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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.

kim147 Thu 03-Jan-13 23:09:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

qumquat Fri 04-Jan-13 14:34:29

I saw this in the Indie as well, made me mad.

samandi Fri 04-Jan-13 15:33:02

Presumably men don't have childcare costs hmm

Greythorne Fri 04-Jan-13 15:41:57


FestiviaBlueberry Fri 04-Jan-13 15:50:25

Of course men don't have childcare costs samandi.

What do you think women are for?


Bonsoir Fri 04-Jan-13 15:54:41

It shouldn't make you mad. It is basic management accounting.

If First Earner makes 100 and has a SAHP, when that SAHP decides to become Second Earner, the costs of replacing the SAHP at home must be deducted from the Second Earner's income in order to assess whether or not the Family will make a profit from having a Second Earner.

If Second Earner also earns 100, but the costs of childcare and tax (and possible other costs of working, such as commuting costs, clothing etc) are also 100...

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 15:57:00

It is sexist to assume that it will be the woman who would stay at home.

But it is not unreasonable to balance the earnings of the lower earner against childcare costs.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Fri 04-Jan-13 15:59:23

At the risk of pointing out the bleeding obvious (and in teh absence of a link I cannot find the article), doesn't the sexism lie in the assumption that "second earner" is necessarily the female? This might be the case in many households but not in mine, nor in some others I know.

Greythorne Fri 04-Jan-13 16:03:24

Again, this debate would be better with a link!

missorinoco Fri 04-Jan-13 16:05:31

I see where you are coming from, but I deduct childcare from my earnings when I consider how much we earn after childcare costs. I work part time, but if I hadn't wanted to drop my hours DH was happy to do so. In that event I would deduct the costs from his earnings.

I am aware though that I make these calculations on the basis that the childcare costs are not mine, they are both of ours. If DH assumed they were mine I would bluntly work out the total income and then deduct. (He only made the mistake of telling me he had helped with the housework once.)

It may be basic management accounting, and Bonsoir puts it far more elegantly than I do, but there is great potential for media spin on the "costs" of childcare.

Bonsoir Fri 04-Jan-13 16:10:47

Sometimes I add up the cost of replacing myself at home, just for the hell of it. I can do the adding, but what I cannot do is fit all the people in my home at the same time because I would need separate people to do all the jobs I do simultaneously...

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Fri 04-Jan-13 18:09:18

buy a bigger house?

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?

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!

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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 09:47:00

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.

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.

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?

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