BABY ON BOARD | Senators and CEOs

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with genderneutrallanguage

This is the 2nd part of BABY ON BOARD | Discrimination

“Something was really lost taking this post out of context.  That context really addresses most of your points. What we where discussing was if women deserve special treatments in the work place because many women prioritize family over income, and that results in very few women CEO’s and Senators. The question was not if there should be any considerations given to people that prioritize family, but should people that prioritize family over work be promoted over people that prioritize work over family.

We most decidedly live in a society, and this is a good and important thing.  It is not exclusively about the individual, but we do need to balance the individual good against the social good.  It would be a great “Social good” to pay each mother $50,000/year per child for the job of raising children.  The kind of taxes, taking money from other individuals, needed to support this would be enough to break the economy.

I choose to not have children, but I really need to subsidize your children in some ways.  I need to support society.  The only question is extent.  I pay my taxes that fund your children schools.  I pay my taxes that provide school lunches.  I pay my taxes that fund food stamps.  I pay my taxes that will now be used to subsidize your health insurance.  I think many of these programs should be expanded and improved.  We need better schools, and a single payer health care system.  Paying my fair share to be part of a moral society is important.

Where I draw a solid line is when having children is a workplace benefit.  Extra paid time off *because kids* when I’m already paying my taxes to subsidize your choices is just to far.  When we start talking about paying women the same dollar amount for 36 hours of work that men get for 44, we have a real problem.  When we start talking about creating special, lower, standards for women to become CEO or a Senator, we have a real problem.  We need the best candidates as CEO’s and Senators regardless or race, gender, orientation, religion (laundry list of irrelevant things).  When there are mandates to include women, regardless of merit, we have major problems.” genderneutrallanguage

Hillary-Clinton-secret-letter-from-women-senators

I do agree with your argument. You are right in the points that you make, I find little to quibble in the issues you raise, and yet… I am uncomfortable with the outcome of such an attitude when implemented and applied in practice.

I would fully support it if it were the case that it applied equally to men and women. The comment does mention that it does, yet in reality it is more of an “it ought to”, as unfortunately we do not live in egalitarian societies, and therefore this affects women disproportionately more than men.

Men also choose to have children, yet their careers seldom suffer as a result. All these examples you mention, when people get time off work with pay because they have a baby – well, as a matter of biology, it does affect women more than men.

When children are sick, the primary carer is more often than not the woman, and it is her who has to find a way of getting time away from work. The same goes for taking time away from work when the child’s school calls, when day care closes unexpectedly, when the babysitter doesn’t show up.

The brunt of the responsibility for raising children falls on the woman.

I am aware that there are exceptions, but these are exactly that: exceptions. So, until men and women take a 50/50 approach to sharing the responsibility of raring children, I do believe that it is women who will suffer most, and it is their opportunities and careers that would be curtailed as a result.

And all these things you mention are not workplace benefits. This is the life of a jobbing parent, who try as they may, cannot stop their child from being sick sometimes, or prevent a baby-sitter from not showing up.
I am sure they don’t see it as a benefit, and they’d much rather not have their work interrupted by domestic emergencies either.

Since we reached the topic of benefits; there are many benefits that others have and that I have to pay for that I would rather not – but at the end of the day, I’d rather pay my share and live in a compassionate society, where those who need help and assistance get it, rather than a society that punishes people who fall on hard times.

As for the corporate ladder climbing: somehow I struggle to believe that the childless those who work hard and put in the hours are constantly overlooked in favour of their mothering counterparts who somehow have fallen short of doing their job.

Is it possible that these career mothers have simply been more effective and efficient, taken work home and put in extra “invisible” hours precisely because they know that having a child can work against them and they did everything they could to outbalance that particular potential drawback for their careers?
Is it possible that they actually deserved the raise, the bigger pay-packet or making partners?

I do not know how useful it is to talk in terms of hours worked when it comes to getting the job done either. Some people may need longer for the same project than others. It doesn’t necessarily make them more hardworking. It could be a matter of lesser talent=more hours needed.

Perhaps this is a matter to be raised with the employers themselves. They would not discriminate against mothers, but I am sure they would equally not discriminate against talent either.

Incidentally, I assume the “you” in your reply refers to the “you, woman who chose to have children”, rather than “you, woman who wrote the comment.” I know I did not mention it, but perhaps I ought to just in case: I do not have children.

You say: “When we start talking about creating special, lower, standards for women to become CEO or a Senator, we have a real problem.”

The problem I think lies in those who think it necessary to create lower standards in order to get female CEOs and Senators. Being a mother does not automatically make someone incapable of successfully discharging their duties in a job. It may require flexibility, but I do not see why that would in any way equate with lowering standards.

Women should not be made to feel like it’s an either or. They should be empowered to do both.

There is also altogether an ambiguity regarding what this lowering of standards entails.
Women do not need to be men in order to have high standards, a good work ethic and the capability to do high powered jobs. They can choose not to have children, but that ought never be a choice made based on career progression.

If a career demands of a human being to give up everything else in their lives in order to follow it, then the problem is the culture of that career and it is the demands of that career that are substandard, not the people attempting to make a go of it – parents or not.

*

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19 thoughts on “BABY ON BOARD | Senators and CEOs

  1. I absolutely agree that women should be empowered to do both. My wife is an extremely successful driven and motivated woman who has excelled in her career. It takes partnership and teamwork between us. We both understand that our careers can excel equally and that neither is more important or above the other.

  2. I shall be proposing in my 2nd book that the entire concept of career as we now understand it is the creation of a narcissistic society. It is souless and serves to reinforce the unhealthy practice of people defining themselves by their “success” instead of discovering who they are and were meant to be as loving individuals.

    My Supreme Court Chief Justice is a woman, yet I find I have far more respect for my mother “as a woman” than I do my Chief Justice. I have far more respect for the men who collect my trash every week “as men” than I do former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, the Royal Bankrupter and (self) Deceiver.

  3. “Because kids.” ~ Think of them as the next generation of drones that will pay taxes that pay for your social security.

    It’s a benefit that all can qualify for. You choose not to participate by not having kids…

    Do you prefer to have the sick kid brought to work? I’ve seen that….

    There are benefits for you for having a parent, not just a mother, able to take time off for sick kids.

    It’s a Risk Management question. And we need kids. Literally. No kids, no future,

    Try to take in the global argument and conditions, not the simple question of who has priority, it’s not a zero sum game.

    You and the parent both benefit by a parent able to take time off from work….

  4. Uh-oh, Vic, here I go again – and after I already said so much… lol This:

    “If a career demands of a human being to give up everything else in their lives in order to follow it, then the problem is the culture of that career and it is the demands of that career that are substandard, not the people attempting to make a go of it – parents or not.” – says it all.

    I believe someone mentioned it on the first part of this post, and it is so true. The problem is really that we’ve become a society that demands more time from employees than they get to live outside of the workplace. The mighty dollar vs. the quality of time we’re given to spend on ourselves, our loved ones (and yes, our children). It’s quite sad. Just because we’re capable of cramming a lifetime inside of a 24 hour period, doesn’t mean we should HAVE to as a standard practice.

    • Thank you, melodyspen. I really appreciate that you decided to comment on this follow-up post as well. Indeed, we already spend most of our adult life working. To be required to add even more hours to this is detrimental not only to our life outside work, but I think to our working life as well. Not one person can be productive and keep up energy levels for 10 or 12 hours a day and then return to the task with enthusiasm and commitment the day after, and then the day after that.
      I do think that employers should consider what kind of workforce they want: one that warms up seats or one that gets the job done quickly and has something to keep working for as well.
      Thank you – great comment once again.

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