Sexist article in Daily Telegraph, "women working full-time paying towards childcare"

(38 Posts)
nongenderbias9 Thu 03-Jan-13 23:08:15

Have you seen this? I don't know how they get away with it? They equate a woman going to work as balancing off the money she gets to pay for the children's childcare whilst she works. Does this article assume that their are no men left in the world, or perhaps that men don't work, or most likely that the money men earn doesn't go to support his family. I hate this crazy sexist nonsense that sees childcare as a womans job.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 06-Jan-13 02:17:15

there were umpteen radio phone ins etc off the back of this article - all making the same assumption, largely unchallenged, that childcare was the mother's problem, financially and practically.

Surely childcare - whether provided by a paid professional or done by the mother - is what allows working fathers to work?

Greythorne Sat 05-Jan-13 20:01:02

There's a fascinating thread at the moment about whether young peopl should go to uni based on their having to pay fees....across the board people talk about considering the fees over a lifetime of higher earning, better prospects etc.

And yet for mums returning to work, there's an assumption that unless you are covering the childcare, travel, work clothing etc. then there's just no point. But lifetime earnings, promotion potential, pension, perks, paid holiday, private healthcare etc. etc. of course need to be factored in. Plus the fact that as time goes on, childcare costs rapidly decrease once school starts.

ceeveebee Sat 05-Jan-13 19:04:14

Speaking as an accountant, it would be very foolish for any business to make a decision based on the short term. A net present value assessment taking into account future expected earnings would be used rather than just looking at the next two or three years. Businesses also generally seek to spread risk rather than rely on a sole source of income.

If families applied the same logic then many more women would continue to work in some capacity to protect their future career and pension provision and to mitigate the risk of relying on one income.

tribpot Sat 05-Jan-13 18:55:09

I went to look for a thread I remembered from last year where we talked about some of the factors involved in deciding to become a SAHP (or not).

AmandaPayne Sat 05-Jan-13 17:35:10

Tribpot - Yes, the underlying assumption that childcare is a woman's job to fund is so prevalent. I've picked people up on it. A woman who told me she loved her job recently said to me "Of course, it's not really worth it because I only take home £<small amount> each month after childcare, tax and my travel card." I said, "but you said you loved your job". She agreed, so I said, "Well, what is left from your other half's job if you take the childcare off his job?" She had never done the calculation because, even though she loved her job and she wanted to work, it had literally never occurred to her that the childcare came off her husband's salary, or should be shared.

The reason that is dangerous is that she had a running line of guilt that her children were in childcare for "only £x". It made her value her own working low. I bet not many men, whether they are second earners or not, sit around struggling with that type of angst. There is an underlying assumption that, if a man wants to work, he will. If a male second earner who wants to stay home then great, but rarely would he suffer any criticism if he chose not to.

I also think that these things should be done with more information. It so easy to do the simplistic calculation of salary X minus childcare Y =Z, and to think one shouldn't/doesn't have to work if Z is too low. But it is very hard to access any information on what the long term cost of not working is, in terms of ease of re-entry to your area, pension, earnings impact.

A slight side track, but I know a lot of women my mother's age who have grown up children and have spent a boring 20 years working in low paid work after their children left home. Or who haven't worked and have gone a little crazy - a friend's mother used to phone her every day when she started university because she was so bored and lonely. It is very hard to re-launch a successful, and more importantly interesting, career late in life after a long gap. That frustration can be a hidden cost which is also hard to factor in. Being a SAHM with children at home is a very different prospect to being a SAHM once they have left.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 12:21:27

<shrugs> I dunno, I worked out the management accounting and NPV issues years ago and it is beyond me to understand why others haven't.

AbigailAdams Sat 05-Jan-13 11:08:59

Amanda has been perfectly polite, Bonsoir. All she has asked (repeatedly and in a very controlled manner imo) is that you engage with her points. That is assertive, not aggressive. It is also sticking to the point of the OP and not derailing as you appear to be wanting to do.

Aggressive is just another word to shut women up. Especially as often (as employed here) it is incorrect.

tribpot Sat 05-Jan-13 11:06:16

Bonsoir, you say the article shouldn't make us mad because it's simply stating an economic fact: if the family's costs exceed the family's income as a result of both partners working then the family does not make an immediate financial gain from having both partners working.

However, what is concerning many of us on this thread is not the realisation that 10+2-3 = 9 but that the article is written to imply that childcare costs are a women's issue (this is a common problem in the mainstream media), nor does it attempt to address the fact that 10+2-3 now may equal 10+10-0 in the future, whereas 10 + 0 now may only equal 10 + 0 in the future.

There are important shifts in mindset that are required to push change. One is that childcare is a woman's job, either to do or to fund.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 10:59:17

If you want people to talk to you, I suggest you learn to be a little more polite!

AmandaPayne Sat 05-Jan-13 10:55:45

I'm not being aggressive. And you haven't. If you prefer not to, fine, but I was interested in the wider issues.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 10:44:49

Don't be so aggressive! I did engage with your point - what do you want, applause?

tribpot Sat 05-Jan-13 10:28:17

Ah but you see, Hanikam - we shouldn't because it costs us too much in childcare to do. Problem solved.

Hanikam Sat 05-Jan-13 10:24:29

Daily Telegraph? I'm sure they think all women are SAHMs. Must have been a shock to find out some of us work.

AmandaPayne Sat 05-Jan-13 09:56:33

As I said Bonsoir, that's fine, but I'm not having an argument about business terminology. I am having a discussion about feminism. I have already accepted your correction on terminology from your one particular point, but do you actually want to engage with the discussion?

tribpot Sat 05-Jan-13 09:50:20

But it would be a poor way to run a business to make decisions based purely on net present value. Which is too often the case when one spouse cannot increase the net value once costs are deducted. Potential earnings and the long term viability of the career should be factored in as well - no business should be run without a least a five year plan. On top of which a long term investment can require a short term loss, not simply a break even.

The article is simply lazy journalism - and it is prevalent on the BBC as well. There was absolutely no reason not to substitute the word 'mother' for the word 'parent', except that it has deliberately used average female earnings as the basis for its calculation. So by being paid less for the same work than a man, it makes even less financial sense for a woman with childcare responsibilities to work than it does for a man with childcare responsibilities.

I can't see why it would have killed the Telegraph to figure out how long a man on average male wages would need to work to pay for childcare as well - perhaps as a comparison figure in the article? Although it would not be quite as many weeks it wouldn't be anywhere close to zero either.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 09:47:00

I am not an accountant either. I'm just telling you that you need to distinguish management accounting and net present value! They are not the same thing at all.

AmandaPayne Sat 05-Jan-13 09:45:01

I'm not an accountant Bonsoir, so fine, substitute "you are not making a fully financially reasoned decision". Do you want to engage with the substantive point I was making though?

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 09:36:25

"So you are not making a genuine management accounting decision."

No - you are making a genuine management accounting decision. What you are not doing in my scenario is making a net present value decision.

AbigailAdams Sat 05-Jan-13 09:31:37

Amanda I was going to come on and make that exact point you made in your third paragraph. Totally agree and think that is where the problem lies. Women having to justify their existence in the workplace.

AmandaPayne Sat 05-Jan-13 07:32:30

I think the article is this one here.

It is a sexist article because it focuses on mothers paying for childcare and assumes that the costs come out of her pay.

However, more broadly, I get rather tired of the 'it's just a simple mathematical exercise' argument as to childcare and the lower earner.

Firstly, I'll just stress that this is about families who have choice. Who can pay for the childcare they need and the total family income is enough to live on. for a large number of families, there is no such choice, one way or another. We are basically talking here about professional women with careers.

But for those with choice, if you are just taking take home salary, deducting childcare and making your decision based on that, you are doing yourself a disservice if you describe that as a mathematical basis for the decision. Even if you want to do a purely maths based approach, you are failing to factor in pension, long term earnings and career potential. Whilst you may work at a loss for a while (though this article doesn't suggest most women do), the lifetime gain is likely to be huge. So you are not making a genuine management accounting decision.

More broadly than that, a pure maths approach only really works if you don't want to work, and want to see where you stand financially. If you do want to work, why the hell should the second earner (statistically, in a patriarchy, more often the woman) be required to justify their earnings in this way (again, assuming that the family can live on what is left either way). If you both want to work, a more honest approach is to deduct childcare from total pot and think of it that way. Too often this 'costs against lower earner' approach results in women feeling under pressure because they are 'selfish' if they work when they aren't really adding anything to the monthly pot.

Anniegetyourgun Fri 04-Jan-13 23:16:58

What's the problem supposed to be, then? If a woman is in a job that just about covers her childcare costs, the job is getting done, the woman is presumably getting satisfaction and a change of scene, and someone else is getting paid to mind the DCs so the net effect on the job market is neutral. Meanwhile the government gets to cream income tax off three people instead of one. Is that bad?

LineRunner Fri 04-Jan-13 22:47:37

My ExH doesn't have any childcare costs because he walked out and left us. Nice for him.

Greythorne Fri 04-Jan-13 20:23:45

The sexism lies in the two assumptions that (a) the woman will be earning less and (b) the woman will be the one who takes a long / longer parental leave after children so it is her choice whether to go back.

Unfortunately, these two assumptions are routed in reality. Most women earn less than men. And most childcare breaks are taken by women.

FantasticMax Fri 04-Jan-13 20:14:14

Having not seen the article, so can't comment fully but I'm not sure what the issue is?

In my house, all income goes into a joint bank a/c. If I didn't work, let's say my husband's income was £100 per month. If I went back to work, say earning £80 a month, then we have £180 in the pot each month. Say childcare is £40 a month, and my commuting cost is £20 a month. We as a family are better off by £20 a month. But if my salary was only £60 a month then I'm not bringing anything extra to the pot after the costs of me working are deducted. I'd have to ask myself if there was any point in working at all. Isn't this what most people mean by women paying for childcare ... because sometimes the sums don't just add up and the family would be worse off?

I admit I don't really get it when people don't have joint accounts for income and expenditure once you have children. My head hurts enough from juggling everything without having to deal with separate finances too!

Booyhoo Fri 04-Jan-13 18:13:53

what do you mean bonsoir? your house is tiny or your do the tasks of 20 people at the same time?

whatjobs are you accounting for?

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