R4 Womens Hour, young women preferring to stay at home?

(84 Posts)
WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Wed 13-Jan-16 19:47:04

Hi just wondering if anyone else was listening to Womens Hour today?

There was a really interesting article on younger women choosing not to work.
I was busy (meant to be working) whilst listening so I didn't give it the attention it deserved. I think they were saying that young women are choosing more any more to stay at home with their kids.
Seems they have seen their mums trying to have it all / do it all and decided it's best to stay at home.

Im sure that the lack of well paid part time work and stupidly expensive child care is having an impact. Anyone else hear the broadcast and was hopefully paying attention unlike me

tribpot Wed 13-Jan-16 19:49:38

Here is the episode - you can fast forward specifically to this article using 'Chapters' further down the page. Just listening to it now.

tribpot Wed 13-Jan-16 20:03:34

I've got nearly to the end and I'm flabbergasted to hear one of the speakers casually mention that the of the surveyed group 24% of the women were parents and 1% of the men were. This strikes me as a hugely flawed piece of research - we're making comparisons between parents and non-parents and calling them comparisons between women and men.

That said, since only 24% of the women were parents, the more relevant findings may be the anecdotal evidence of women being funnelled into a narrower range of career options, and ones where progression (and indeed flexible working) may be limited.

There was no discussion of the apparent finding that the women surveyed thought working mothers were irresponsible and both speakers seemed more interested in discussing how employment opportunities for young men and young women could be improved - good for them. I was expecting at least one of them to be of the opinion that women should want to stay at home but this didn't seem to be the point of the discussion.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Wed 13-Jan-16 20:04:38

I got too annoyed by it and turned it over.

otterlylovely Wed 13-Jan-16 20:06:35

It hugely frustrates me that women's hour confuses parenting issues with women's issues. That aside, doesn't it depend on how we define a young woman?

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Wed 13-Jan-16 20:11:27

This strikes me as a hugely flawed piece of research - we're making comparisons between parents and non-parents and calling them comparisons between women and men

Yes I think that's a good point (I've had a re listen).
I was alarmed about what was said about the careers advice being given to young women. I honestly thought things might have improved on that front but it sounds like things have gone backwards.

iPaid Wed 13-Jan-16 20:42:55

Maybe some young women don't want to be parted from their young children for several hours every day. Maybe they don't think a nursery is a good environment for young children to spend a large part of their day. Perhaps they don't want to pay another woman to look after their child when they'd rather be doing it themselves.

I'm a feminist and see nothing wrong with women making such choices.

tribpot Wed 13-Jan-16 20:50:53

I'm a feminist and see nothing wrong with women making such choices.

Neither do I. But I grow increasingly tired of this discussion never asking whether men want to make those choices. In the case of this piece on Woman's Hour the question is irrelevant since they seem to have forgotten to survey any male parents.

However, despite the headline the discussion on R4 focused much more on barriers to young people finding work, rather than a side question about the role of SAHP.

WombOfOnesOwn Wed 13-Jan-16 21:12:20

When women who do work outside the home are still expected to do much more housework than their also-working husbands -- when "equality" just means "get a job plus keep doing what you were doing" -- is it any shock that some women would prefer the "old" arrangement?

BungoWomble Thu 14-Jan-16 07:32:56

What exactly do they mean by 'choosing'?

You could say I 'chose' to give up work when my second child was born. In reality, the cost of childcare would have been more than my wages. I wasn't on minimum wage, closer to median.

I hear comments from middle class rich people about being 'lucky enough' to be able to give up work, no, down here in the land of ordinary wages I would have been paying to work.

I now would love to go back to work, but since I used to work in the public sector and that has been slashed there is a problem. Also most jobs available are not compatible with school hours so I would need to a) find and b) pay for childcare for both after school and during school holidays. If there is any need to travel I need to factor travel time and costs. That makes a hell of a lot of low paid work barely worth doing.

The problem as the program seems to infer is not women's choices, it is this FUCKING SHIT SOCIETY which makes work not pay any more while the rich get ever richer. And the only answer of the rich and privileged is to blame the poor even more and kick them harder - to the extent of sanctioning state soonsored manslaughter as a price worth paying - while deliberately espousing policies which makes the cost of living climb higher and climber.

Well that's my blood good and hot for the cold morning.

BungoWomble Thu 14-Jan-16 07:36:11

And yes it was my career that got sacrificed rather than husbands becuase I was doing public sector, socially useful work and therefore low paid work, while his male-dominated IT work is paid much higher. Plus the public sector is being slashed anyway, my job was going to go sooner or later.

WhirlwindHugs Thu 14-Jan-16 07:43:16

I've been a SAHM since I was 22 because I was then on not much more than NMW (despite being a graduate - was in a caring sector) and childcare costs would have crippled our finances. DH was earning twice as much as a graduate in a STEM field.

I went to an all girls school and am totally capable of doing a STEM job but wasn't supported in doing this by the school as they presented these as only for the brightest of the bright...

WordGetsAround Thu 14-Jan-16 07:45:31

But BungoWomble, you wouldn't be paying to work as the childcare costs should be covered by both you and your children's father. It is important that WE don't fall into the trap of assuming sole / main responsibility for our children a including the cost of childcare.

For me, feminism is about choice. I chose to give up a professional career to look after my children in their preschool years. In my experience, those households where two parents work live at the extremes of life - on a knife edge of childcare / household responsibilities etc. That's too stressful for me!

WhirlwindHugs Thu 14-Jan-16 07:48:54

Word - personally once we'd sorted childcare, transport etc I would have been earning minus money. DH was not earning a huge amount either, we wouldn't have been able to feed ourselves and pay the rent if I had gone back to work.

It's not about childcare being seen as the women's responsibility, it's about wages being so incredibly low compared to living costs.

tribpot Thu 14-Jan-16 07:52:57

Well I can assure you (as I'm sure your DH has) that STEM jobs are not for the brightest of the bright. There are some unbelievably thick people in extremely senior positions, the same as any other industry. (I'm not saying you're unbelievably thick of course, just pointing out there is the same range of competence and intelligence as you would find anywhere).

The programme did briefly touch on the problem the male respondents also reported, which seemed to be that if you came to training late (e.g. you'd gone off the rails a bit the way many late teens/early twenties do) it was very much harder to get back in. All in all the message seemed to be that we're not supporting young people enough to find meaningful work.

BoGrainger Thu 14-Jan-16 07:54:59

I hope that young mothers aren't getting sucked into the epidemic MLM craze with the tag lines of earn lots of money/stay at home with your children/work in your PJs with a laptop etc

WhirlwindHugs Thu 14-Jan-16 07:59:21

I know that now trib! I just wish I'd known that when I was 17! Would have done a different degree instead of assuming I wasn't smart enough.

WhirlwindHugs Thu 14-Jan-16 08:00:28

And Bo, unfortunately I have seen lots of young mothers get sucked into MLM scams.

lighteningirl Thu 14-Jan-16 08:01:51

I'm cost me to work whilst my dc were younger but that cost was temporary. I would have been better off on benefits as a lone parent but I chose to work as again that was temporary. I really don't understand the idea that a few years of child care costs mean you can't work. I admit have been exceptionally lucky worked my arse off and always run my own businesses I have never been employed so maybe my drive is different. Child care costs exist get over it and get on with it. The truth is men don't bleat about it so neither should we, if your dp doesn't do his 'share' why have kids with him?

absolutelynotfabulous Thu 14-Jan-16 08:02:11

I agree, bungo. For many women, work doesn't pay.

tribpot Thu 14-Jan-16 08:10:40

Whirlwind - plenty of ways into STEM without an IT degree, mine is in Spanish! (I appreciate the only thing stopping you from going after a STEM career now isn't your degree choice, but just mentioning that for the future).

Fourormore Thu 14-Jan-16 08:13:35

I get so frustrated hearing "childcare isn't just the woman's responsibility, it should come out of the fathers wages too". It doesn't make any sense to me unless you have totally separate finances. Whoever's wages it comes out of, as a family, with more than 2 children needing childcare, you're often worse off with both parents working.

I've been a SAHM on and off since I was 18. I do it because I believe it's in the best interests of my children. It makes sense for me to be off rather than my husband because I breastfeed. I also don't think you can "have it all" as it was sold to me as a girl and I don't want the lifestyle that comes with trying to.

Thankfully, I had my children young and got a degree while they were at school which means that I can now build up a career for myself.

I actually feel like choosing to stay at home is quite a feminist decision these days. I see myself as rejecting the pressure to have a job alongside having children.

My only regret is that it has impacted our ability to buy a house.

PalmerViolet Thu 14-Jan-16 08:40:34

I actually feel like choosing to stay at home is quite a feminist decision these days. I see myself as rejecting the pressure to have a job alongside having children.

There are various feminist groups that would agree with you. Even some quite radical ones.

futureme Thu 14-Jan-16 08:50:54

I'm glad I stayed home but unlike previous poster didn't have kids v young. I think starting a career when you're in late 20s/early 30s after having kids young is easier than trying to retrain in 40s. Presumably you know what you want and what will fit in with kids then.

It wasn't really in my social circle to have kids young but now I'm in an area where most do (and stay at home initially or get part time jobs while nan babysits) I can kind of see the advantage.

Plateofcrumbs Thu 14-Jan-16 09:11:27

That 24% women 1% men thing was referring to the reasons why young people are economically inactive - amongst economically inactive young people, 24% of the women were parents (I assume they meant SAHP) but only 1% of men were. That's reflected the situation amongst the population, not who they chose to survey in the research. I think those statistics were quite separate from the survey of young women's attitudes.

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