Tag Archives: housewives

You know what women want?

An end to stupid articles about what women want. As though 10.8 million females (2008 figures) of all ages and all backgrounds all want the same thing.

But personally, I want an end to the constant articles about how women really want to be housewives. Sure, some women do, but we don’t have articles claiming all men want to watch their mates having sex with someone who is too drunk to give proper consent, just because a few league and AFL players like to do that. If I was more of a cynic, I’d say it’s revenge for getting vocal about equal pay and opportunities. (Don’t even try to tell me it’s because women lack experience, because that’s bullshit: 40 per cent of men on boards are untested before they get the job).

Check out this two-pronged MSM attack: We all want to be housewives now, in the Sydney Morning Herald, and What women really want, in The Australian.

Let’s look at the SMH one first:

A new report suggests women would rather marry for money than love and swap their career for the kitchen, writes Judith Woods from London.

Then:

Past the age of 35, where two or more of us are gathered together in a room, the talk invariably turns to wistful longings of “getting some chickens”, which as we all know is code for “a property-porn house in a shire with Cath Kidston tea towels, Emma Bridgewater crockery and a City husband who is so preposterously well remunerated he can almost afford the outrageous commuter rail fare rises.”

Then:

A study by the National Centre for Social Research, commissioned in 2009 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, revealed that a third of all mothers would prefer to give up their jobs if they could afford to, and three fifths said they would want to work fewer hours.

This doesn’t mean women want to be housewives. It means that two-thirds of the women surveyed don’t want to give up their jobs. The majority. As for the one-third who’d like to care for the kids full-time – many parents I know would love to do this, men and women. Since men earn 18 per cent more than women, in most households it makes financial sense for the person who earns less to be the full-time carer.

Sure, three-fifths would prefer to work fewer hours, but don’t we all?

Now, The Oz. This piece is more interesting and the headline doesn’t do it justice at all.

RARELY do social theorists cause a public furore outside their ivory towers – except for Catherine Hakim, feminist foe and author of such provocative works as Mummy, I Want to be a Housewife.

Then:

Women already have their equal opportunities. The sex war is over, she declares.

There is no shortage of women applauding her. One Goldman Sachs banker supports Hakim’s theory that emphasis on equality can undermine women’s achievements. She describes how she was unable to enjoy a genuinely earned promotion because colleagues suspected it was down to a general “boost the number of female MDs” policy.

Belinda Robertson, chief executive of a company selling cashmere clothing, says: “We’ve made women a special case and not equal. That’s not how we want to be considered, as tokens on boards. Women don’t do themselves any favours, abusing the system.

Of course, if all things were equal then we wouldn’t be talking about quotas to increase women’s representation on boards and in management positions. They would already be there. But, in Australia, women hold only 10.7 per cent of senior executive positions, 8.3 per cent of board directorships and just 2 per cent of CEO roles. Does that sound like things are equal to you?

As for the (unnamed) Goldman Sachs banker who felt she was “unable to enjoy a genuinely earned promotion”, why would you blame the push for equality and not the people who dismiss your achievements? If you earned a promotion but a jealous colleague felt you didn’t deserve it, would you blame the person who promoted you? Of course you bloody wouldn’t.

There has to be a point at which we – the mainstream media – stop letting people use us to peddle lies. Again and again, research shows the gender pay gap exists, so why do we keep letting people say it doesn’t?

Back to the Oz article:

Hakim claims the data supports her conclusions.

“Research evidence consistently shows that most husbands are the main breadwinners in their family and that most mothers would prefer not to have the competing demands of family work and paid jobs,” she says.

Actually, what the research shows is that women are still doing most of the housework and childcare, on top of paid employment. From the ABS:

While men are doing slightly more household work than in the past, in 2006 women still did around 1.8 times as much as men (compared with twice as much in 1992). Although women are spending less time cleaning and doing laundry, they still spent almost six times as long on laundry as men in 2006, and more than three times as long on other housework such as cleaning. Women also spent almost two and a half times as long on food preparation and clean up, despite men doing more of the cooking than in the past.

So, when faced with always bringing in a lower income than your partner (assuming a heterosexual couple here), and the fact that children boost a man’s lifetime earnings but not a woman’s ($2.5 million versus $1.3 million) and the high cost of childcare, do women have a real choice?