The Gender Agenda

10/11/2013 16:02

"How do you manage to fit it all in?"

This blog entry has nothing to do with Triathlon, but it does have to do with women leading full and fulfilling lives. People sometimes ask me, "How do you manage to fit it all in?" My first reaction to this is to consider if I were a man, would they ask me the same thing? I don't think they would. Nobody really wonders how a father manages to exercise whilst holding down a full time job. Why is there a difference? Why should it be harder for a woman to do this than a man?

It is because society presumes that the (working) mother would always do the lion's share of housework and childcare. This is not how my family functions. My husband runs our household, we share the work and he spends far more time at home than I do.

Even when a family welcomes a new baby, we do not allow parents to choose which one of them takes time off of work to care for the newborn. It is taken for granted that it will always be the woman and this non-choice is reinforced by corporate policies (and, in most countries, but not all, the law).

In many cases a woman may prefer to take time off for physical recovery and ease of breastfeeding. However, this is not the case every time. By not allowing men equal opportunity to care for our children and run our homes, we are forcing this duty upon women. This means that the female talent pool for businesses is very shallow. I am still employed because my husband is confident enough to not care about society's stereotypes or judgments and runs a household instead of a business.

By having more men running our homes, there would be more women available to run our businesses. The difference would be especially significant in those from age 30-35 upwards, which corresponds usually to the age women would begin to have children and to a seniority of associate director to director level… exactly where we find the big drop in women at work occurring.

Why can't we change our maternity leave policies and laws to ‘parental leave’? We really could give equal opportunities to everyone, meaning more choice for men, as well as women?

Cheryl Sandberg thinks it’s good idea too: “I believe that the world would be a better place if half our institutions were run by women, and half our homes were run by men…"