WORK­ING A MAN’S WORLD

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - @WORK -

By Zanele Ku­malo THISYEAR’STHEME FOR INTERNATIONALWOMEN’S DAY, cel­e­brated on 8 March, was ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gen­der Equal­ity’. While ma­jor vic­to­ries have been won, struc­tural re­al­i­ties still un­der­mine ef­forts to close the gen­der gap. I was re­minded of this dur­ing a re­cent lunch with my girl­friends: the work­ing moth­ers lamented the dis­par­ity be­tween the time the work­day ends and that of the school day.

What hap­pens if you can’t work ex­itime or af­ford qual­ity day care or don’t have some­one to help out? Now that women have en­tered the work­force, the im­pact on work­ing moth­ers’ ca­reers is im­mense. I doubt that as many fa­thers run out dur­ing the day to pick up their kids as do their fe­male coun­ter­parts. Or ex­pe­ri­ence the same level of con ict. Women are still largely ex­pected to be the care­tak­ers and men the bread­win­ners.

Re­becca Rosen dis­cusses the im­bal­ance on Theat­lantic.com: un­til work, home and school or day care are brought into align­ment, she says, ‘ fam­i­lies will con­tinue to feel stretched thin, dads will con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence pres­sure to be work­ers rst and fa­thers se­cond, and, in all like­li­hood, women will con­tinue to lag be­hind men in terms of ca­reer achieve­ment and com­pen­sa­tion. Equal­ity is not pos­si­ble un­der th­ese cir­cum­stances.’

The ar­gu­ment that moth­ers should work part-time or be­come stay-at-home moms if they can af­ford to is both coun­ter­pro­duc­tive and sex­ist. A bet­ter so­lu­tion would be tai­lor­ing work­ing hours to match the class­room timetable, by ex­tend­ing the school day and short­en­ing the work­day. In ef­fect, meet­ing half­way. Swe­den, con­sid­ered an equal­ity par­adise by many, is al­ready tri­alling the con­cept. Or what about govern­ment of­fer­ing free pub­lic care?

@mis­szan

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