Gender roadblock


This article was recently published in the more “progressive” of Canada’s two national papers, The Globe and Mail.

The article, entitled “Women’s roadblock to power: themselves”, highlights an interview with a woman who wrote a book about how women are not using all the power the world is so desperate to foist upon them.

When we are being assertive or aggressive, we have to buck up and not “be afraid to be viewed negatively”, rather than dare to hope our behaviour be interpreted positively. If we take time off to have children and we have post-secondary educations, “if [we] don’t then use that education to continue advancing the status of women, then [we] are, in effect, setting back women over all”, rather than expecting that the body of skills and education we have will still be seen as relevant when we return from mat leave.

She strips the sociological out of the equation and puts the burden of coping solely on the individual, reducing it to character flaw rather than reaction to broader social forces. I foolishly thought this tactic had died with the 50s-era vodka housewife Freudian analyst.

Anyway, clearly it’s #MFIM, #YFYF, #HFSH, and #OFWF.



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6 Responses to “Gender roadblock”

  1. skyhawkmkiv Says:

    Ah, yes. Blame the victim, round number: I lost count.

  2. snooj Says:

    I’ll be honest, I somewhat agree with the article.

    I don’t think the writer meant that staying home was bad, but rather it doesn’t help women who wish to have careers. Many employers are nervous about hiring women because they fear they will take time off for kids and demand being paid. Statistically, they are much more likely to. Who would you want working for you? A woman who is likely to take time off, be paid for no work, and not be able to replace her despite her taking months or a year’s leave, or a man who stays at work and does his job?

    I am not saying employers should decide who to hire on that. I’m just saying that in today’s society, it is part of the equation unfortunately.

    I heard of a country in Europe has a law that when a woman requests maternity leave, her husband MUST take paternity leave for the same amount of time. I wonder if this has helped any?

    Anyway, I didn’t get the impression she was blaming women for society being messed up. I think rather she was pointing out how we women can advance ourselves through this messed up society.

  3. sitakali Says:

    The comments are way worse than the article. Some serious, sickening misogyny.

  4. rhimi Says:

    @snooj – In the UK employers can recover some or all of the costs of statutary maternity pay, link here: So if you’re talking about the UK situation, then you’re wrong. Financially the employer is not worse off, and one of the main reasons the woman giving birth are the ones who take time out to care for their children is because most employment is not set up to make it financially viable to share childcare between partners.

    • snooj Says:

      @rhimi – I wasn’t really talking about the UK situation because I don’t know how it is there regarding maternity and paternity leave there. Good to know the employers can recover some or all the costs though! Thanks for that information.

      Also, you pointed out, “most employment is not set up to make it financially viable to share childcare between partners.” Why is it that employment somehow makes it viable for women and not men? Is it because women demand it more? I would imagine that if a woman takes all the time off for her child, it would cost the same as if she only took half the time off and her partner half. I just simply notice men don’t ask for the kind of time off for children women do. Many don’t even take paternity leave.

  5. rhimi Says:

    @snooj – I can only really talk about the UK situation, and I thought that the information I linked to made it clear why it’s not financially viable. The key is in the name, maternity pay. Only women receive maternity pay/leave, it’s not a transferable good, and there is no equivalent option for the non-child bearing partner. Men who have children are entitled to 2 weeks paternity leave following the birth of a child, and many choose not to take it. Therefore the system/society are biased towards women taking time out of their careers unless they are sufficiently well off to employ someone to do the childcare. I would suggest that men don’t take time off because they don’t have to, because there is someone else, the woman, who will do it. Maternity pay/leave is almost the start of biasing childcare responsibilities to women. Since the woman has taken maternity leave, then it’s expected that the woman will take time off if the child is ill and so it goes.

    Obviously a woman is likely to need time to physically recover from birth, but there’s no real reason why maternity leave/pay shouldn’t be a transferable good apart from a designated period.

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