The lot of women and men

24th August, 2005 with responses from cocoabeans, kyb, MattLG and Clifford Brock

Put these in order of importance:

Now imagine 2 groups: one has a greater relationship with their co-workers and one with a greater relationship with their children. The first group has more access to political power, the second more access to their children. Which group would you rather be in?

I think neither group is totally happy with their lot. It does, however, do well to remember what each group is missing and how sad that is.

A response from cocoabeans

18th September, 2005

That is indeed very sad. If and when I have a family, I hope very much that we will do our best to minimise what each parents misses out on.

Keep up the good work ;o)

A response from kyb

28th September, 2005

Personally I think that the easiest way to equality is a law that provides most men the opportunity to work part time. Couples that both work some proportion of the week and spend the rest of the time with the children should be the norm not the exception.

Parental leave is another interesting one. In countries where they have a large amount of parental leave and the allowed time is equal for both men and women, there are a high percentage of women in work (possibly because there is less point in employers discriminating against them, so they have better jobs), and a larger number of mothers of 2 or 3 children working (possibly because they don't feel like they need to give up their work if they can take 2 years off to look after the kids). So although it seems like the employer loses, it actually means they benefit from a much larger pool of workers, and skilled women are less likely to be lost to the workforce. Not to mention the social benefits of greater equality.

A response from MattLG

24th November, 2005

If I was an employer, I would want to compensate my employees relative to their value to the company. The more valuable an employee is, the more you will want to keep them and disuade them from leaving, hence a higher salary. It's a very simplistic view, obviously other forms of motivation would come into it, but the point I'm getting at is the money as that's where most of the inequality lies. If two otherwise identical employees differed only in that one of them could, at any time, and with less than 9 months notice, take several months of paid, unpaid or partially paid leave and the other could take none, or significantly less leave, I think the latter would be more valuable to the company than the former. You cannot solve inequality in pay by legislating equal pay any more than you can solve inflation by legislating against pay increases (see Labour and Tory policy 1957 - 1979). Either removing the ability for women to take maternity leave or granting equal paternity leave to fathers may solve (or significantly reduce) the pay inequality problem. If I was a father, I'd probably prefer the latter as it goes towards equalling the relationships between myself & my children and myself & my co-workers/career.

A response from Clifford Brock

5th December, 2005

Why are men ostrazised from having a GOOD relationship with their children.