Monday, 2 February 2009
Here we go again. Everything that is wrong with the world is women's fault. Here, Children's Society blames working women for family breakdown, under-achieving children and getting themselves into poverty.
I'd first like to declare an interest, my parents divorced when I was 7. I have two degrees, a successful career and an ability to make friends. You know why? Partly, yes I'm fabulous, but I'm also middle class.
What angers me about these kind of stories is not that the data is wrong, although sometimes it is (links to a comment I made on another blog but haven't got round to blogging on here, tut). Its the inference it makes and the information is leaves out.
So if economic independence is allowing women to leave unsatisfactory relationships. So what do you suggest? Making women more dependent on men? Make them stay in unsatisfactory relationships?
The information that is missing here is about men. Men and women get divorced, why then to men disappear? Why is it divorced women that largely have sole responsibility for bringing up children? Because our society puts more responsibility on women for childcare than on fathers. Women being economically independent is the problem rather than men not being able to adapt to their changing role in society and in the family. Relationship breakdown is the problem rather than adults not being able to break up without turning into sadists intent on harming their previous loved one and often using the children to do that.
The genie is out of the bottle. Women are not going to stop working because they have a right to do so. Couples are not going to stop splitting up, because it is unhealthy for people to be trapped in a loveless relationship. The key here is the information buried deep in the article:
Figures published by Unicef in 2007 showed that children in Scandinavian countries – where rates of family break-up are similar to the UK – are happier than British children.
Why? Its the Economy, stupid. "Broken" families end up in poverty because (and bear with me this is quite mathematically complicated) two incomes are better than one. Childcare is expensive, before women were working they were doing the childcare for free. Only around 12.5% of absentee parents pay child support. Having this 'Men, tuh' attitude is letting them off the hook and blaming women for not putting up with it.
And I'm not even going to start on the often implicit 'children being brought up solely by women are crap because women are crap' argument, I'm sure I'll return to that another day. See picture above instead.