Talk

Advanced search

To think the future for women in the work place is looking pretty bleak at the moment?

(352 Posts)
KittyRainbow Sat 23-May-20 15:22:23

Just that really. While I understand why certain measures are being taken to slow the spread of C19. I am struggling with how much more it is affecting me than my husband.

We both work full time, and have 3 DC (nursery, primary and early secondary age) We have always had a pretty equal approach to childcare, taking turns with sick days, appointments etc but he does earn 3 times what I do (despite me having more education and better qualifications than him)

My eldest (12) will not be going back to school until September and we have been told that it will likely be part time in school, part time learning at home.
Likewise my middle, who starts reception in September. Again we've been told it will likely be part time. My youngest attends 2 childcare settings. She is only allowed to return to one for now and neither can take her full time.

My husband is due back at work from furlough FT from June 1st. My work have been great, I am currently working FT at home and they've been very understanding so far (helps that he's been on furlough as he has been able to take the children away for conference calls etc) and have no concerns about me being lone carer from June.

BUT they've said that they will expect people to be back in the office from Sept. Most of my colleagues are men and are fine with that.

I will not be able to do that unless schools and nurseries go back FT. Almost every woman I know is in the same boat. Even my secondary age child will need input at home. There is 0 chance she will sit and do school work if she is left at home alone. The smaller two obviously need constant supervision. Husband's work cannot be done from home. Mine can but not with the children around.

AIBU to think that all of the PT school/childcare etc is going to affect women far more than men, and to think that moving forward we will see a trend towards far less women in the workplace?

AmNot Sat 23-May-20 15:35:14

There's a near identical thread like this started today. I think it depends what your situation is and that of your family/social group.

All the women I know are nurses/teachers/police/probation and have been working throughout even if WFH and all our jobs are (currently) much more secure than the DPs/DHs that have been furloughed.

AlaskaThunderfuckHiiiiiiiii Sat 23-May-20 15:39:37

Same here OP I’ve got myself tied up in knots. I work in community nursing already on flexible working policy, DH works away a lot which is unlikely to change and he makes the most money which pays for the house etc. Really don’t know how I’m going to manage with half weeks in or different weeks etc as I have 3 DC all different age groups/years ranging from 5 years old to 11! My off duty’s are done months in advance now as well due to the virus

AlaskaThunderfuckHiiiiiiiii Sat 23-May-20 15:40:49

I also should have said my kids have been going to to hub for the last 3 weeks now, DH was furloughed for 6 weeks but is now back to work which is preferable to being paid off. My parents are in their 50s both work full time and PILs both work as well

beargrass Sat 23-May-20 15:43:19

If nurseries can't cover costs and go under - that's the bottom rung off the ladder and it goes from there, no matter what job you need to go back to, unless you find a nanny I suppose. But there aren't enough of them and even if your local nursery staff become childminders, again, it won't fill the gap left by nursery closures if they go bust.

BumpBundle Sat 23-May-20 16:04:22

This is literally identical to the other thread this morning. There's no reason women are effected more. Just read the other thread.

BendingSpoons Sat 23-May-20 16:08:40

It is a bit rubbish but depends on the decisions you have made. In our house, I am the higher earner and the less flexible job, DH would have to be more flexible with his work. I realise it is more common for the woman to have the lower paid, part time job though.

Drainedbeyondbeleaf1 Sat 23-May-20 16:15:00

I agree op, I wfh but absolutely can’t with my small kids at home. Same situation here with no school until September and talk of part-time and blended learning so homeschooling some days. No family help here either.
I just don’t get it tbh, surely it’s obvious that loads of people can’t work with small kids out of school.
And no, school is not childcare but obviously a lot of people use the time their kids are in school to work.
Also the logistics of it all...drop one dc for a half-day ( including the driving, parking etc) , drop another down for the other half of the day, various pick ups, no idea how preschool will operate. Also all the while some kids are in school, others are at home etc.
It just doesn’t even seem possible in this situation . I’m still hoping so hard that things change a lot with this virus in 3 months ( it is a long time) and maybe ( probably delusional here) it might have been repressed. Otherwise there will be widespread poverty and a huge reliance on benefits..

PersephoneandHades Sat 23-May-20 16:18:21

I agree with you completely and there are many proven reasons why women are affected more. All of those reasons existed before Covid though, this pandemic is just making them more obvious

RoomR0613 Sat 23-May-20 16:25:16

There's no reason women are effected more

There shouldn't be a reason why women are affected more in a truly equal society but in reality there are many reasons why they actually are, mostly that they are primarily the main carers of young children who can't be left to their own devices.

It's disingenuous to suggest that this is not disproportionately impacting women with young children. It is and just because SOME fathers are taking over the primary care role doesn't make it not so.

KittyRainbow Sat 23-May-20 16:35:38

I've read the other thread now. Sorry didn't see it before.

I'm afraid my main takeaway from that was surprise at how many people genuinely believe their life choices are made outside of any societal influence. It's like a sweet bedtime story that people tell themselves so they feel better. Odd.

I mean, I earned more than husband in a better job before I had children. Do people genuinely believe that my career stagnated afterward because I chose to let it? Or is it more likely that societies overall view of women as 'carers' had an effect on those choices?

Drainedbeyondbeleaf1 Sat 23-May-20 16:45:42

Sorry I didn’t address the issue of women being affected more, it was more a general point on the total lack of childcare issue. The above poster /\ makes a very good point.
Why is the lack of childcare, not only from September but all summer long not being discussed more in the media etc?

Pelleas Sat 23-May-20 16:52:09

I'm afraid my main takeaway from that was surprise at how many people genuinely believe their life choices are made outside of any societal influence.

It is a choice to let yourself be influenced by society, though. Plenty of people don't. It's not mandatory to have children and it's not mandatory to be their main carer if you do. Shared parental leave is available now so women have the option of splitting this with their partner rather than taking a full 9 months/12 months maternity leave.

FlowerArranger Sat 23-May-20 17:04:24

You earned more than him before you had children, and you are more educated and better qualified. And yet you now earn only a third of what he earns, despite working full-time. I am fully aware that the playing field is still nowhere near even, and being a working mother continues to be a struggle, but I don't see how you can blame society. At some point YOU must have made decisions which lead you to where you are now.

TabbyStar Sat 23-May-20 17:06:43

I also earned more when we had DD. My first choice was for XP and I to share childcare and work.

Unfortunately it didn't turn out like that, so my choice became working long-ish hours and DD being left in childcare a lot and being able to progress more career-wise (but probably only so far anyway as I would always need to cope with unexpected situations) or take a step away/down and have DD have a parent around more of the time, so although I made a choice it definitely wasn't the one I originally wanted to make. Lots of women are in this situation.

RoomR0613 Sat 23-May-20 17:13:02

Pelleas sorry but that's just not true. Choice is a privilege and a luxury that's afforded to very few people, mostly through luck or wealth.

Away from mumsnet world where everyone isn't university educated, white-ish with middle class jobs and feminist husbands, earning enough for decent childcare and cleaners - Genuine choice for many women is an illusion, a fallacy.

Caelano Sat 23-May-20 17:16:33

@Pelleas and @FlowerArranger agree. Of course decisions aren’t made in isolation of social structures (same goes for men) but we do have agency over our own lives and choices to a large degree too.

Women certainly have more choices open to them Now than at any time in history. It’s a very good point that shared parental leave has been available for several years now but the take up is really low. The mother has the choice over whether to share it and I know plenty of women who don’t want to. It’s all very well to talk of equality but you can’t just cherry pick the bits you want.
I also think that a woman who is well qualified and out earns her partner pre children and then within a few years is working full time for only a third of his income must have made some decisions along the way which contribute to that situation- perhaps taking an extended period out of the workplace or choosing not to go for promotions while the partner did.

It’s not about any particular decision being wrong. It’s that you can’t expect decisions not to have a knock on.

Pelleas Sat 23-May-20 17:18:59

Choice is a privilege and a luxury that's afforded to very few people, mostly through luck or wealth.

Well, I am firmly working class and I chose not to have children. Anyone can make that choice. I agree in some cultures it may be difficult for a woman to have a free choice of husband, but in cultures where arranged marriages aren't an expectation, any woman is free to remain single if no sufficiently 'feminist' partners come along. Childcare wouldn't be needed if the male partner was willing to become the main carer so earnings would be irrelevant.

NailsNeedDoing Sat 23-May-20 17:21:25

Is genuine choice for men really any greater though? How easy is it for most of themto choose to work part time so that they can spend more time at home with the dc and let their partner do the earning?

Pelleas Sat 23-May-20 17:25:42

How easy is it for most of themto choose to work part time so that they can spend more time at home with the dc and let their partner do the earning?

We don't have children but my husband works part time. It's really easy - you just look for part time jobs not full time jobs.

VerticalHorizon Sat 23-May-20 17:25:45

I think it's 50/50.
Absolutely some professions are predominantly occupied by women, and other by men.

There's a counter argument to yours that a lot of office staff are female and able to work from home, while of a lot of manual labour is male, and they are unable to work, or risk redundancy on a greater scale.

As it stands right now, I don't think it's really possible to say it's affecting one more than another, merely there are persuasive arguments for both.

RoomR0613 Sat 23-May-20 17:30:23

I chose not to have children. Anyone can make that choice

this may come as a shock to you but actually not everyone can. The lack of acknowledgement of just how dangerous or ostracising terminating a pregnancy could be for some women is breathtaking. It was only made legal in Ireland very recently after all.

Childcare wouldn't be needed if the male partner was willing to become the main carer so earnings would be irrelevant only the roles traditionally held by women still largely pay less than those held by men. Compare the pay for care workers in comparison to road workers or bin collectors. In like for like roles men still often out earn women and therefore remain the higher earners of the family unit.

It must be wonderful to live in your world where none of this is relevant to you.

puffinandkoala Sat 23-May-20 17:30:27

I'm afraid my main takeaway from that was surprise at how many people genuinely believe their life choices are made outside of any societal influence

Women are conditioned to think a man has to take care of them.

Men are conditioned to think they have to be the big man and breadwinner.

And so we reach a situation where the main childcare burden is on women. Not just because schools always call mums first, and dads' employers expect mums to collect kids first, but because women want their "man" to earn more than they do because they want to be looked after.

There's an easy solution! Tell your daughters that they are their own people and they do not need a rich husband to look after them. It's very nice to have pots of household money, but it's better to rely on yourself, and then also means childcare issues are more equal.

How many women on here say "I would work but childcare costs are too high". It's always seen as a mother's cost and not a household cost.

TabbyStar Sat 23-May-20 17:30:28

* Is genuine choice for men really any greater though? How easy is it for most of themto choose to work part time so that they can spend more time at home with the dc and let their partner do the earning?*

My XP could have done, he didn't want to. Like lots of men IME.

I think there is the element though that men are still brought up to focus more on careers, to ask for more money and to be looked on more favourably when they do ask for more. Also to go into work with higher earning potential to some degree, e.g. science, engineering and maths-based.

Pelleas Sat 23-May-20 17:46:33

It must be wonderful to live in your world where none of this is relevant to you.

I don't think you have any idea what 'world' I live in. If a man has a higher paying job than his female partner, it's still the couple's choice to take the better lifestyle offered by the higher income.

As for terminating a pregnancy - being childfree doesn't have to involve having abortions. If you are part of a culture where you can choose your partner/husband, agree all this before you marry/move in together. If abortion isn't an option, one of you can be sterilised or you could agree that you'd have any child of the marriage adopted.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »