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Hilary Devey

(29 Posts)
Numberlock Sun 17-Mar-13 21:20:45

Quote from today's Observer. What do you think?

The glass ceiling does not exist. You find a good woman in business and she'll often be better than a man – the problem is finding them. I can't get any women on my board because women generally put their partner and children first.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 14:22:09


And the thing is, I think sometimes they are, but they still don't get penalized for it because there is the expectation that women are inefficient workers because they'll have kids.

AbigailAdams Mon 18-Mar-13 14:10:40

I would also be asking the question as to why men aren't putting their partners and children first.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 09:00:50

How do you mean about equal earning potential, though, number? Because, say for the sake of argument that DH and I were both doing what I do, were the same age, were doing equally well right now. Would we have the same earning potential? Well, you could say yes, we do, we're trying for jobs that have the same salaries and equally likely to get them.

But, statistically, we know women tend actually to end up earning less in the same jobs, and not progressing up the career ladder - and it isn't because all of them decide they want children so they will go part-time. Even women who don't have children suffer from this effect.

So, by 'equal earning potential', you'd have to mean a woman in a better job than her male partner, or who was much better at it than him (or older, so further up the ladder?), right?

I'm sure there are couples in that situation, but it seems to me most of us won't be.

Separate issue - but something that I think matters a huge amount is that, if someone like me or mystery decides to have kids, we can plan all we like and both of us can say 'oh, yes, I want to go straight back to work and DH will stay home', but we can't know we will be fit to do that. If a man's partner has a child, that man knows for certain that nothing in the process of childbirth is going to make him unfit for work. Sure, all sorts of unforeseen things could happen, he could end up a single dad with a baby, or caring for a child with needs that hadn't been anticipated. He will certainly end up knackered.

But a woman goes into it knowing there's a chance she'll end up having major surgery or complications, and knowing there's a chance she'll get PND.

At the moment, the structure of a lot of workplaces (all?) just isn't geared up for that. Devey's language about depression shows her ignorance here, and her language about women 'putting their partner and children first' suggests that's the only possible reason women don't get back into work. But what about those women who're forced, for medical reasons, to put themselves first and to take time to recover from an illness? In her world view, these women either don't exist, or she's subsuming them into the category of women who 'put their partner and children first', as if women looking after their own health were actually doing it for someone else and therefore culpable of failing in the business world. That's pretty unpleasant, IMO.

mysterymeg Mon 18-Mar-13 07:16:55

My career comes before my husband's. When our baby is born I will have some mat leave then return to work full time at which point DH will become a SAHD.

We have arranged it this way as 1) I earn more 2) I am more ambitious 3) he will bea better stay at home parent than I would be. Btw that is not to say he will be a better parent just that he will enjoy being able to stay at home with them more then I would.

I have colleagues who have made the same choices. I think that this is actually on the up. I think that it does depend on finding a partner who is willing to take a back seat career wise. A lot of men are still uncomfortable with the idea of their partners earning more etc.

However if a woman decides that she wants to put her career second to her husband's because that is what is best for her and her family than that is the right decision for her. Every relationship would do this differently I think.

Bit of a rambly post sorry. Still new to posting in fwr.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 18-Mar-13 02:03:32

I like controversy-seeking missile as a description!

Will read the article properly tomorrow to comment.

Numberlock Mon 18-Mar-13 00:59:39

In my opinion it makes a difference because no one party has less or more to gain when they come from an equal financial point of view.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 00:55:36

(Btw, sorry, I am asking this because I don't know, not because I am trying to be combative ... I am falling asleep here so hope that didn't sound rude before.)

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 00:54:18

Does that make a big difference?

Numberlock Mon 18-Mar-13 00:52:52

Yes I admit I am coming at it from couples where each originally had equal earning potential.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 00:50:33

Well, it's outside my experience and I'm not slating ... but I do wonder if they are 'making it so easy'. I mean, isn't there a point where you simply can't afford to fight?

It's easy for me to say my career matters more than DH's. We don't have kids who depend on us. In the end, it doesn't matter much. But if we had three children, I can see why we might care hugely about money - don't you think?

Obviously it'd be great if that could go alongside promoting women's careers but my hunch is this has to happen on a bigger level than individual couples.

Numberlock Mon 18-Mar-13 00:47:19

I meant that a woman with children AND a partner stop it making it so easy for their partners but yes I will get slated won't I...

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 00:40:48

But how could women 'take responsibility', given that we know childless women are judged?

I have no children. It seems possible I will never have children. But it is still assumed by employers, on average, that I deserve to be paid less than a man ... because I might have children and I might give up work to care for them.

Explain how I could possibly 'take responsibility' for that?

Numberlock Mon 18-Mar-13 00:37:55

I think that women need to take some responsibility and perhaps there's some truth in Hilary's statement.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 00:34:26

Well, I think it partly is, but it's misogyny that blames the women in this situation. We could live in a society where no-one assumes women would bear the brunt of childcare, where childcare wasn't a woman's issue. I think if we did, it would be much better.

Numberlock Mon 18-Mar-13 00:32:26

But that's surely the reason for why we're in a male dominated society work wise?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 00:24:39

Oh, yes. I think that's common - it's hard not to, surely?

I mean, what is the alternative? One partner or other has to put their career on hold, unless one or both earn over the threshold to afford huge amounts of help. And we know childless women are discriminated against in terms of salary, so it is likely that even before a couple have children, it will make financial sense for the woman to sacrifice her career.

Numberlock Mon 18-Mar-13 00:21:21

Yes but some women put their careers on hold to allow their partners unlimited hours and travel.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 18-Mar-13 00:18:27

I don't. I don't mean I sabotage it or anything, but I don't do anything to help. He wouldn't want me to, either.

Numberlock Mon 18-Mar-13 00:15:06

So some women don't enable their partner's career progression?

TheSmallClanger Sun 17-Mar-13 23:29:27

Controversy-seeking missile. She's getting quite irritating now.

Her comment about depression is extremely ignorant.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sun 17-Mar-13 23:08:01

they're soundbites, she's drumming up business for her tv show. She is a very tough woman.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 17-Mar-13 22:53:16

I'm more offended by her comment on depression. Not because it's more wrong, I know - I just am. She is trying to be provocative, isn't she? Is her company in trouble that she needs to do this?

Numberlock Sun 17-Mar-13 22:49:48

Here's the full article.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sun 17-Mar-13 22:45:09

In her autobiography she talks about workplace sexism and intimidation , and the issues she had with her partner and her son. Bearing in mind how she describes her own experience as a woman I would be interested to see the whole Observer article, she got to the top but what she went through has destroyed others.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sun 17-Mar-13 22:28:39

You hear that shit so often 'women prefer family to career'. It's put down to 'hardwiring' (hate that fucking phrase, it means nothing) rather than culture which is so disingenuous and lazy.

And why don't they question why women at the top are 'often better than men', seems pretty clear to me; because they've had to work harder/study more to get to the same point.

Pretty clear to see when you don't have your head stuck up your arse <angry tonight>

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