I am a grand father of four, two of whom are babies and their mother’s no longer have the luxury of a baby bonus from the Government. One a school teacher has some legal entitlements to pay while on baby-leave, the other in a mid-size business gets nothing but the Government hand-out.
Amber Rust, an Oxford-educated stay-at-home mother, says "I love this woman, I want to go out for lunch with her.” Rust is speaking of Catherine Hakim, feminist foe and author, whose latest new paper called Feminist Myths and Magic Medicine, has caused another furore amongst the politically correct, claiming that women still want to "marry up": to marry men who are richer and cleverer than them.
Rust went on to say, “"And I love this line: 'Financial dependence on a man has lost none of its attractions after the equal opportunities revolution.' "
This it seems, is the crux of the debate, whether feminism has changed the mindset of women in the work force at all.
Kate Spicer who wrote the above cited article in The Australian, says that Catherine Hakim is not new to controversy. Her book “I Want to be a Housewife” didn't make the top 1000 feminist's Christmas gift list. Nor did her contribution last year, “Erotic Capital” , in that women's looks, sexuality and charm should be as highly valued as assets usually held in higher regard, such as brains.
In her latest work Hakim says that the truth is that most men and women have different career aspirations and priorities. One critic wrote that “It's like we're going back to Jane Austen. I am so anti-Hakim; she is all about the de-powering of women." (Strangely Jane Austen books and movie recreations are fabulously popular).
Rust however affirms Hakim, "The truth is women often end up earning less because somebody has to stay at home and be the parent. And until men can have babies, that will be the mother. The idea of women accepting and even desiring financial dependence, is an unpalatable truth, but Hakim is spot on. The truth hurts."
YouGov survey for The Sunday Times suggests Hakim has a point. It reveals that 64 per cent of women of all political views, ages and locations would have preferred to marry a man who earned more than them.
Survey – 55% of new mums would prefer to be…
Asked whether, if money were not a worry, they would prefer to stay at home with their children, 55 per cent said yes. And 53 per cent agreed that society puts pressure on women with children to go to work. Is that another sign that, as Hakim would have it, women want a rich husband and to enjoy domestic life?
Kate Spicer wrote that Hakim, a senior research fellow in the sociology department at the London School of Economics. Mostly she contributes to academic conversation with fellow social theorists, economists and, as she puts it, "that gender studies lot".
Spicer went on to say that there is no shortage of women applauding her. One Goldman Sachs banker supports Hakim's theory that emphasis on equality can undermine women's achievements. She describes how she was unable to enjoy a genuinely earned promotion because colleagues suspected it was down to a general "boost the number of female MDs"
She cites Belinda Robertson, chief executive of a company selling cashmere clothing, who says: "I employ lots of women with kids; they're much harder working, very efficient. But having a child is a conscious choice; it involves a lot of sacrifice. You can't have everything."
I make the point that this discussion reveals the reality of Australia life as well. One of his relatives is a part time working mother (Law) who makes no secret of the fact that she would much rather be at home raising her family but the financial realities do not permit her such delights. Australian working mothers would be very pleased to receive “parenting leave” to stay and home and raise the children.
The Australian government believes the nation can now afford 'maternity leave' (women and men) and but can the nation afford 'paid parenting leave'. Moreover, at what age would it cut out, when the youngest child was say, seven years of the age?
In some situations it has shown to be more financially viable for the wife to work and the husband stay home, but that is a very different scenario to 'paid parenting leave' for one or both spouses.
Australia is very fortunate with such forward thinking social policies for families. At this stage, I would be very surprised if the Government thought they could financially support 'paid parenting leave'. Until that happens, Catherine Hakim's summations seem to be realistic. Doesn't every parent want their daughter to marry someone financially secure – indeed, tradesman do very well today.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. The above photo is the upper part from this portrait.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html