Sept Gender REport

Submitted by Editor on Fri, 01/10/2004 - 18:44

News Items
* Young men run high health risks
* In a land of mates we want to be alone
* Action dads inspire the kids

News Items - Overseas:
* USA debate continues over women in military
* USA: Man ruled father of unrelated boy
* Spanish women's groups attack reform of child-custody rules
* Taiwan, Singapore: Falling birth rates stir action
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Comment: What Women Want
By Val MacQueen,
Tech Central Station,
September 2004

Declining status - the result of the feminisation of the work place
_________________________________________________

Book review
7 Myths of Working Motherhood - Why Children and (most) careers just don't mix

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
abarron
zwingli@iprimus.com.au
--====----====----====

1 October 2004.

Compiled by Alan Barron,
Convenor,
The Institute of Men's Studies,
Grovedale Victoria Australia.

Website: www.mioms.com

________________________________

This month's Dumb and Dumber Award:

Joint `losers': (1) Accounting firm Deloitte's have been heavily promoting its commitment to improving the participation rate of women in its senior ranks. Since 1997, the promoting of female partners has risen from 3% to 14%. Thanks to these affirmative action type policies, Deloitte's have increased its female manager pool to 36% of its workforce, and has currently a more than 50% female graduate intake. (The Age, Employment, 4/9/04, page 2.)

I'm just wondering why any sort of affirmative action is necessary - given they are currently recruiting females at more than 50%, and women have been receiving the lion's share of promotions. I'm also wondering why the men at Deloitte's have taken this reverse discrimination lying down...(Thinking of England?)

(2) The other mob of drongos is Engineers Australia, the organization which purportedly looks after the interests of engineers. According to this august body, women are "under-represented" in this profession as less than 8% of engineers are female. They want to help redress the gender imbalance. Their answer? They have established 'The women in engineering Panel' to promote engineering to women and take positive steps to facilitate their recruitment and retention in the profession. Three of six WA engineering students who won Engineers Australia awards in 2003 were female. (The West Australian 30/9/04, p12).

Has it ever occurred to these simpletons women just aren't interested? I'm just waiting for the female dominated teaching and nursing professions to take similar steps to recruit more men into these professions - but I'm not holding my breath.
_______________________________________________________________

QUALITY TIME - Dads Kick Some Goals

Dads who take their sons to the footy are helping them just as much as fathers who prefer talking about feelings, research revealed today. (Age 1/10/04) . A study of almost 200 Australian men aged 18 to 35 found they do not need deep and meaningful chats with their dad to connect emotionally. Dr Stefan Gruenert said that men who hang out with their dads showed high levels of happiness and wellbeing. "Men are most likely to benefit from fathers who consistently offer both emotional and practical support," he said.

Young men run high health risks

By Carol Nader
The Age (Melbourne),
1 September 2004,

Manumit Exchange, 1/9/04.

Young men are jeopardising their health and engaging in more risk-taking behaviour than any other group, with a state survey revealing that men smoke more and consume more alcohol, but shy away from admitting to experiencing depression. The Victorian Health Population Survey found that almost a quarter of men smoke, compared with 20 per cent of women. The biggest culprits were men aged 25-34, of whom 27 per cent said they smoked daily. A quarter of men aged 18-24 consumed alcohol at levels that were considered a health risk, compared with 13 per cent of women the same age. Women were also more likely not to drink alcohol, with 22 per cent of women of all ages abstaining, compared with less than 13 per cent of men.

The findings, to be released by the Government today, are based on about 7,500 interviews conducted last year. The report found that obesity affected 54 per cent of men and 38 per cent of women. But almost 14 per cent of women aged 18-24 were classified as underweight, markedly higher than in any other group. Women were more likely to report depression or anxiety than men. More than a quarter of women aged 55-65 reported feeling depressed or anxious, compared with 17 per cent of men of the same age. The second most affected group were women aged 25-34, with 21 per cent admitting to depression.

The proportion of adults who consumed the recommended two pieces of fruit and five vegetables a day was low - 10.5 per cent of women and 5.6 per cent of men. In men aged 18-24, it was 2.2 per cent. Victorian Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said inadequate diet surpassed excessive use of alcohol, illicit drugs and unsafe sex practices in their contribution to disease. "Your chance of developing a lot of disease is really heightened if you don't have an appropriate diet over a long period of time," she said. She said many young people, particularly men, often thought they were invincible. The dean of Deakin University's faculty of health and behavioural sciences, Professor John Catford, said many people were in denial about their health. "I suspect people think they're healthier than they (are)," he said.

Violent trend hits men

By Peter Rolfe,
Lilydale Leader,

13 September 2004

Melbourne: Police, social groups and victims have blown the whistle on domestic violence against men in the Yarra Ranges. Speaking out about an issue they say is a hidden problem, experts have called for more research, support and funding to learn its full extent in Victoria.

In a land of mates we want to be alone

By Adele Horin,
Sydney Morning Herald,

13 September 2004.

The number of people who live alone will increase at a "phenomenal" rate over the next 20 years, according to new projections. The Bureau of Statistics predicts that 3.1 million people will live alone by 2026, up from 1.8 million in the 2001 census. And lone-person households will increase faster than any other.

In a paper to be presented at the Australian Population Association conference in Canberra this week, the bureau shows the proportion of people living alone is expected to jump to 13 per cent in 2026, up from 7 per cent in 1986, and 9 per cent in 2001. As well, the traditional family of a couple with children will no longer be the most common family type. Within six years childless couples and empty nesters will predominate. The dramatic changes in the population are a product of several trends, including declining fertility, increasing longevity, decreases in marriage, and higher education, the report says. Women are projected to account for 57 per cent of those living alone and, at an average age of about 70, they will be considerably older than the average man on his own, who will be about 55.

David de Vaus, professor of sociology at La Trobe University, who is researching the trend, said living alone was not a "sad/bad" thing. The big growth in numbers was among younger people. Since 1971 the numbers aged 25-45 living alone had increased by 250 per cent. "I expect among younger people it's a middle-class urban phenomenon," he said. "People have more money to afford the extra expense of living alone."

It meant for some that they could do what people had always wanted to do - have their ndependence. Among the elderly it could indicate better health and community support that enabled them to live alone instead of in a hostel or nursing home, as in the past. However, some people, including many separated men, found living alone sad and difficult, and there was a need for more community care for the elderly. Barbara Horner, director of the Centre for Research into Aged Care Services, at the Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia, said the assumption elderly people living alone were lonely and isolated was not backed by the evidence.

A pilot research project by the centre among 547 elderly people in Perth showed that while some felt lonely at times, they did not see it as a bad thing. "They didn't mind being lonely sometimes as long as they had some opportunities for social interaction and networks," Ms Horner said. "One person might see very few people in the course of the week and not be lonely, while another could have a lot of social interactions and say they were lonely."

The Bureau of Statistics paper, Households, family and living arrangements of the population of Australia: 1986 to 2026, says the number of those living in couple families without children is projected to rise to 6.2 million in 2026. Couple families without children are projected to comprise 44 per cent of all family types by 2026, while couple families with children will comprise 37 per cent. One-parent families will also increase from 15.7 per cent in 2001 to 17 per cent of total families over the next 20 years.

Action dads inspire the kids

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane)

2 September 2004,

Manumit Exchange, 3/9/04.

Children who live with both parents and have an athletic father are more likely to be physically active than those from single-parent households. A study of more than 4,000 children also revealed yesterday that those with siblings were more likely to be active, particularly outside of school hours.

The University of South Australia research into physical activity among 9 to 15 year-olds found children with fathers who were involved in sport had twice as many weekly sessions of active play than children with absent or inactive fathers. "The few hours in the time between school and dinner are crucial," lead researcher Dr Tim Olds said. It is children's activity choices during this period that mainly determine whether they are active or inactive, he said.

USA: Man ruled father of unrelated boy

By Michael Higgins,
Chicago Tribune,

17 September 2004

In a case believed to be the first of its kind in Illinois, a judge ruled Thursday that a Chicago man is the legal father of a 3-year-old boy even though he is not the boy's biological father and was never married to the boy's mother.

John Huddleston, 49, argued that he was the father because when the child was born in April 2001, he and the boy's mother signed a legal document--called a "voluntary acknowledgement of paternity"--that named him as the father. But the case is unusual in that both Huddleston and the boy's mother, Margaret Torres, 41, of Chicago, signed the document knowing that Huddleston was not the boy's biological father.

Ruling in what he called "an incredibly unique case," Cook County Domestic Relations Court Judge Allan Masters said Torres could not complain that the paternity form was wrong, since she participated in the misrepresentation. "Both parties are participants in what the court views as their clear, unambiguous intent to denominate Mr. Huddleston as the parent of this child," Masters said, according to a transcript of the hearing. No published judicial opinions in Illinois address the exact issue in the case, which tested the definition of "father."

Also, legal experts said the case represented a twist on a national issue: What are the rights of non-biological parents who have entered into agreements to help raise a child? "That's something that courts are dealing with all over the country now in the case of same-sex couples who have entered into somewhat similar agreements" and then broken up, said David Meyer, professor of family law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Meyer said the decision "reflects one more step in a larger trend which is leading to greater legal recognition of non-traditional families."

The paternity form is required by the state before it will put a man's name on a child's birth certificate if the man is not married to the child's mother, legal experts said. Even in cases where one of the parents alleges fraud, the document is normally considered final if not challenged within two years.

It makes sense for judges to adhere strictly to the two-year limit, said Nancy Hablutzel, a lawyer who has taught children's legal rights at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

"You have to look at it from the standpoint of the child," said Hablutzel, now an education professor at University of St. Francis in Joliet. "You want to know who your daddy is. ... You don't want kids 8, 9, 10 years old suddenly having a change of daddy for no reason. There has to be some time period in which this is decided forever."

The paternity forms have sometimes been overturned in court. But in Illinois, the challenges typically come from a man who believed he was the biological father but later learns he is not and is seeking to end his legal duties as father. Huddleston said the boy's mother asked him to take legal responsibility for her child in 2000, when she was two months' pregnant. Huddleston said he agreed and later spent two days a week with the boy over the next two years, paying hundreds of dollars a month to Torres in money he describes as child support. In June 2003, Torres told him he could no longer see the child.

Torres said in a deposition that she had never asked Huddleston to be the child's father. She said she merely allowed him to act as a "male figure" in the boy's life and didn't refer to him as the boy's father in front of other people.

She said she intended to have Huddleston's name removed from the child's birth certificate, but never did. Though paternity has been decided, there are more issues to be litigated. A lawyer appointed to represent the boy has asked Masters to appoint a psychologist to evaluate Huddleston, Torres and the child. But Huddleston's attorney, Carl Marcyan of Lake Forest, said Thursday that the next step should be for Huddleston to get regular visitation.

Huddleston said Thursday that he was pleased with the judge's ruling, but his goal is to gain the same unsupervised visits he had before. "That's the main thing: us getting back into each other's lives," Huddleston said. "He deserves to have his father back."

Torres' attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday after the hearing. Huddleston said he and Torres met in 1986, dated for several years and lived together in St. Charles for about three years. But Huddleston said that his romance with Torres was long over by the time she became pregnant and that they never dated each other after the boy was born. Masters has instructed Torres' lawyer to try to find the biological father. Also Thursday, Huddleston dropped a request for joint custody of the child and is now seeking only visitation.

USA Today, equality of the sexes includes dying in combat.

Dallas: In the current U.S. military, women fill battlefield roles alongside men like never before. Long gone are the days when female soldiers were nurses or were serving in some other behind-the-scenes capacity. As a result, 24 female soldiers have died in Iraq, 15 from hostile fire - more female war dead than in any conflict since World War II (search).

Despite that reality, supporters of women in combat say it's a giant step for gender equality. Critics argue that it isn't a positive development but one that does more harm to society than good. And while women now serve on combat ships, fly combat missions and conduct door-to-door searches through dangerous Iraqi neighborhoods, limits remain. They're still restricted from infantry units, armor and field artillery companies in wartime. So while the combat doors have opened for women willing to die for their country just as their male counterparts do, the battle for complete gender equality remains a divisive conflict. (Fox News, as per "Wendy McElroy", www.ifeminists.net. 2/9/04.)

Spain: Women's groups attack reform of child-custody rules

By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid,
The Independent,

18 September 2004.

Manumit Exchange, 18/9/04.)

The Spanish government gave the green light yesterday to a reformed divorce law that threatens to divide the country along gender lines, with women's groups criticising it as potentially harmful to children from broken homes.

The draft law approved by socialist ministers proposes a simpler, quicker divorce procedure that will ease the log-jam of cases. The country's divorce rate has grown by 33 per cent in the past two years. The white paper also introduces the revolutionary concept of joint custody for children of divorced couples: parents may decide to care for their children jointly, or agree that one or other take responsibility. The possibility for shared custody follows from the proposal to eliminate blame, or fault, as a cause for divorce. Under the existing 1981 law, children are assigned to the wronged partner; the guilty party automatically loses custody, "which provokes unnecessary suffering", the white paper says.

But the feminist Association of Women Jurists condemned this aspect of the reform as harmful for children. "Little ones need security, a reference point, one home not two," the association's spokeswoman, Angela Alemany, said. "Trailing their belongings from one bedroom to another could provoke emotional insecurity." Separated fathers welcomed the provision for joint custody. "It is an extremely important step forward," said Juan Luis Rubio, head of the Association of Separated Fathers. The Justice Minister, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, insisted yesterday that the reform did not impose joint custody, but sought to protect children's rights and "guarantee the rights of the injured party". The reform removes the separation period as a precondition for divorce, and removes the need to give a cause. This means either partner can seek a divorce without declaring a cause after three months of marriage.

Taiwan, Singapore: Falling birth rates stir action

Taiwan has seen a startling drop in the birth rate. Statistics show that 20 years ago, an average woman could be expected to give birth to 2.8 children. Last year, that rate dipped to 1.2, one of the lowest rates in the world. The Taiwan Government is concerned and has commissioned its Bureau of Health Promotion to formulate policies to boost the birth rate by encouraging earlier marriage and pregnancy.

Research by the island's Council for Economic Planning and Development show that the island's birth rate has slowed dramatically over the last decade and that the population is expected to hit negative growth by 2016, ending a century of population growth. Taiwan's current 23 million population will drop to 19.6 million by 2051 if nothing is done to prevent it. Late marriages and pregnancy have had an impact on the birth rate, with the average age of marriage for the island's women rising from 24 in 1981 to 27 last year.

Not only are women waiting to get married, many are not getting married at all. While in 1980 up to 88 per cent of all females between the age of 25 and 29 were married, by 2003 that figure had dropped to just 40 per cent. And today, almost a quarter of women aged 35 to 39 are not married.

The Taiwan Government is concerned and has commissioned its Bureau of Health Promotion to formulate policies to boost the birth rate by encouraging earlier marriage and pregnancy. The declining birth rate in Singapore reflects three key trends - increasing single-hood, later marriages and family formation, and desire for smaller families - that are common in developed countries.

Singapore is studying four main areas:
* Maternity leave. Working mothers say that the existing eight weeks of paid statutory maternity leave is inadequate for them to recovery, care for and bond with their new-born babies. The Government is looking into a longer maternity period, taking into account the costs on employers.

* Work-life balance. Countries that have reversed their falling birth rates have family-friendly practices in the workplace. The Government, in consultation with employers and employee representatives, is examining the scope for part-time and other flexible work arrangements that will allow parents to spend more time with their children.

* Child minding and Infant minding. There is a reasonable subsidy for centre-based child minding, but infant care is expensive.

*Financial support. Marriage and parenthood are ultimately personal decisions, but financial measures such as grants and tax relief help.

Overcoming the "birth dearth" will take more than speeches and spending money on advertising - it will need new family-friendly policies and more money for families. - Jeffery Babb, News Weekly, September 11, 2004 - p. 14

England: What Women Want

By Val MacQueen,
Tech Central Station,

17 September 2004

A high-ranking British woman doctor, Professor Carol Black, president of the Royal College of Physicians, has warned that the British medical profession is shedding the prestige in which it was once held. She ascribes the diminution of respect to the high percentage of women who have entered the profession over the past 20 years. Indeed, she is right to be concerned. Consider teaching.

Fifty years ago, when most teachers were male, teaching was accorded the status of "profession." Now, with the great majority of teachers in Britain and Europe being women, teaching has seen its prestige plummet to the point where it is regarded as just another unionized job with pay and holiday issues. Again, since British women flooded into the legal profession, especially as solicitors (essentially, non-trial lawyers) the law too has seen its score marked "diminuendo". The Anglican Church has allowed itself to become sidelined to the point of irrelevance - although to be fair, this is partly due to its adopting a loony left stance on most critical issues of the day.

Nevertheless, the decision to admit women as vicars has diminished the Church's spiritual authority and shepherded it into an "issues oriented" profession rather than that of a provider of spiritual comfort and moral certainties.People perceive women as anchored to issues as opposed to concepts. I recall seeing an interview with one woman who voiced dissatisfaction with her Anglican vicar, who was a woman. The woman complained, "I was spiritually troubled. I was trying to find my faith again, and the vicar kept drawing the conversation back to the lack of adequate childcare facilities in the parish."

Politics, too, once surely the most ruthless profession of them all, has seen the regard in which it was previously held, albeit always with a healthy skepticism in the Anglosphere, diminish since large numbers of British and European women chose politics as a career.

Think Swedish female politicians, and now think how seriously you take Swedish politics.The high regard in which the police were formerly held in Britain has taken a tumble since they first started recruiting women 40 or so years ago. Women were seen as better communicators than men, more able to tweezle the truth out of child molesters, wife beaters and people sheltering criminals, as though that were the sum total of police work.

It wasn't long before battle-hardened male officers were being chided for being too tough, too abrupt, too insensitive. So began the disastrous road to an "understanding" police force in Britain, which, married to a new "profession" variously called social services and counseling, turned into a vast army of social workers rather than apprehenders of malfeasants.So, jobs that have always had a high female presence -- real estate, sales, journalism, advertising, literary and performer agencies -- racket along as ever with nary a change in public perceptions.
(Be it noted that although these are all jobs that require mental agility and an ability to capture a fleeting mood, they do not require years of rigorous study and grinding apprenticeship.)

The professions whose corpus is still largely male -- architecture, nuclear physics, orchestra conducting, rocket science (indeed, all science) maintain their status and mystique. It is solely those formerly male preserves which have had large infusions of women that are seeing their prestige become unmoored. As women have agitated for special dispensations, they have chipped away at the mystique in which their professions were previously mantled.

Dr. Black told London's Observer newspaper that female-dominated professions such as teaching no longer see themselves as "powerful" and pointed to the danger of feminizing medicine because they have been persuaded to make special dispensations for women and mothers.

I think that Dr. Black hit the nail on the head when she added that "women were unlikely to take top jobs, such as the dean of a medical school, because of the difficulties combining them with family life." She added that many women avoided more "demanding" areas such as cardiology. "What worries me is who is going to be the professor of cardiology in the future? Where are we going to find the leaders of British medicine in 20 years' time?"

Well may she ask, because as long as women insist on maintaining a dual role and manipulating their chosen professions to suit their family life, men will be less attracted to the field and the women who are in it will not make the sacrifices that males routinely make to establish a name for themselves and uphold the standards of their profession.

In the British and European health systems, there are few top women consultants in any field except pediatrics. They don't seem to have the stamina or the mental rigor to become surgeons. Or perhaps they don't have the will. A 12-hour operation would interfere with their home life. And women are increasingly trivializing the rigors of the professions by manipulating them to suit their family life by agitating for shorter working hours so they can be at home when the children come back from school, maternity breaks without loss of position on the rung, and extra time off for school events, and so on.

The British Parliament, under touchy-feely Tony Blair, recently introduced shorter working hours in Parliament specifically so female legislators could be at home for supper with their children.

No one asked why these Labour politicians went into politics knowing how unsuitable the hours are for family life. Under Labour, Parliament had to be massaged to suit young mothers.

This is no way to run a country.

There was even loony lefty talk at one point - endorsed by Blair - that Members of Parliament who were nursing mothers should be allowed to breastfeed their babies in the debating chamber. The Conservatives saw this notion off pretty quickly. The mind boggles.

So the sense of entitlement is another factor.

The ancient professions should be manipulated so women can have their "fair share", despite not taking them seriously enough to make the very real sacrifices that men make as a matter of course.

Is this feminism or is it socialism?

Dr. Black is correct when she notes that many women do not enter the really difficult realms of their profession because they are reluctant to commit the time required.

In Britain and Europe there may be one or two neurosurgeons, or there may be none. Although they cling around the lower rungs of the ladder, few women in the British legal profession have thrown themselves into the cut and thrust of being barristers, which requires long hours that devastate family life and the ability and the will to master several briefs at the same time.

The Labour party hypes Blair's wife Cherie as a "hot shot" barrister, but she's not. She's strictly paint by numbers. She handles publicly-funded "human rights" cases and is a comparatively low earner. What she earns comes not from individuals who have retained her for her abilities, but from the public purse. In other words, she takes the easy work.

The high achievers in the legal world in Britain are still fiercely clever, fiercely ambitious, ruthless males. With the exception of Helen Kennedy, I cannot think of a single outstanding woman barrister in Britain.

So women don't put their profession first. They grab all the soft options and, indeed, create new ones. And, with the endless stream of employment legislation, who will dare say them nay?

Men are increasingly becoming disenchanted with professions that heretofore required steely determination and sacrifice to get to the top. The gates have been thrown open and without the competitive factor, many men don't know how to cope, or simply lose interest. They don't like not being set against the ruthless cut and thrust of other males and they are deserting professions that have become feminized. What's the point of having all that testosterone if a colleague is going to accuse you of being "too aggressive" and go and have a little weep in the ladies restroom? It is male aggression that built civilizations and furthered the sciences, not women sitting around forming cooperatives and sharing childcare.

The women who rise to the top of demanding professions, rather than drifting comfortably along the slipstream at the bottom, do so in spite of their sex, and because they possess some of the male characteristics that infuse a discussion with certainty and confidence.

Margaret Thatcher, although many men found her very attractive as a woman, has a mind with qualities commonly thought of as masculine. In debate, she gave no quarter and asked none. It is interesting that she holds a degree not just in law, but in chemistry as well.

There are other ambitious and brilliant women in Britain who possess clarity of thought and vision, who have made sacrifices to achieve their positions and are well rewarded. But by and large, they are not in the professions. Or if they are lawyers, they aren't practicing but deploy the skills they developed in law elsewhere.

In socialist Britain and socialist Europe today, there is a conscious demasculization under way. All those wars: bad. All those hours spent away from the family dinner table building fortunes or careers: bad. All that deferring to rank: bad. Ruthlessness: bad. Inclusion, cooperation, "understanding": good.

Good for what? Who knows?

None of this is new. It isn't often addressed because in countries infected with radical socialism, it is simply too incendiary.

Men want to compete. Women want to cooperate.* Or so runs contemporary received wisdom. This may not be true. It might be that, once the feminists announced that the professions weren't "caring" enough, the type of woman given to weaving mental macramé was drawn to demand her rights and shove her way in.

Certainly the early, and rare, female doctors and lawyers in the early part of the last century were as focused and determined as any man.
(* I'd disagree and say men want to 'master' (competence and skill being key issues) and women want to support and be supported. TK)

In my opinion, this deconsecrating of the professions is a socialist, rather than a feminist, construct. The feminists were handy fodder. There is a disconcerting leveling down in Britain and much of Europe today. Excellence is derided for "excluding" those who are not excellent.

If further proof were needed that this is an exercise in class warfare, as medical science, in the fields of both knowledge and new treatment, expands at a formidable rate, Labour is currently hacking away at the profession by reducing the length and thoroughness of British medical education to make it "more inclusive".

A reasonable question might be, will the profession continue to prosper although males desert it?

Another reasonable question might be, why is it American women have entered the professions at the same rate, and are not only doing well in many fields and excelling in some, but doing so by accepting the same sacrifices that men make and playing by the same rules? The fact is, whether it is a deliberate leveling down policy or simply a social evolution, once women predominate in a profession, that profession loses its attraction for clever men. Will we see the social status of medicine in Europe sink to the same level as that of teachers?

Well, it did in the USSR.
____

Book Review

7 Myths of Working Motherhood- Why Children and (most) careers just don't mix

By Suzanne Venker.

Dallas Spence Publishing, Hard-cover RRP A$49.95

Reviewed by Bill Muehlenburg - News Weekly, Sept 11, 2004

Page 19.

The thesis of this book is simple: women can have it all, but not necessarily at the same time. That is, a woman can choose to excel at motherhood, or she can choose to excel at a career, but she cannot do both simultaneously. As such, this book attempts to burst the bubble of the super-mom myth, the idea that one can juggle both tasks, and succeed at both. Indeed, according to Venker, a working mother comes close to being a contradiction in terms.

Of course a mum can work part-time, and some mums, especially single mums, may have no choice about full-time employment, but for the average woman, to think that one can excel in a fantastic career path, and produce great, well-developed kids at the same time is simply wishful thinking. Says Venker: "The reason the work and family balance continues to be elusive is not the insensitivity of men and employers, but that raising children has always been, and will continue to be, a full-time job. And no one, male or female, can successfully perform two full-time jobs at the same time. Period."

The book says that it is a myth to think that most mothers are working, or want to work, full-time. In the US, over 60 per cent of mothers with children under age 18 do not work at all or work part-time. And when the children are under age six, the figure rises to 64 per cent. "working mothers" then are a clear minority.

Another myth is that day-care is good for children. Quite the opposite is the case. The longer a child is in day-care, and from an earlier age, the worse it is for the child. As one child expert has put it, "A home must be very bad before it can be bettered by a good institution". Yet we have abandoned our children in droves to strangers. Totally absent from the (equality) debate are the needs of the child. Says Venker: "The time to decide whether motherhood is right for us is before we get pregnant, not after."

Other myths debunked by the book include; that men have it all, so why can't women; that sex roles are fully interchangeable; that we can give our children quality time instead of quantity time; that families need two incomes; and it is the workplace that gives people a sense of identity and importance.

The book argues that motherhood is the most noble and most important of occupations. We have allowed feminist ideology to rob us of this truth. We have allowed a market-driven economy to convince us that we are by nature working, not relational, beings. We have allowed the lure of materialism and consumerism to cause us to put wealth ahead of family.

Venker says, "Women must begin to view motherhood as something they get to do rather than something they have to squeeze into their hectic career lives. Motherhood is a career, not a sideline occupation." And it is the most difficult, yet the most vital, career one can ever embark upon. This may all smack of chauvinistic doubletalk. But recall that our author is a woman. And as she rightly concludes, "the traditional family structure is not something that holds women down. The traditional family structure keeps women from having to worry about producing an income while they work on the most important job of their lives."

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