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Live webchat with Cristina Odone (Friday 23 Oct), 1-2pm

(126 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 22-Oct-09 13:10:07

We're delighted to announce that Cristina Odone is joining us for a webchat tomorrow lunchtime (Friday 23 Oct, 1-2pm).

Cristina has just written a paper for the Centre for Policy Studies (Tory thinktank) called What Women Want.. And How They Can Get It. In it, she argues that the Government needs to stop encouraging women/mothers back to full-time work because most of us don't want to commit to a full-time job.

In her conclusion, she says: "... we need to break the stranglehold that a small coterie of women who work fulltime and buy into the macho way of life, enjoy on our public life. They have, for years, misrepresented real women who reject the masculine value system for one that rates caring above a career, and inter-dependence above independence."

Some of you have already been discussing her views on this thread and you can download the full paper here.

Cristina is a writer, broadcaster and journalist - she was editor of the Catholic Herald and deputy editor of the New Statesman - and a mother.

If you can't join us tomorrow for the chat, please post your advance questions here.

CristinaOdone Fri 23-Oct-09 13:21:56

TheMysticMasseuse -- yes House is best of all -- one of my favourite all time books. BUT SAD. Ok, yes work is essential. But does it have to be paid? does it have to be the corner office, the title, the fat wage packet? Or are those all macho values we should question?

TheMysticMasseuse Fri 23-Oct-09 13:23:19

am also genuinely interested in your views on my second question, as a catholic i have real issues with the huge chasm between the way women are portrayed in the bible and the gospel and the way they are treated in the Church.

CristinaOdone Fri 23-Oct-09 13:23:41

onebatmother: yes yes yes men need to get in on this too -- I want a cultural shift not just a gender shift. A culture that values caring and nurturing from whomever, whenever...and not just 9-5 paid work outsside the home

InmyheadIminParis Fri 23-Oct-09 13:23:50

A good point well made, Northernlurker. smile

Hmmm well perhaps if you would like men to get in on the act it would be better not to rely on in your published argument on 'evidence' that revolves around whether women should work at all?

onebatmother Fri 23-Oct-09 13:27:25

But CO, no-one thinks real women work because they want the corner office etc do they?

What are you proposing the next govt do,btw?

TheMysticMasseuse Fri 23-Oct-09 13:28:08

YES OF COURSE IT HAS TO BE PAID!!!!!!!!!!! otherwise we are going back to the good ol' days of women counting for nothing, next they'll take our right to vote as well.

i think there is a more subtle question which is how we can make the workplace more accomodating for family-friendly career paths. i have worked in the city and couldn't cope with a "rise or crash" culture that meant if you didn't peak within 5-7 years of starting to work (with all the associated monstruos stress) you were a failure. where i am now i am confident that i can take things a bit more slowly and i'll still have a chance (but that doesn't mean i take things easy, i am often working in the evenings etc).

I don't know if lack of materialistic ambition is a female trait but i agree with you that companies should wake up to the fact that women like to be compensated in other ways as well eg flexible career paths etc

CristinaOdone Fri 23-Oct-09 13:29:27

Morningpaper, Sfx mum, TheMysticMasseuse: can i answer all three of you about my catholicism.... why I'm still a Catholic? it provides roots and reins for my life . I know who I am, I know how far I can go. If I go further or stray (andgod knows I have) I have a sense of where I SHOULD be. Now, is it a religion based on a woman (cult of the virgin mary)? I think it is best to say it is a religion based on love and YES,I'm angry to see it exclude women from the priesthod 9esp as so many women have the empathy crucial to the job) but I want to work withhin the church rather than without... now you've got me on the subject, I'm also angry about the divorce teachings in the church... I'm married to a divorced man who was left by his wife -- yet I'm barred from communuion as a result.... seems a bit harsh.... I've just published a comic novel The good Divorce Guide, which basically says that you can have a friednly divorce that does not lead to tragedy .... wonder what Pope B would make of that?

morningpaper Fri 23-Oct-09 13:33:19

Why don't you become an Anglo-Catholic? Are you punishing yourself? wink You could have a full, active spiritual life in a community which is, frnakly, far more merciful about divorce. AND you wouldn't have Ratzinger in charge. Everybody wins! It's just so much nicer all the time...

CristinaOdone Fri 23-Oct-09 13:34:23

northernlurker hold on: the research found that a third of men AND women would rather not work at all. Men are part of the equation -- of course. And I think that if we can get more flexible work patterns, and more part time employment opportunities and the govmt STOPS telling parents whom they must leave their children with so they can pitch in as minders, men can play a huge role in the revolution

chamble Fri 23-Oct-09 13:34:47

Surely one thing that would help would be to tally school hours with working hours

CristinaOdone Fri 23-Oct-09 13:35:29

morningpaper you sound like my DH who IS an anglocatholic.... but catholicism is so much part of who i am....

cleanandclothed Fri 23-Oct-09 13:35:49

How do you think your wishes can be achieved? What are the barriers to creating part-time jobs that you mentioned? And what is your view on the length of maternity leave, paternity leave, and flexible working rights?

onebatmother Fri 23-Oct-09 13:35:59

I tend to think that the 'encouraging us as a culture to value nurturing/caring' doesn't really get to the bottom of the fundamental question: who does the crap-work in any given household?

While the answer is 'the woman', the kind of questions that you've asked are never going to deliver a true picture.

CristinaOdone Fri 23-Oct-09 13:36:42

chamble yes yes yes! that would be such a great government initiative.... i hadn't thought of that, but that's a good one

LeninGhoul Fri 23-Oct-09 13:37:04

Had a quick read of the leaflet. Money is the issue surely. We'd all like to pick and choose what we do, stop working completely or partially before retirement and take significant career breaks but can't afford to do so. I'm sure we'd like to take the same approach to our kids sometimes rather than the 25/7/265 job it is.

I should imagine men feel the same. Why is this all focused on women?

HerBewitcheditude Fri 23-Oct-09 13:37:55

God don't suggest it. The govt wouldn't make the working day shorter, they'd make the school day longer. Not fair on kids.

Penthesileia Fri 23-Oct-09 13:38:42

Hello Christina.

First off, I want to say that I completely agree with your observation that it is pretty rich that a privileged few women (with desirable and rewarding jobs) frequently dictate "popular" opinion about women in work.

I also agree that SAHMs (and SAHDs!) and caring more generally should be recognised for their invaluable contribution to society.

However, I couldn't get over the impression I got from reading your report that you were simply recasting a number of sexist stereotypes about women's roles - some that women have "bought" themselves. How can we get round a) the problem of (internalised) sexism in modern society yet also b) acknowledge that women may have different aims and goals in the life and the workplace, etc.

I also agree with morningpaper that it's worse than useless to base policy on the utopian question "if it were financially possible for you to give up work..". Are we really surprised that people would like not to work?

CristinaOdone Fri 23-Oct-09 13:38:52

thedullwitch: you are wrong about my position on abortion -- i think we need to review the limit, that's all; re faith schools: for many traditional muslim parents the only way they will allow their daughters to go to school is if they are enrolled in a muslim school. Close the muslim schools, and you're closing the door on educational opportunities for muslim girls... everyone's a loser then

chamble Fri 23-Oct-09 13:39:52

Glad you like idea. A longer school day might give more time for PE too - helping quash obesity problem. And would surely be cheaper than building ever more after school clubs and other facilities. Wouldn't mean teachers have to stay on. Numerous organisations run sports coaching for kids.

LeninGhoul Fri 23-Oct-09 13:39:52

xposts, men included, good.

So, who pays people to care? I'd love to spend my time working in the community, building relationships and spending more of my time with people I like but we've got to pay the bills.

TheMysticMasseuse Fri 23-Oct-09 13:40:02

i am angry and sad on your behalf that you're barred from communion. it must be devastating for you.

Penthesileia Fri 23-Oct-09 13:40:16

Apologies for typos, especially Cristina. blush

onebatmother Fri 23-Oct-09 13:40:21

Yes, it does rather sound as though you have taken some generalized responses that indicate that we'd all like to work less and have more time for family, and extrapolated to make some (rather bold) claims for how women's identities are formed..

onebatmother Fri 23-Oct-09 13:40:52

which happen to fit well with a broad Tory world view..

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