realitycheck(dot)ie

Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Killing Me Softly With These European Lovey Dovey Feminist Policies

Newsweek reports that European women are lagging way behind American women - For all the myths of equality that Europe tells itself, the Continent is by and large a woeful place for a woman who aspires to lead.
In the US, women make up 45% of high level decision makers, unlike the U.K. where the figure is 33% and shock, horror, the Swedish utopia comes in at 29%.
Newsweek attributes these "sad statistics" to Europe's labor markets, lingering welfare-state policies and corporate leadership as they do about its attitudes toward women; and that Europe has consistently unable to tap the highest potential of its female workers, who represent half of college graduates in most countries. Women, it seems, can have a job—but not a high-powered career.
Europe is killing its women with kindness—enshrined, ironically, in cushy welfare policies that were created to help them. By offering women extremely long work leaves after children, then pushing them to take the full complement via tax policies that discourage a second income, coupled with subsidies that serve to keep them at home, Europe is essentially squandering its female talent. Not only do women get off track for long periods, many simply never get back on. Nor have European corporations adapted to changing times. Few offer the flextime that makes it easier for women to both work and manage their families. Instead, women tend to get shuffled into part-time work, which is less respected and poorly paid.

I'm pretty much a capitalist so the solutions Newsweek mentions suit me quite well -

More entrepeneurs - Europe's business culture is still more hierarchical and less flexible than America's. Women tend to thrive in less formal, more entrepreneurial environments where they can help set the rules, as in the United States.

More flexible time for ALL workers (not just women) - most global and best-managed companies tend to be those offering employees the best work-life balance—flexible hours, job sharing, time banking and working from home.

Reduced regulation of child care - to bring down the cost, create more jobs for women and allow all women more real choice in their career.

And the last one that I think is quite important (and disagree with the authors of the article on) is the empowerment of women who stay at home. That they won't be castigated by feminist icons like Mary Robinson for letting the side down, that they can make a free choice for their families - choosing what is best for them.

UPDATE - Stanley Kurtz has an article on Sweden, marriage and crazy feminist policies.

1 Comments:

Blogger Dealga said...

'By offering women extremely long work leaves after children, then pushing them to take the full complement via tax policies that discourage a second income, coupled with subsidies that serve to keep them at home, Europe is essentially squandering its female talent. Not only do women get off track for long periods, many simply never get back on.'

So the solution to empowering women is to remove the safety nets that empower them to have a choice whether or not they wish to work raising a child? Women who aspire to lead are prevented from doing so by a welfare state that has the audacity to help them raise their families?

And as for deregulating childcare, is the suggestion that the mother and child are better off if she's forced to work while the child gets landed with God knows what clown during its formative years. I'm no commie, but that article reads like an attempt at old-fashioned eurobashing dressed up as a concern for equality.

February 24, 2006 12:04 p.m.  

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