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>Choosing to work or not is the ultimate luxury? Be nice to have the choice

>I’m not sure if Kirsty Young lives in some kind of bubble but her recent interview in the Telegraph she says firstly that most women don’t have careers (speak for yourself Kirsty) and that the fact women can choose to work or not is the ultimate luxury and a sign of how far society has come.

Trouble is that for an awful lot of women there isn’t much of a choice.
Whether they work or not is not driven by what they would like to do but either a need to work to bring in cash, to not work because they won’t bring home any income after childcare and commuting costs are covered, to have to move to a Mummy job because their preferred career isn’t compatible with raising children or to continue to work longer hours than they’d like because their job again isn’t compatible with having children.
This, and my experience, suggests to me that actually society hasn’t really evolved away from the working father, housewife mother view of life. That choices are forced upon us by unfamily friendly employers and the ridiculous costs of decent childcare.
Consider MPs, as Nick Clegg pointed out, they have a shooting gallery at the House of Commons but no creche. Consider also that a chauffeur is tax deductible but a nanny isn’t. And then wonder why there are so few women with children in senior management positions or roles of authority.
Oh yes we’ve made a whole lot of progress in equality terms.
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14 comments to >Choosing to work or not is the ultimate luxury? Be nice to have the choice

  • Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy

    >Good point. I'm horrified to learn that the Houses of Commons don't have a creche and that a chauffeur is tax deductible. It is still a male world out there, like it or not.

  • Mwa

    >I often feel that, too. Fine, it's now "acceptable" for women to go out to work, as long as they magically still do everything they did before as well. I would probably be working just now if the world was more geared to it. I would like to work part time, but I just don't feel it's practical just now.

  • c


    I have a career and no choice. I HAD to go back to work this week, part time, as we need the £££. No choice over here.

  • c


    I have a career and no choice. I HAD to go back to work this week, part time, as we need the £££. No choice over here.

  • It's a Mummys Life

    >As the main breadwinner I have no choice either. It's either work or sell the house. I can just about make it work with childcare etc but I still feel guilty most of the time. Cannot believe they have a shooting gallery – that's crazy. Makes me sick.

  • Hearth-mother

    >No choice over here either. In fact, I am lucky that we managed to save enough for me to take six months off this time.

    I would love some 'choice' but the job I am in doesn't even allow me to consider a part-time return to work, so it's 5 days a week from next week, and yes, I am quite grumpy!

  • diney

    >Childcare is so expensive that we decided I would work at husband's business which would give me massive flexibility for school holidays and so on, but it is not the career I would have chosen.

  • Geriatric Mummy

    >Well said. It really cheeses me off that we are continually told how easy we have it – can have it all !

    I'm a SAHM who doesn't need to work but would love to for the sake of my sanity and self esteem. Sadly as a self employed holistic therapist it just doesn't pay enough to cover childcare costs 🙁

  • Hot Cross Mum

    >I agree. It is still incredibly difficult to sustain a senior management career with children. I am a SAHM now – any part-time work wouldn't cover the costs of childcare which is why I'm trying to establish an income from freelance writing – which I can do when the kids are in bed!

  • fun mum / glum mum

    >i am really lucky as i did have the choice on whether to go back to work. i decided to be a sahm and my partner and i mange quite well. i realise that others do not have that choice and more should be done to assist mums (and dads of course) who want to juggle careers and family life.

  • Working Mum

    >I think Kirsty's words are being taken out of context. I read her interview in full in the Radio Times (where she was promoting her new TV series which is what the interview is about) rather than snippets taken by those who want to push their own agenda.

    She did say that choosing whether to work or not is a luxury, but she did also go on to say about the majority of women who do not have that choice and have to work to pay the bills and put food on the table.

    She is not living in a bubble. I found many of her comments to be intelligent, articulate and insightful of the problems faced by working mums today.

    Just saying ……

  • Emily O

    >I suppose we have choice in that it's socially acceptable for women to be a SAHM, WAHM or working mum. Years ago working mums were frowned upon (my Grandma was sacked for being a working mum!). And we're better off with our choices than women in other societies. However, as you say financial situations and personal circumstances usually dictate so we don't have a lot of choice unless we're mega-rich or successful like KY.

  • Anonymous

    >This debate fascinates me – there are so many issues here. I'm going out with a group of high-flying childfree singletons on Sat night (friends of a friend from previous life) and I know they think I am a kind of alien species because I no longer have a 'career'. I'm sure they wonder what I do all day. Ha, ha! One of them said she was thinking of having a baby to have a 'rest from her job'. Yer, love, go ahead…

  • Sparx

    >I wibble about on this argument as, truth be told, if we could afford for me not to work I would stay home with my son in a heartbeat. But, as we all know, the SAHM work doesn't pay, although it is more exhausting, requires more brain-power and muscle power as well as longer hours than almost every other job I can think of.

    Yes, I'm happy that I can work and make money and be appreciated outside of my home. Yes, I love contributing to the coffers and being able to pay for nicer things but in some part of my mind I just think that I am coded deep in my DNA to want to stay home with my child; and that's what I want to do – there's just not the choice.

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