An Australian columnist has declared that it should be illegal for women to stay at home with their children. Seriously.
Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun paid employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children of school-age or older are gainfully employed.
Rather than everyone being outraged over the OECD report, why don’t we look at constructive ways to help our economy?
The OECD was right to criticise the double standards applied to Australia’s work-search rules regarding welfare benefits. While young people face strict criteria when seeking to access the dole, those aged over 50 can still receive it despite not looking for a job by citing 15 hours volunteer work a week.
The double standards are even greater for stay-at-home mums, with governments of all persuasions traditionally wary to tackle the unfair tax concessions enjoyed by one-income households for fear of inciting voting fury. (No doubt they refer to Abbott’s aforementioned paid parental leave scheme as a cautionary tale).
But it’s time for a serious rethink of this kid-glove approach to women of child-bearing and child-rearing age. Holding us less accountable when it comes to our employment responsibilities is not doing anyone any favours. Not children, not fathers, not bosses — and certainly not women.
Only when the female half of the population is expected to hold down a job and earn money to pay the bills in the same way that men are routinely expected to do will we see things change for the better for either gender.
Only when it becomes the norm for all families to have both parents in paid employment, and sharing the stress of the work-home juggle, will we finally have a serious conversation about how to achieve a more balanced modern workplace.
Only when the tiresome and completely unfounded claim that “feminism is about choice” is dead and buried (it’s not about choice, it’s about equality) will we consign restrictive gender stereotypes to history.
So long as we as a nation cling to the lie that only a stay-at-home mum is best placed to assume the responsibilities of caregiver then working fathers will continue to feel insecure about stepping off the corporate treadmill to spend more time with their children.
That’s the thing about the left. They can’t just say they don’t like moms staying home, it has to be illegal. It is a tyranny of whims.