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To think it is possible to improve the life of millions of women in the UK?

(32 Posts)
Canwechangeit Thu 16-Feb-17 19:42:45

Today I talked to a friend about the precarious (ok, shitty) situation of millions of women in the UK. Mainly, about crap maternity leaves (pay-wise), badly paid paternity leaves, extortionate childcare cost forcing so many women to become SAHM for years and face unemployment or lower paid positions when they want to return to work, making them vulnerable and often dependant on their partner (mostly financially), having no pension (or a very low one) because of the long gap in their cv, and finally ending completely fucked if their partner leaves them (extra points if he refuses to pay maintenance).

So we moaned about it. And moaned. And asked ourselves if it has to be that way.

How would we want to change it?
-fully paid parental leave for both parents (as men are generally better paid than women - another sore point - this might encourage them to take a few months of parental leave and spend some 1:1 time with their children thus encouraging bonding and making them apprwciate the hard work of a SAHP)
- affordable childcare (maybe depending on parents' income, like in France?)
- much better enforcement of child maintenance leading to a stigma on parents wriggling out of payments

Now I do realise that it would cost money, be difficult to introduce etc. But is there support for such an initiative? How doable would such an action be? Would you sign a petition if we started it? What kind of oroblems can you foresee?

I have never done anything like that (I mean never went beyond passionate discussions) and would welcome your thoughts on that. Could we really change things?

DJBaggySmalls Thu 16-Feb-17 19:47:27

I would sign a petition for those changes, especially the once concerning child support. The CSA was supposed to sort that problem out 20 years ago, we're still waiting.

Birdsgottaf1y Thu 16-Feb-17 19:51:18

I think the start goes beyond this.

There's been a lot in the news about why the U.K. Has allowed the introduction of Zero hour contracts and unstable rentals.

DJBaggySmalls Thu 16-Feb-17 19:58:19

Zero hour contracts should be illegal IMO. Everyone who starts a new job should get a fixed hour, fixed pay contract. Then if they dont get tax credits they can volunteer for overtime.

FlouncingInAWinterWonderland Thu 16-Feb-17 20:17:57

I like the principal and I've always felt if parents were all paid similar for parental leave it would help level the playing field and possibly stop some instances of women being overlooked for promotion because they might have a baby, when a man is in theory as likely to take the leave.

I don't think the economy could cope with heavily subsidising childcare at present but do wonder if some kind of childcare loan type system could stagger the cost of childcare over a career rather than making it unviable for the lower earner to work. Rather like student loans repayments this could be earnings based so the lowest earners may never pay back, some would partially and many would completely. However society would benefit because even those who didn't fully pay back would be financially contributing, even if topped up to a sustainable lifestyle (tax, ni etc) rather than potentially taking out in benefits to be better off not working.

Child maintenance needs a society attitude shift. How many women are judged as a single mum, how many absentee dads are judged? People may see the single mum struggling at the supermarket with tired child she has to take with her but the absentee dad isn't visibly an absentee dad. Maybe if employers had some onus put on them to ask no. and ages of children and missrecording became a criminal offense and child maintenan e was automatically deducted at source. Maybe if you become a parent your childs records could become linked with your NI number as part of recording the birth.

BadKnee Thu 16-Feb-17 20:23:00

I'd sign a petition abut specifics.

I would give the CSA real teeth - like it has in some other countries . I would deduct money from wages so that fathers had to pay for the children they created. And it would have to go with the mother naming the father on the birth certificate.

I agree about dual parental pay and leave too. But women also have to take responsibility and not have kids with a man before they have a pretty good idea of what he is like and some finance in place.

StealthPolarBear Thu 16-Feb-17 20:25:06

Flouncubg, some brilliant ideas!

BadKnee Thu 16-Feb-17 20:27:17

Brilliant idea re childcare loan system Flouncing - just brilliant. That would have meant I could have stayed working.

scaryteacher Thu 16-Feb-17 20:27:41

I think we get better maternity time and pay than much of the EU.

www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/may/25/brexit-annual-parental-leave-working-time-directive

www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/03/22/mapped-which-two-eu-countries-beat-the-uk-for-the-best-maternity/

We also get the chance to have job shares. I went back on a job share in 96 after maternity leave.

Paternity leave shouldn't be compulsory; dh couldn't have done it as he was at sea. Who would fund the fully paid mat leave?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 16-Feb-17 20:28:38

I too think the CSA needs some teeth.

You will need to define what you mean by "woman" first though...

KayTee87 Thu 16-Feb-17 20:29:51

Well people would have to pay more tax and no one (including me) wants to... although I agree in principle.

BadKnee Thu 16-Feb-17 20:30:44

Also absolutely agree about the linking of NI numbers to your kids. Too many fathers pay nothing. You should be Minister for Children or something Flouncing

SprogletsMum Thu 16-Feb-17 20:32:18

The childcare loan is inspired. With 4 dc childcare costs will make working seriously not worth it. But if I could get that childcare loan and spread the cost I would go back to work and then earn much more over my lifetime.

NotMeNoNo Thu 16-Feb-17 20:35:19

I think we should campaign to get men /dads to get their work life balance right, to take childcare seriously and housework, to start asking for flexible working and leaving at 5 to pick up. Then it won't be seen as a women's problem only.

Malermalergoni Thu 16-Feb-17 20:36:46

I really like the idea of the childcare loan.

FlouncingInAWinterWonderland Thu 16-Feb-17 20:36:55

Oh and to add to the childcare loan theory, it could be split between the parents 50/ 50 so absentee parent who doesn't provide this support would still share this responsibility and this would continue to afterschool and breakfast clubs etc as one loan account per child throughout their childhood.

BadKnee Thu 16-Feb-17 20:39:45

Yes so the responsibility for repayment doesn't only rest with the woman. Makes complete sense. Linked to pay/ NI number

FanDabbyFloozy Thu 16-Feb-17 20:44:43

I love the idea of a childcare loan.. If you just charge based on the parental income, there is little incentive to try to improve earning potential, which hurts women more than men.

I also think women need to stop this SAHM v WOTH debate. Men don't give a fig but we tie ourselves up in guilt regardless of what we choose. Let's high-five the choices of other females and stop trying to make everything perfect. Guess what, life isn't perfect and never will be.

PencilsInSpace Thu 16-Feb-17 20:50:09

I like these ideas but I have one concern with affordable childcare. It absolutely should be affordable but at the same time, childcare is a very low paid, female dominated industry. I'm concerned that demands for more affordable childcare will drive/keep down wages and employment conditions for some of the poorest women. I'd like that to be properly addressed in any proposals.

PencilsInSpace Thu 16-Feb-17 20:52:54

Childcare loan could work.

Solasum Thu 16-Feb-17 20:56:38

Childcare loan sounds fantastic.

TheNaze73 Thu 16-Feb-17 20:59:43

I think the childcare loan option is viable. I don't however, think it's down to the already heavily burdened 50% of the people in the UK that pay for everything for everyone else, to pick up even more of the tab. Good sentiment but, unworkable

Somerville Thu 16-Feb-17 21:00:38

Flouncing - Childcare loan is truly inspired. 50% of it charged to NRP's. And make non-payment of maintenance a criminal offence, with big campaigns to influence public opinion, like with drink driving.

RB68 Thu 16-Feb-17 21:02:34

Makes sense until people are self employed or run their own co and min salary and maximum dividends etc. I think this is more where the issue is with many people being self employed - think painters and decorators, plumbers, electricians, lorry drivers, many consultants, facilitators, trainers and so on so it is a large and increasing part of our economy that is being encouraged by a hire em fire em attitude and an avoidance of employees in a smaller companies due to the NI and Tax and now pensions and other responsibilities employees are extremely expensive. I also believe there is alot of "hiding" of income by absent parents (not just men) and it is seen as socially the norm to avoid paying too much to the ex - rather than seeing it as funding children. Children are flipping expensive as is childcare - when you think uniform, coats, shoes, pocket money, presents and the society of today where it is seen as acceptable to ask for expensive presents putting pressure on parents. I also see parents not sharing the buying of presents - so both end up buying (well half the time they don't even talk to each other so buying presents together is a step to far!). I do like the idea of childcare loans but also what you choose as childcare makes a difference on cost so maybe limit what those loans are rather than them covering total cost - ie I can afford half a Nanny but ex partner can't but are still lumbered with that cost because of the loan system.

I think the raising of children is over burdensome on women and yes their lower incomes and more restricted hrs because of childcare issues

BadKnee Thu 16-Feb-17 22:14:13

RB68 is right about hiding income and about the burden of childcare falling mostly on women.

Difficult to get round the hiding of income - although not impossible.

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