Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Women aren't men (II)

Ever wondered why women don't earn as much as men? Feminists would like you to believe that it's because of a glass ceiling, or male domination or sexist discrimination. But part of the reason for a difference in earnings is that many women enjoy motherhood and choose to scale down their commitment to paid work when they have young children.

Mary Costello is one such woman. She relates, in the current issue of Melbourne's Child, that

Expectations of women have never been higher ... But women are wising up. The cost of doing it all is ultimately the woman's quality of life. I for one couldn't hack it. When I found myself hanging out of the 7.20 a.m. city train every morning, crying and waving goodbye to my howling baby, I realised I couldn't 'have it all'. By that stage, I no longer even wanted it all. I wanted to be with my child ... So I gave up the best job I ever had and stayed at home for ten years. They were the best and shortest years of my life - interesting and satisfying in a way that handling a boardroom of middle-aged men never was. (Melbourne's Child, May 2004)

And if this means that Mary Costello wasn't earning as much as her husband, so what? It's not as if her husband was out earning money as a plot against women - his earnings were for the benefit of his family, male and female.

In short, it would be a strange thing if we ever really reached the point where women earned as much as men. It would mean either that women were no longer taking time out of the paid workforce to raise their children, or that men were no longer striving to provide for their families.

The goal of "equal earnings" is not a worthy one to aim for.

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