men, two women. We are all parents to small children, and we all do the juggling. The men are equally likely to be off when their DC are ill, or rearrange their working pattern to handle childcare. I love it grin

BIWI Tue 20-Nov-12 20:51:59

How refreshing! It's definitely a workplace culture thing. Create the right culture for men to feel it's acceptable, and I think most of them are happy to 'get stuck in'.

TheMysteryCat Tue 20-Nov-12 21:11:42

Why have you refused to meet with the heads of any of the UK's regional theatres? I'm not sure if you're aware, but the arts is one sector where women have much more equality at middle management level, although the senior level is still unequal. I'm surprised that given this covers two areas of your professional responsibility, it has not received any consideration.

I'd also like to know what you are going to do in a positive way for women in the arts, many of whom have lost their jobs due to government cuts.

maxpower Tue 20-Nov-12 22:33:09

I think the reason that there is a general perception that childcare is an issue for women (rather than men) is because in most cases, if the parental unit breaks down, it is the father who leaves, rather than the mother. The mother therefore has to assume all the responsibilities. How do you plan to tackle this and hold fathers to account?

WansteadG Tue 20-Nov-12 23:37:44

one of my children is disabled - I returned to work when DD started school part time for a local school soon discovered that her doctor/hospital appointments were a problem (I have no influence over these). Decided in the end not worth it.

princessnumber2 Tue 20-Nov-12 23:53:03

Why doesn't the government increase the amount of childcare vouchers available to meet an individual's (or couple's) actual childcare costs?

Or alternatively perhaps tell me where I could find full time childcare for £243 a month? I live in London and am currently on multiple nursery waiting lists. I'm told I might wait a year or more for a nursery place and that it won't cover my working hours and commute anyway. A nanny would cost way more than my salary.

Before having children I had a good job and good career prospects. Not anymore it seems.

MayaAngelCool Wed 21-Nov-12 00:28:31

Hi and welcome, Maria!

I am currently creating a short-term project that will enable a small group of unemployed/ underemployed women to develop and use their work skills, and it's really important to me that I pay them for this work. Do you know of any sources of funding for projects like this?

Thanks in advance. smile

BIWI Wed 21-Nov-12 08:14:59

princessnumber2 - do you have a DH/DP? Are you taking his salary into account?

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 21-Nov-12 09:51:53

I agree with the lovely BIWI.

As long as the view that childcare is the responsibility of women stays, and clearly that is very much your current view, we cannot move forward.

Your thoughts on this will be very interesting.

Porpoise Wed 21-Nov-12 09:58:33

Hello, Maria.

What's your reaction to the Church of England Synod's decision not to allow women bishops? How do you think it will affect most people's view of the Church of England and its relevance to society today?

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 21-Nov-12 10:12:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 21-Nov-12 10:12:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 21-Nov-12 10:14:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kathylilly23 Wed 21-Nov-12 11:00:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

mamamiaow Wed 21-Nov-12 11:19:21

Hi Maria

I think the only way to get mothers/fathers back to work is to offer means tested, subsidised child care from a very young age (eg. at end of SMP, not from age 3). Our nursery fee is £50 a day. I am luckily not on the min wage, but I can see how anyone who is on a low income would struggle to pay these kinds of fees. Do you think issues like this for age 1-3 need to be addressed?

And on the subject of equality in the workplace - from going 'part time' 30 hours a week I can honestly say there is a stigma attached - even though I think PT workers are more productive than their FT equivalents. Sadly, the hostility I have experienced is actually from other women (FT, with no children {yet}, who should be ashamed of themselves). I only hope I see the day when these women have children...

LineRunner Wed 21-Nov-12 16:02:18

Dear Maria

I am 50. I feel exhausted every day, having brought up my two children on my own because their father walked out when they were very young. My career prospects are now dismal. I have health problems. I have a low income. My house is falling apart. In the next few years even the minimal child support will stop, child tax credits and child benefit will stop, and I will be expected to help support my children through university.

I have to work till I am 66.

Some days I just want to chuck myself under a bus. I got a PhD for this?

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