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More thoughts on the tension between staying at home or heading back to work for mums, this article argues strongly for returning to work

I’ve been agitating for better childcare pretty much since I realised to stay sane and on top of the rest of my life I needed to look into some daycare for my son. It’s been an interesting issue to wade into, and there are strong emotions involved for most of us, as I know now from the hate mail I received from a stay at home mum. But this article is a refreshing re-read of a strident and controversial book written by Linda Hirschman that argued that women can not be completely fulfilled by staying at home, and that being a working mum is a decision you need to take to be a good member of society. Is all the talk about choice limiting our options?

I can’t really do the article justice, but here are some previews here:

But—though I almost hate to say it—buried beneath Hirshman’s overblown rhetoric is a useful idea, now set out in a short book titled Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World: namely, that our obsession with choice prevents us from asking tough questions about how to achieve further equality. Deafened by choice, here’s the moral analysis these women never heard,” she says: “Until there is more equity in the cultural norms for child-rearing and household tasks, each time a woman decides to “opt out” she is making a political decision that reinforces an already ingrained social inequality. Women who believe otherwise suffer from a mixture of false consciousness and impractical idealism.”

What do you think? Should women consider the wider social situation in their personal decisions, like this woman did about a very different issue? Do you think it’s important for women to work for complete fulfillment? This article also includes the stat that 93% of well educated and successful American women who opt out of work to have a baby want back in, but can’t. Have you faced discrimination or a lack of options since having a child? 


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