Tags: head in the sand

15 Feb 2005, Comments (0)

The Dad factor

Author: Helen

OK, where was I? I was meaning to do a followup on the popular ìfeminism-has-failed-womenî meme in the mainstream meeja since November, for godsakes ñ Something called Christmas and camping and then school got in the way. The good news is that there were some pretty good replies to those articles. And a lot of it came from men.

There were feisty replies from Lizzes Conor and Porter, as well as quite a few good letters to the editor.

Most women have always “run frantically” from task to task. That is what it is like to be a mother. Apart from the upper classes who had the money for nannies and governesses, the majority of women throughout history have worked alongside their partners on farms, in small businesses, in factories and industry, and still run the household. Children also were involved in making a living for the familyÖ
ÖÖ. The myth of the family where mothers gave their time exclusively to home-building and childcare is just that, a myth that existed in children’s books and appears to exist in the minds still of some politicians.

Itís the articles by the blokes which excite me, though. They get it: if itís heartbreaking for a woman to try and work a 70 hour week, perhaps itís not that good for men either. Perhaps men would like to experience life as a Dad more deeply than the Edwardian or 1950s model. Daniel Donahoo writes:

Parenting is not a job solely for women; our sons and daughters need a father’s strength, compassion and love just as much.
For men to stick their head in the sand and assume that they can continue to work full-time and function in the same way their fathers before them did, while their partner also pursues a career, is wrong.
There are many young families demonstrating the diverse range of flexible arrangements available to families.

Sushi Das published another corker of an article on the subject a few weeks ago ñ read the whole thing. That generated more interest, and more letters. Go Brendan, go Peter, onya Kevin .

Peter McDonald of the ANU makes a case that family-friendly policies making it easier for both genders to balance work and family benefit not only them, but the economy.. Unfortunately, the Howard government is still wistfully trying to encourage the (non-traditional) ìtraditionalî model.