Writing in the Melbourne Age newspaper, she asserts that it once made sense for men to go to work, whilst women stayed home with the children, since men in the past had higher incomes - it was an economically rational decision.
But women are now getting 64% of degrees and are delaying marriage and motherhood until they are set in their careers. So couples should now make the decision about who looks after the children on purely economic grounds:
Something happens to women and their salaries when they enter their 30s, and that something is children.
Couples today need to make more active decisions about who will take time out of the paid workforce to look after children. Couples must consider which partner has the higher earning capacity and whose career progression and future earnings capacity will be most negatively affected by taking time out.
There's a positive and negative side to this argument so far. The negative side is that Jessica Irvine believes that men and women are so interchangeable, and that motherhood is so disconnected from womanhood, that the decision about who looks after baby can be decided solely on economic rationalist grounds.
I don't deny that there are families in which the wife's income is so much greater that the decision is more likely to be for the husband to stay home.
But we're stripping down human relationships if we think of men and women as Economic Man - as abstracted, rational economic agents. And if we really think of humans this way, then it's difficult to see how a stable family life will endure anyway. Is it really in my interests as Economic Man to make such sacrifices on behalf of my family? Isn't it more the case that if I identify myself with my masculine being, and the higher expression of this being is to act protectively as a husband and father, that I will then commit myself to the service of my family?
However, at least Jessica Irvine's argument so far seems less hostile to the traditional family. It makes it sound as if she's happy, if the husband earns more, for the woman to stay home.
But unfortunately she is not so neutral. Her expectation is that increasingly fewer women are going to choose to stay home and that the government should set its tax and childcare policies to make sure that this is the case:
Because the market value of women's time has risen so dramatically, it is more likely that couples will decide to deploy the male partner to domestic duties, and keep the woman's salary.
The economics of the family are evolving, and where gender policies and quotas fail to deliver, the profit motive will out.
It will take time. It requires that governments keep working to remove tax traps that keep women at home because they would lose more in welfare benefits and tax than they would earn.
The onward march of progress, she thinks, combined with government tweaking of the tax system, will get feminists there in the end - to a situation in which our sex has been made not to matter, so that parenting decisions are made on "neutral" economic grounds, but in which the government acts to ensure that the economic grounds push toward a certain outcome.
It's possible that society will turn out that way. But there are reasons to think it won't as well. Out in the suburbs, the traditional family is still stubbornly holding sway. And elsewhere it's not so much the modern family taking over, but rather a weakening of family commitments.