Friday, December 15, 2006

Reader Responds to Bias Against Moms

Last week, the SF Weekly posted an article about how MomsRising is fighting the "bias" against mothers:

Mother’s Work
Some working moms face job discrimination, while others encounter barriers to success. They're all potential activists for the new grass-roots group, MomsRising.

MomsRising wants to address the obstacles faced by working mothers up and down the socioeconomic spectrum and push legislation to eliminate them. The barriers vary: Some women struggle to keep their jobs while managing pregnancy or child care, while others feel they've been knocked off the leadership track by inflexible work schedules or bias against mothers. Their reactions, however, are strikingly consistent. When women can't be both model employees and stellar moms, they feel frustrated and defeated, and often blame themselves. Rowe-Finkbeiner says they're turning their anger in the wrong direction: "We argue that when this many people are experiencing the same problems at the same time, it's a societal issue, not a personal failing."

This week, a reader responded in a letter to the editor:

Where's Dad?:

While I enjoyed Eliza Strickland's "Mother's Work," [Dec. 6] I found it one-dimensional. Often, the reason employers do not want mothers as workers is because — quell surprise — they don't work as much as childless workers or men.

Unfortunately, due to pervasive sexism, women still take the brunt of child care, usually working 10 more hours a week on housework/child care than fathers (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). The missing part of Strickland's equation are fathers — where are they? Why aren't they picking up their kid when she's sick, or teaching them yoga? There's a reason her article is called "Mother's Work" not "Parents' Work."

Besides, it's unrealistic for mothers to expect they would get the same pay and prestige for doing a worse job than other employees. I'm sorry, but you just can't be as good a lawyer working 40 hours a week as you can working 60.

Having children in this day and age is a choice: to expect that that choice should not affect your career is delusional.
I'm beginning to wish that a blog could give a standing ovation.

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5 comments:

Britgirl said...

"Having children in this day and age is a choice: to expect that that choice should not affect your career is delusional."

Hear hear!

Yet so many women still fail to get this simple fact of life. They then complain about how much having children has hurt their career. Well, duh! One of the things I took into consideration when I was considering whether or not was the fact that my career would be affected. And if it was I would have to live with it.

Teri said...

The MomsRising wish list includes:

"paid family leave across the country; support for flexible work schedules, affordable child care, and after-school programs; and equitable wages for moms."

We are beginning to sound more like Canadians all the time. Socialism, here we come!

Family leave applies to men and women in Canada and it should here. That should help to shore up the wage gap between the sexes a bit.

I am all for affordable child care and schoold programs, but who is going to pay? The employer? Not likely. It will be you and me, the childfree and maybe some additional property tax for all you home owners.

As for equitable wages, pay should be earned. Salaries are negotiated and raises are given based on performance. Period.

I say more power to them. I am going to watch where they think they are going to get the money for all the new programs, and in the end I think that openly childfree adults will be more coveted in the workplace as we are potentially less hassle for the employer, and less expensive. Why not let it slip that you are childfree in your next job interview?

This blog and this conversation is a part of the third wave of feminism, the one where we are dissillusioned by the "you can have it all" line of thinking. Yes, maybe if you are in a high paid salaried position. Try getting flexible hours if you are in a support role, such as an administrative assistant.

Mo said...

In every job I've applied for and been interviewed for I've told each and every one of them that I'm childfree. I truly believe that I automatically became a better applicant in their eyes.

I have a promotion and pay raise coming very soon to me and I am positive that my status as childfree is one of the main reasons for it. I work harder than the people in my office (and I work with all men!) and I take off less time than my co-workers. While they're at home watching sick babies I'm at work making money and looking good for my employers.

Anonymous said...

How nice... and when it comes to get pension benefits we all collect the same, whether you had a selfish life or you actually raise contributors for future pensions (the so much feared kids!). Way to go capitalists and reckless selfish consumers!!!

Anonymous said...

"How nice... and when it comes to get pension benefits we all collect the same, whether you had a selfish life or you actually raise contributors for future pensions (the so much feared kids!). Way to go capitalists and reckless selfish consumers!!!"

Thanks for taking the time away from your little life affirming miracle(s) to cast your pearls before swine. Jeses, when you come down off your high horse, we'll be waiting.

I think the money for the programs is a secondary issue myself. I have no problem with new moms being able to take leave (yes, I am an evil socialist Canadian, *hiss*)I even have no problem with a few less dollars on my paycheque if paternity leave could be offered. However, in return I would like some fairness. A few extra weeks vacation and a couple of personal days to run errands would be nice.

as far as pensions go, here in "socialist" Canada we are simply forced to save a little every paycheque which (essentially) gets added to a very large high interest savings account. Along with RRSP's and general good money management I will not be relying on your (or anyone's)"future contributers".

Am I selfish or simply self aware and self sustaining? hmmm...