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Will true equality ever be achieved?

(81 Posts)
bridie69 Mon 28-Dec-15 11:16:55

By which I mean women are paid the same as men there are the same expectations on men and women re childcare, men are as expected as women to control their fertility, 50% of Parliament/Cabinet/G8 leaders women, women action heroes in media, no more unachievable body shapes in magazines, same prices for MOTs, etc etc. When I look at DD aged 21 I am horrified that many things have actually gone backwards for women. So, can we have hope that things will change anytime soon?

VintageDresses Mon 28-Dec-15 11:28:11

No because the majority (majority being 51%+) of women don't want it. Most women still want to be the primary carer. It's nothing to do with other's expectation of them, it's what they want. If the right to chose that goes, then nothing will have been achieved.

howtorebuild Mon 28-Dec-15 11:36:53

women still want to be the primary carer
Agreed.

thatstoast Mon 28-Dec-15 11:45:40

I agree that most women want to be the primary carer but I don't think it's unconnected to societal expectations or circumstances.

I think it's a long way off, unfortunately. I think there's very little incentive for women in the UK to think about equality. I don't think we have it and I want us to achieve it. I think most women think we have 'enough' and the rest isn't worth fighting for.

VintageDresses Mon 28-Dec-15 12:13:34

I disagree toast. I think that despite decades of society telling women they should want to contribute more at work and less at home and many believing that when they are young, when dc come along they find they actually want a far more "traditional" role than much of society approves of. They want to be primary carer despite a strong feeling of letting the side down.

It's not that women think the rest isn't worth fighting for, it's that they think their lives would be poorer if it were achieved.

enderwoman Mon 28-Dec-15 12:20:23

I think that true equality can not be reached until a few generation of men carrying a baby has passed. Once men carrying babies become the norm, more men will be taking caring duties for elderly relatives and taking part-time jobs. By then I think that society will be forced to respect and pay for caring duties.

Sadik Mon 28-Dec-15 12:27:20

I'd say not soon, but in the longer term I think it's impossible to tell.

Thinking how things have changed in the last 100 years, I wouldn't like to guess what will happen by the end of the 2100s. Even in a shorter time frame, I don't think when I was a teenager in the 1980s anyone would have imagined that two women (or two men) would be able to marry, for example.

It's a bit like capitalism: working against it may seem like a waste of time, but we'll never know unless we try.

GreenTomatoJam Mon 28-Dec-15 12:35:40

I'm afraid I think women need to take some responsibility here.

If you want to be primary carer, then you need to have discussed this with your partner, you need to come to a compromise, and you need to understand the risks you are taking with your financial security by doing so.

I'm also not certain of your stats. Out of 3 sisters with children, one wants to stay at home, one wants to work, and one would love to be able to do nothing all day, but shares caring for her kids and working with her partner pretty equally.

I think that women are complicated, and I'm not sure that it's as straightforward as 'women want to be primary carer' - I suspect that for a lot of women, they weigh up what they'd actually end up doing day in, day out, and decide that menial work at home is better than menial work for minimum wage out of home, plus that same menial work at home still - and that's because most men do not pull their weight domestically. The trouble being that if it falls apart, you've boosted your partners career and earnings at your career and earnings expense, and you'll suffer for it.

VintageDresses Mon 28-Dec-15 12:46:53

Absolutely women need to take responsibility for their own security. I've been the primary carer but that hasn't meant sahm,or only carer. Dh has done his bit but I've always led things re home and kids. I would have found it very difficult to "let" him do it. Almost all women i know feel the same, even those whose dhs are sahd have much greater input than the spouses of sahms.

I was fortunate to fall into a career where flexible working was possible and whilst I've had to fight for that at times and my career might have progressed more without dc, I've never been financially dependent.

I actually think one of the best changes that could be made would be to encourage girls to think about how their chosen career will fit with raising children. If they choose well on that score then being primary carer need not have (such) a detrimental effect on their career/earnings. But of course that would be a very unpopular move among feminists.

BartholinsSister Mon 28-Dec-15 12:57:09

It will be difficult to guarantee 50% of political leaders, so long as democracy puts them at the mercy of the electorate.

GreenTomatoJam Mon 28-Dec-15 13:17:48

I don't actually agree Vintage - I lead everything regarding kids and home - but I don't feel it's my right, I don't feel I should have to, and would happily leave DP to it, and I drag DP into doing stuff (or more often, just leave him to it - but then I've always been one to take a gamble, and I'm confident in my skills to fix things if something bad happens). I would be fine with an equality that meant we could both choose our strengths (once the kids are old enough, since no amount of equality would let DP breastfeed - or deal with his/my resulting engorgement if he did)

Most women I know don't want to be responsible for everything in the house - they've just found it has happened that way, and now their DP's don't even bother to try (and the women aren't willing to let the children miss out if for example they don't organise the birthday party and leave their DP to it).

VintageDresses Mon 28-Dec-15 13:19:49

Isn't that the same thing though? Those women need things re kids to be done the way they want them done whereas the men would be happy to let it slide.

VintageDresses Mon 28-Dec-15 13:31:46

I.e. You are effective choosing the primary carer role because you want things done your way, not the way dh would do it.

thatstoast Mon 28-Dec-15 13:58:55

Wouldn't it be better if the majority of jobs were compatible with having children? Rather than expecting young women to chose careers which fit in with children? What kind of career are you thinking of btw? I would say at the moment low paid part time jobs fit in with having children but should we be encouraging girls to actively aim for these?

Also, to pick up greentomatojam's point, I don't think it's about things being done to a higher level and so women refuse to let go of these tasks. I would like to think in a world where there is equality men wouldn't opt out of organising birthday parties, going to toddler group, learning to wrap up christmas presents in a pretty bow etc because they wouldn't have the idea, enforced by society, that it's not their job to do that.

VintageDresses Mon 28-Dec-15 14:02:39

If men and women both want stimulating demands careers, things like birthday parties and pretty bows will have to give. It's interesting that whilst claiming not to want all the caring responsibilities it's women who are not prepared to let that happen.

thatstoast Mon 28-Dec-15 14:08:35

I want men and women to have equal access to stimulating careers. I don't see why that means nobody is allowed to have birthday parties any more?

myfirstandonlylove Mon 28-Dec-15 14:12:29

I agree that all.jobs should be compatible with having children. And a radical change to childcare provision so women and men can choose when to have children and not worry to death about money and their careers about it. Many women in Denmark now have children from donor sperm and can then decide whether they want to have a man in their life or not. Far fat healthier I think than the outdated industrial revolution model of forced marriage female servitude and men slowly killing themselves at work.

VintageDresses Mon 28-Dec-15 14:13:53

Well unless you accept that both men and women will be paid less, who's going to pay for the shorter working day/week to make it possible?

But mostly how do you propose forcing men to care about these things? Dh isn't bothered enough to find the time to arrange it, I am so I do it. Doesn't make me a better person

thatstoast Mon 28-Dec-15 14:24:05

Why would men and women get paid less? We could have the same size work force as we have currently but the mix of men/women would be different. More men doing part time/sahp, more women being full time in higher paid jobs.

If we end up in a society where nobody cares about birthday parties then fair enough but I think if things were truly equal men would care just as much as women. Let's not dismiss all the things that women do as unimportant.

myfirstandonlylove, is that really true about denmark?

thatstoast Mon 28-Dec-15 14:29:36

Oops, misread your post as most women in Denmark use donor sperm.

Here's an article if anyone is interested:

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/14/no-stigma-single-mothers-denmark-solomors

"Denmark is famously family-friendly, with 52 weeks’ paid parental leave for a new baby and a generous welfare state paying three-quarters of the costs of childcare , enabling 85% of mothers to return to work."

GreenTomatoJam Mon 28-Dec-15 14:40:54

I think you're misunderstanding me.

If DP looks after the kids for the day, the chances are that unless they have to, they won't get dressed, leave the house and will eat god knows what, vs if they spend the day with me they'll be dressed, fed properly, and we'll probably go out and do something.

Your view on that seems to be that if I then took over, and spent all my time sorting it all out for them, that would be my free choice because I want my children to do stuff/eat meals on time. My view is that that is a cop out - that DP should be stepping up and looking after his kids to an acceptable standard, not expecting me to pick up the slack (and grumpiness) following a day doing bugger all (this is why DP does bedtime - he can reap what he sows).

Again, it's not me being controlling, it's about DP not pulling his weight. And that is my experience with most of the women I know. They don't want to be where the buck stops, then men are just taking advantage of the fact that they can get away with being responsible for nothing around the house/kids.

thatstoast Mon 28-Dec-15 14:46:28

greentomatojam, I'm sure you'll have someone come along soon to tell you this is your fault for picking such a poor husband but I completely understand your point and I think patriarchy facilitates an environment where men are able to opt out of child-rearing/household duties to an unacceptable level.

VintageDresses Mon 28-Dec-15 14:52:46

So you don't want equality toast, you want men to take on the low paid pt work women currently do?

Ultimately none of this can happen unless women are prepared to relinquish control over home and family, which is clear the women on this thread aren't prepared to do.

Seeyounearertime Mon 28-Dec-15 14:54:46

I don't know if we'll ever have true equality, I don't think I can even imagine true equality.

But in my very limited mind all I want for my DD is the freedom to do exactly what she wants. Thats it.
I don't mind if she chooses to have children get married and be a SAHM.
I don't mind if she wants to be a high flying city lawyer.
I don't mind I she wants to join the military and become a tank engineer.
Etc etc.
I want her to be free to do anything she wishes and I want the slary and support to be identical whether it's my DD or someone else's DS.
Does that make sense? Probably not. grin

GreenTomatoJam Mon 28-Dec-15 14:56:08

thatstoast - well yes, and it's true - and I'm lucky enough (and there was a lot of luck as well as hard work involved in my career) that if I wanted to, I could walk away and maintain my and my kids standard of living myself. I'm with my bone idle toad completely by choice (am I undermining myself by saying that smile )

Most women just aren't in that position though. Their hand is a bit more forced.

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