Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's babies, not discrimination, that's holding back women in the workplace

Says feminist.

Look, everything has an opportunity cost. If you want to raise junior yourself (which you should) then you will probably not be on track to be a CEO.

But guess what? You get to bear and breastfeed beautiful babies, which men don't get to do.

Across all professions, women’s careers take a nose dive the moment they reproduce. The full-time pay gap more than trebles for women in their thirties (from 3 per cent to 11 per cent), while the part-time pay gap increases from 23 per cent to 32 per cent.

For a certain kind of reactionary, this just proves that women aren’t cut out for the top jobs. Pop a baby in her arms and even the most ball-breaking career woman will suddenly find she longs to be at home all day, making organic finger food and mopping up organic vomit. It’s biology, innit?

Well, not exactly. What happens is this. From the moment you deliver your first child, and your husband is booted out of the hospital while you get on with the business of bonding, it is made very clear that child-rearing is women’s work.

Yeah because...women are programmed for it? Who has the boobs? Who has the maternal instincts? Who grows eyes in the back of their heads?

Sorry, women are wired to be the main caregiver.

Because you are at home, it makes sense for you to take on the endless admin: health checks, vaccinations, nursery registrations, interviewing nannies or childminders. It is up to you, too, to keep the little critter fed, clothed and entertained – and while you’re at it, you might as well do the shopping, cooking and tidying-up.

By the time your maternity leave is up, you’ll find you have been zapped back to the 1950s. You are something perilously close to a housewife,

Horrors!!! SHRIEK

while your man has become an old-fashioned, long-hours breadwinner. Splendid, if that’s how you like it – but not so good if you need, or want, to work.

Lady, that's what you sign up for. It's biology.

The division of duties, once established, is extremely hard to alter, so it is almost invariably the woman who scales back her career:

And is it their choice? YES. So butt out.

The working woman’s enemy is not some pinstriped, misogynistic boss, cackling evilly as he slams the boardroom door. Nor, in fact, is it men in general.

Men, how original!