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Category Archives: women

International Women’s Day

Ok, my personal list of women I admire.

1. My mum
2. My daughter – for her resilience, fun, and potential
3. Julia Gillard (my daughter is her greatest fan)
4. A number of my friends who’d be embarrassed if I wrote their names here, but who have shown tenacity, determination, ambition, empathy and more.
5. Eva Cox
6. Germaine Greer
7. Samantha Stosur

Rachel Hills has compiled a list of 21 Women to Admire. And yes, Eva Cox is on the list!

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in women

 

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Working mothers – will the guilt never end?

Opinion piece here.

Like the writer of this piece, Amy Gray, I don’t feel ‘working mother’s guilt’. I may feel guilty about other things (like when I demonstrate poor language choices by swearing at other drivers in Canberra’s annoying traffic!), but I don’t feel guilty about working to earn money so we have a roof over our head. I’m a widow. I don’t have a big fat pension to lean on and we hadn’t paid off our house when DH died. Like my mother, I’m giving my daughter an example of how to work and how to be a mother, and that neither is a walk in the park, yet both can be enormously rewarding on many different levels.

My paternal grandmother was widowed young with two small children. She also worked and had support from her mother with childcare. I have support from paid childcare. Believe me, I appreciate the fantastic young women and men who run exciting activities after school. I couldn’t come up with that variety of activities (soccer, monkey bars, tag, cricket, craft, etc.) for DD and me to do on our own – some things need a number of kids to make it work. DD loves being with other kids. She’s extroverted and very sociable. Hence the endless cries for playdates on the weekend.

 

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Older mums – a bit more

I wrote an earlier response here to a WA professor’s declaration that older mothers are selfish for a variety of reasons.

One thing that has come back again and again to me from friends, older mothers and those who have not had the opportunity to become mothers, is that there’s a disconnect in some people’s lives between one person wanting to have children, and their partner not wanting children, or not wanting to settle down.

I was interested to read an article today by Sara Holton, Jane Fisher and Heather Rowe that asserts that women delaying having children for selfish reasons in order to pursue personal ambitions or hedonistic activities such as travel are not supported by the evidence.

The article is based upon To have or not to have? Australian women’s childbearing desires, expectations and outcomes by the above women in JOURNAL OF POPULATION RESEARCH DOI: 10.1007/s12546-011-9072-3. I have the article here on my screen (the joys of access to a university library – thank you).

From the news article:

[T]he selfish, career-focused woman who chooses not to have children or delays childbearing is a myth. Women are not helped by the accusations that have been directed at them in recent weeks.

Women would benefit from public policies that are more sensitive to and address the barriers they face in having children.

In addition to the welcome recent improvements in maternity benefits, such sensitive public policies could include education for men about female fertility and the risks to their partner’s health of postponing childbearing.

Other initiatives could include flexible repayment options to permit suspension of higher-education debts while women provide unpaid care for dependent young children, and maximising housing affordability.

Many women would have more children if they could and if circumstances allowed. Women reported a main barrier was their partner’s reluctance to have a child, or another child.

Given that, I feel it is irresponsible for pundits and researchers to yell at ‘older mothers’ for being ‘selfish’ and having children later in life.

 
 

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Commuting makes mums mad

 

 

 

http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/505560/description

 

 

 

Jennifer Roberts | Robert Hodgson | Paul Dolan
external link 
It’s driving her mad: gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological health Journal of Health Economics  

doi:10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.07.006

 

 

 

 
 

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Work stress and the single parent

Article at http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/middleage-single-parents-at-highest-risk-of-work-stress-20110808-1ij8b.html.

The suicide prevention group R U OK? conducted a survey of 800 people (if you want to know more about that group, go to their website at http://www.ruokday.com.au/content/home.aspx) .The highest risk group for extreme stress at work was middle-age single parents. Oh great, sighs the middle-aged widow here. Just what I didn’t want to know.

But I can see why it is so. No denying it. It is the stress of getting not only oneself up and going in the morning, but also a child (who may or may not be co-operative 🙂 ), the desire to do a great job at the workplace and to contribute to society through one’s work, and the desire to be a really good mum and family member. The stress of being the only person who is keeping track of a child/children’s progress, time commitments, needs and wants. The lack of downtime as an adult to do rewarding leisure activities that do not directly involve a child.

Can I add that it is not helpful for judgmental people to say “Well, you shouldn’t work until your child is old enough to look after herself/himself”? If I didn’t work, I wouldn’t be able to pay my mortgage. I would have to go on the waiting list for public housing, which is currently a 2 year wait. I would have to find a place to rent, which would take up a large amount of any welfare benefits I may receive. And DD’s life would be put in turmoil with a change of domicile, school, leisure activities and closeness to family and friends. I’m not going to do that.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Jobs, Life Matters, women

 

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Gen X women – career before babies?

Article .

This is research from the NY think-tank, the Centre for Work-Life Policy. 43% of Generation X women (born between 1965 and 1978, my generation) do not have children. I find it interesting that the article sees this as a choice and a preferred choice at that, rather than the usual comments one hears of “There are no worthy men around!” I can think of quite a few Gen X women who would have loved to have children but so far have not found a partner with whom they would like to have children, and they do not want to have a child on their own via assisted reproduction technology. Sure, I see that most of us were aware of how much we could achieve and we totally went for it! We could do anything, take on any career, and we believed (still believe) in people being promoted due to their merits rather than just because they’re a bloke.

Ninety-one percent of the surveyed women in relationships were part of dual-earning couples, and 19 per cent out-earned their husbands. Similarly, 74 per cent considered themselves ambitious, compared to 65 per cent of women from the baby-boom generation.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Article, the mummy race, women

 

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Aussie mums, take a bow!

Article here.

New international research shows working mums spend 15 hours a week looking after their children but it also underscores the difficult balancing act they face in the workforce. Working mothers are spending 137 minutes directly caring for their children on average per day, while fathers spend 69 minutes, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found. […]

The report analysed how much time parents spent caring for their child as a “primary activity” – including dressing, feeding and playing – and excluded time when the parent’s main focus was on other activities.

Once again, I am thankful to have an employer who allows me to have flexible work hours, while I ensure that I am here at core times and maintain professional standards and high expectations of myself. It takes two – the employer and the employee – to make this work.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Article, children, Motherhood, women

 

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