View Full Version : Mother of all choices keeps women from being wage slaves.

09-01-2009, 05:53 PM
Every so often a writer puts into words what one has been thinking for years in a rather unformed way.

This feature was published in the Courier-Mail, a Brisbane newspaper.

Briefly, the writer looks at the glass ceiling, the alleged invisible conspiracy by the male-dominated economy to keep women out of senior roles in the workforce.
He accepts that women are represented poorly in senior management and at board level in many businesses, but it is his observation that this is mainly because women have a choice that men don't, and they exercise it gladly.
Someone (in the family) has to earn the money and the pressure mounts on the dads to keep their job, get promoted, work longer and get paid more.
Men suffer many of the disappointments that the women's lobby seems to think are exclusively reserved for female workers: a colleague will be promoted or get a pay rise ahead of them even though they may be equally qualified.
Many mothers go back to the workforce and try to resume their careers, but for them it's never the same again. Their priorities have changed .

Big Woody
09-01-2009, 06:12 PM
When the paleface first came to America, Indian men spent their days fishing or hunting as they pleased, there were no regulations, no taxes, and the women did all the work.

Paleface man thought he could improve on that, oops! :eek:

David W Pratt
09-02-2009, 07:45 AM
Also, women tend to marry men who are older, and thus likely to be more advanced in their careers, i.e. earning more money. When relocation beckons, the woman tends to quit her job and find another in the new location, thus fragmenting her work history.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-02-2009, 10:06 AM
That's not the mother of all choices; its the choice of all mothers! ;)

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
09-02-2009, 10:38 AM
And in the right place you can get a choice of Mothers of all (http://www.ashford.co.nz/spinning/spinning-frameset.htm).

09-02-2009, 11:45 AM
Men have the choice. Mostly they just won't choose it.

Jim Ledger
09-02-2009, 12:12 PM
Men have the choice. Mostly they just won't choose it.

Huh? To become mothers? :confused:

09-02-2009, 12:52 PM
This is one of those moments where I feel like the lack of women on this board really hurts the discussion. I'd love to hear more from the other side. I have a feeling of where this is going.

Jim Ledger
09-02-2009, 01:03 PM
I have a feeling of where this is going.

I think it will hit the glass ceiling before it gets there.

OUCH :rolleyes:

09-02-2009, 02:26 PM
Huh? To become mothers? :confused:

C'mon Jim. Yeah, sure.

To become house husbands and let the women deal with the mess in the office.

There must be something about the ugliness of working life that men prefer over the boring task they prefer to leave to women.

Jim Ledger
09-02-2009, 02:47 PM
I'm unemployed, staying at home and my wife's loving it. Of course, the kids are grown leaving me plenty of puttering time. But, she's still got a way to go before the glass ceiling thing becomes an issue.

09-02-2009, 03:04 PM
I heard a quote attributed to Margaret Thatcher that goes something like this: "Women can have it all. Just not all at the same time."

Bill R
09-02-2009, 03:11 PM
Men have the choice. Mostly they just won't choose it.

With all due respect elf, when we lived in Pittsburgh, and I lost my job, SWMBO and I made the choice for me to stay home while she worked- I had a small business where I worked from the house. Gave me the opportunity to be Mr. Mom and stay home with the infant twins. She worked 9-5 while I stayed with the kids, and I did a lot of my work in the evening when she was home, but at the time she was the primary breadwinner.

The only reason that changed was my current employer seeking me out and making an offer we as a family couldn't refuse.

09-02-2009, 03:32 PM
I said "mostly", Bill. And I'm glad you took that opportunity.

Ian McColgin
09-02-2009, 03:44 PM
Had the author of the cited non-scientific speculation shown that women who make similar career choises as the most successful men - career before or instead of family, etc. - then he might have had some grounds for his speculation. He doesn't.

09-02-2009, 04:25 PM
I know everyone's story is different, but mine was that I made a choice while in college to learn a field that would enable me to make a decent living. My wife, whom I did not know at the time, chose to study a feel-good field that would be insecure and never pay well.

When we decided to have a child, I made three times the income she did, so it didn't make much sense for me to stay home with the child, though we discussed it as a possibility. Furthermore, we had temperamental differences that made it much more reasonable for her to stay with the child while I worked many more than 40 hours a week to stave off outsourcing, mean bosses, difficult subordinates, unreasonable deadlines, and the other factors that made working life such a great pleasure. I don't know if these differences resulted from choices or from personality differences that just happened. Neither of us had an easy time with our lot.

For many years I lived under immense stress to be the primary wage earner for our family, culminating with paying for our daughter's choice to attend one of the most expensive colleges in the USA. If any mother wants those responsibilities or feels deprived because she didn't have them, she is welcome to them.

09-02-2009, 05:58 PM
I will probably never have the luxery of being a stay at home mother. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
09-02-2009, 06:07 PM
Also, women tend to marry men who are older, and thus likely to be more advanced in their careers, i.e. earning more money. When relocation beckons, the woman tends to quit her job and find another in the new location, thus fragmenting her work history.

I can only hope. If you know any cute young available women, would you send them my way? And I'm early retired, so they won't have to move, they can keep up their career just fine.

09-02-2009, 06:25 PM
My wifes a teacher.

Whats the ratio of woman to men in her school for teachers???.

40 to 4!!!!

George Roberts
09-02-2009, 06:56 PM
The problem may be that the purpose of business is to make money not to cater to a certain group.

Both my wife and I work at home. We are very happy with our bosses.

09-02-2009, 10:09 PM
Also, women tend to marry men who are older, ...

That's where I went wrong! (I've got a few years on Dave...:o )

09-02-2009, 10:13 PM

... culminating with paying for our daughter's choice to attend one of the most expensive colleges in the USA.

I sure hope you made her pay for her choice.

09-02-2009, 10:14 PM
A majority of Dave's superiors at work are women.

09-03-2009, 10:38 AM
I sure hope you made her pay for her choice.She is paying her share through loans and work study. There is no way for a college age kid to raise the kind of money it takes to attend a private college in the U.S. these days. I don't know how it works in Canada, but in the U.S. colleges assume that the parents will pay a share based on their finances, and financial aid for the student is calculated based on that assumption. Most selective colleges have abandoned scholarships based on performance (except for athletes), because "all our students are exceptional." Almost all aid is based on the college's assessment of "need," meaning the parents' ability to pay.

Our agreeing to our daughter's attending such an expensive school was really based on a series of blunders going way back to her childhood. Mainly, we didn't track how much faster college costs were going up than our income, so we encouraged her to look at private schools. By the time we understood how much more expensive private schools are than when we attended one 30 years ago, we didn't feel it would be honorable to change the deal for her.

It wasn't one of the most brilliant things we have ever done.

To our daughter's credit, she appreciates what it costs us far more than I did when my parents paid most of the cost of my education. Even when her work study assignment was to clean toilets at 7:00 AM on Sunday mornings, we never heard a word of complaint, not one.

Duncan Gibbs
09-03-2009, 04:19 PM
The author of the Courier Mail article (a fairly conservative Murdoch paper) is making such a huge generalisation based on his own personal experience - women he has "met" over the years - and not one piece of statistical or otherwise empirical evidence is offered up to support this baseless assertion of "choice." There is much evidence to suggest that many women are STILL being paid less to do the same job. Maybe such a factor as this may influence their "choice." This is most certainly true of many management jobs. In other areas, such as blue collar industries, women are actively discouraged by the entire culture of the workforce and the manner in which women who even attempt to enter are treated.

There are many more factors at play in the equation about women in the work force that to try and reduce it down to a notion of simple choice is to actively reinforce a male dominated and sexist culture. Modern men should stand up for women's rights rather than belittle the contribution of women with an, "I'm all for women working, but..." style of argument.

The article is such a piece of tosh I may just buy the edition... I'm running out of loo paper as it happens!

09-04-2009, 07:33 AM
Hey nobody said the article was a carefully researched academic paper supported by extensive research and reviewed by authoritative supervisors. It was written by a "columnist" and I thought all mainstream papers had them. They write opinion pieces, and must serve a function or Murdoch and all the other media barons wouldn't bother employing them. For myself, I read some of them, hoping they will bring to my attention something I hadn't thought about before.

I have been listening sympathetically for decades to the problems women have at work and in life in general. It is possible that some do not realize that men often have the same or similar problems, like having to deal with career disappointments. I once turned down a relocation/promotion because it would hurt my partner's career. My career was hurt by that attitude right off.

Since 1988, the C-M has been the only newspaper in Brisbane. Does this mean that we get a one-sided service? I don't think we do. All sorts of content gets printed, I presume so that Mr Murdoch can sell papers to most people in Brisbane. As an example, the Courier-Mail recently published two features, side-by-side on one page, about legal parenthood for same-sex couples. One for, one against. What is that but balance?

This brings me to the topic of research. One of the features said "The overwhelming evidence from the social sciences is that children do best when they are raised by both a mother and a father". The other said "most [people] are aware that social research confirms there is no difference . . etc".

So where does this leave the ordinary person? I will not generalize from my opinion, but it leaves me thinking that quoting researched evidence is becoming like quoting scripture.

I thought the feature was worth bringing to forumites' attention because I think we should consider, that just because many women get a hard time in the workplace, does not mean that most men have an easy time there.

Thanks for all your responses.