Women at work in 2010

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HYDE PARK — I watched an episode of Mission: Impossible with my 11-year-old yesterday.  It was 1968 and they had to trick a bad guy into believing it he’d been frozen for 12 years.  So they froze him and he “woke up in 1980”.

It was great to see what 1980 looked like from 1968.  There were rocket cars, flat screen TVs, lots of buttons to push, and no more money. It was all just cards.  But, yea, there was still an attractive woman to take your order and/ or your bedpan.

I often wonder how far short we have fallen of my grandmothers’ sense of what the future would hold?

Last week a lady came in for a visit,  she’s been laid off while on maternity leave and had been told convincingly by someone that ‘mothers never get their good jobs back’.

That winds me up.

She’ll need flexible hours and maybe short weeks, but she’s ready to work… and yet she’s convinced the world is not ready for her.

There must be a better way.

We’ve got the flat screen TVs, the Internet, we’ve even got cars that go like rockets.  But 51% of the population think they can’t work and have a family.


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One Response

  1. Sam

    You’re right. There has to be a better way. Many women (and men) are making it happen – often forging an independent path as a result of becoming parents.

    On BBC’s More or Less programme on 18th June Tim Harford talked to Amalia Miller of the University of Virginia who discovered that, for women, delaying motherhood has a measurable and substantial effect on their career outcomes and earnings. Even one year’s delay makes a huge difference. http://bit.ly/auaykK

    The gender pay gap and career achievement does seem to be less about being a woman than it does about being a mother so, for now, we have to continue to weigh up the personal value to us of our work in the world and how we choose to do it. It’s not easy to find a way but it’s always worthwhile trying. I hope your colleague finds her way – and thanks for this thoughtful post.

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