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What happened to women's liberation?

(124 Posts)
Luckygirl3 Tue 05-Apr-22 15:55:02

Many fought for women to have equal rights to education and to jobs and careers - quite rightly.

Now that this has in large measure been achieved, what I am seeing is young women who are completely exhausted by being both parents and career women; women who are finding it very hard to do-it-all.

There are young women who feel under pressure to have a career, and feel judged if they choose to stay home and look after their children for a period of time. That seems very sad to me, and is particularly worrying. And many worry about how they will get back on the career ladder.

None of this was a huge problem for me as I was never one for climbing the greasy pole - I was content to be at home for 5 years, and then picked up my career bit by bit with no wish to "get to the top", but just to do a good job on the ground rather than climb the ladder and finish up in management rather than action.

Has the cost of achieving a level of equality been at an unforeseen high price? Is this because many women still bear the brunt of home tasks as well as childcare outside of their career? Maybe this relates to the fact that there has not been an equal change of attitude towards men being at home to parent. Googling paternal leave came up with the fact that in most countries where this exists, most men do not take this up.

Some of these young women I see appear completely exhausted and are in many ways getting the worst of both worlds.

Just wondered what people thought?

Grandmabatty Tue 05-Apr-22 16:30:29

I went back to work after each of my two children and worked full-time. I was tired but not drained or exhausted. I retrained as a teacher when my daughter was 2 and worked full time then too. I think it was a simpler time and less was expected of me. Plus I had a fabulous child minder. I did end up in management towards the end of my career. Staying home with the children wasn't an option. I'm glad I did work as my marriage broke down and things would have been very difficult if I hadn't been working. My daughter is currently on maternity leave with her second child and her husband takes his share of the load. If you can afford it and want to stay home,then fine. I will always be glad I worked.

PECS Tue 05-Apr-22 16:34:33

Well not sure we are there yet! Certainly more opportunity
aspirations & pathways for women & improving parity in pay.

However, I believe that studies into women in the home still show that women shoulder far more responsibility for home management/ childcare than men. There will, of course be families where this is not the case, but it is still the case for most women: full time paid job & main person managing shopping laundry etc & childcare arrangements.

Luckygirl3 Tue 05-Apr-22 16:43:29

I feel discomforted by the fact that women who choose not to go to work when their children are small sometimes feel that people judge them, because they are not pursuing a career. I am sure that this was not what women's lib set out to do but to give them opportunities and choice.

Ilovecheese Tue 05-Apr-22 16:47:18

I think there is just too much for two people to do if they both go out to work full time. Even if fathers took more domestic responsibilities there is still less time than there was when only one of them who worked outside the home.
Weren't we supposed to be at the stage now, where we all have so much more leisure due to computerisation? More time to spend with our families?
People seem to work more hours than ever now.

Ilovecheese Tue 05-Apr-22 16:51:27

I agree with your last point * Luckygirl3* wasn't women's lib about respecting homemakers as of equal value to those doing paid work.
The trouble is if the partnership or marriage breaks down, the mother can no longer rely on maintainance to keep things going while she gets back on her feet.

PECS Tue 05-Apr-22 17:03:33

I did have 4 years as a "mum at home" when I had DD2. They were fabulous times but DH worked his main job as a teacher & each holiday & some evenings to make up for lost income. I did some evening work too. I went back to work p/t for a year then back f/t. I was the one who cooked, arranged childcare etc etc ..though DH did do the weekly shop, with DDs in tow.. they reminded me of the Thursday ritual recently..which included a trip to Macdonalds & eating it the boot of the car on the way homeshock

AGAA4 Tue 05-Apr-22 17:05:01

Many people need two incomes to support their home and children. There is often no choice.

MissAdventure Tue 05-Apr-22 17:07:56

Women have spoiled the notion of equality because everything now is judged by others (women)

Pepper59 Tue 05-Apr-22 17:15:19

Homemaking and child rearing are not valued by society. Yet, it's the hardest job of the lot. You are on call 24 hours a day, just about.I really don't believe you can have it all. The cost of childcare prohibited me from returning to work initially. I returned full time when my youngest was ten. Receiving plenty judgement and the 'what do you do all day comments". In the end I pleased myself and I felt valued and appreciated by my husband and family. Strangely enough the most judgement I received was from other young mums who had granny or auntie on tap for childcare. I could not ask my mum, she lived too far and wasn't able. My mother-in-law was disabled and father- in- law was her carer. So no childcare. I went back part - time, fitting jobs around the children. It wasn't easy. To my mind, for women, nothing has changed. Criticised if you do work and criticised if you don't. Childcare is as expensive now as it ever was and the school holidays are a difficulty. I found I would be working to pay a childminder, when the children were small, so what was the point. If I'd been able to return, we would have been so much better off, but then would my children? I don't know.

NotTooOld Tue 05-Apr-22 17:19:26

I was at the forefront of women's lib and believed in it implicitly - still do, of course - but I agree with the OP that it has not always worked out well for our daughters. They are under constant pressure to have a career, a family, to be fit, to look like a celebrity, to cook healthy meals from scratch and on top of that to home school their children when necessary. In my daughter's case, her husband does his share but I suspect she is still cracking under the strain. I do sometimes wonder if it was all worth it. I don't think she is happy.

PECS Tue 05-Apr-22 17:20:21

What do you mean MissAdventure?

People are judgemental .. damned if you do & damned if you don' childbirth, breast vs bottle, helicopter vs feral parenting,etc etc I get that..but it was ever thus!

Are women worse than men at that or do we just notice it more?


Coastpath Tue 05-Apr-22 17:20:55

The falling birth rate is an indication that women are looking at the costs of having children (both financial and personal cost) and are deciding to have fewer children or no children at all.

It seems women can see how hard it all is and are freely making choices. Isn't that what womens' liberation was all about?

Pepper59 Tue 05-Apr-22 17:24:42

NotTooOld, yes, I can see where your coming from, also the other poster who mentioned nowadays one wage isn't enough. To be honest it wasn't enough in my day, but I had no childcare that was available or affordable. You need to do the best you can with what you have. Like others here, I often wonder how my daughter does it all. In the main it's why I help out with childcare. I don't want them struggling like how we did.

MissAdventure Tue 05-Apr-22 17:26:32

I think women are worse, PECS.

Perhaps men criticise other men, but I've never heard one judging a woman for how many activities her child does, or whether she cooks from scratch, or doesnt shower twice a day..

NotTooOld Tue 05-Apr-22 17:32:50

Pepper, as you say, one wage is not enough but is that because expectations (fully equipped house or flat, expensive holidays, spa visits, nights out etc) are higher than were ours? We did manage to buy a house but had to move to a cheaper area and had no central heating or carpets let alone washing machines and dryers etc, never had holidays abroad or spa visits and rarely nights out as no family near to babysit, We were not unhappy though and just about managed on DH's weekly wage. Later I got some qualifications and a good job and that was when the constant juggling with child care began! I feel I have seen both sides of the equation.

Wheniwasyourage Tue 05-Apr-22 17:33:03

I stayed at home to look after the DC, because we thought that one of us should and where we live there wasn't a job for me, but DH had one which could support us all. He had to work up to 90 hours some weeks, so he needed someone at home almost as much as the children did.

I have always found it annoying when people talk about non-working mothers, meaning those who are at home with children. As Pepper59 says, you are on call all the time - 168 hours a week for a breast-feeding mother - and as she also points out, either you pay your salary to child care, or you just do without it while you are at home, so it comes to the same thing. In the meantime, you are working hard, but not for money. When you go out to work, you get paid for it, that's all.

MissAdventure Tue 05-Apr-22 17:36:36

Whether she washes her tea towels separately, how often she changes the bed, how many snacks she allows the children, whether she gives them juice or water...

Can you imagine a man getting het up about all that?

Ask a what a woman is like and you'll be told.
"Yeah, she seems nice."

Pepper59 Tue 05-Apr-22 17:41:44

NotTooOld, you sound exactly like me. Years of scrimping and scraping. Totally appreciate what you mean. Our furniture was all secondhand. We never had meals out, in fact a takeaway was for a special occasion! Never had a holiday abroad , and one year things were so difficult our family holiday was one weekend in a hotel. I'm not saying I want people nowadays to live like that. Each generation has their own different problems.

sodapop Tue 05-Apr-22 17:43:42

Expectations of women are high now, to have a career, children, perfect home etc.
Women often put these pressures on themselves as well quite unrealistically.
In a large proportion of households women still do most of the child care and household tasks. I think life is more stressful for young wives and mothers than it was when I was a young mum. In the sixties and seventies I think we accepted that we wouldn't have the holidays abroad, large houses, whilst the children were young.

trisher Tue 05-Apr-22 17:51:29

I wonder exactly what areas you think women have achieved equality in? There's still a gender pay gap. There's still more male representation in local and national government. There's a backlash in employment with women losing their jobs because they get pregnant. This is interesting

Grandma70s Tue 05-Apr-22 17:51:56

I didn’t go out to work once I had children. This was in the early 1970s. I had only one friend who had the same attitude. We thought being there for our children was much more important than earning money. I suppose we had enough, just about, but no luxuries. We were both well educated women, so we could have had good jobs outside the home if we had wanted them.. I enjoyed being at home and never felt trapped or ‘unliberated’.

I have absolutely no regrets about this, and if I was criticised for it I couldn’t care less.

Hithere Tue 05-Apr-22 17:52:38

I wouldn't be able to have the job and respect I have now decades ago

Progress has been made

Hithere Tue 05-Apr-22 17:54:51

What trisher said

NotTooOld Tue 05-Apr-22 18:12:33

I think life is more stressful for young wives and mothers than it was when I was a young mum. In the sixties and seventies I think we accepted that we wouldn't have the holidays abroad, large houses, whilst the children were young.

I agree, sodapop. We had our ambitions but were realistic with it. We also did not have social media to contend with. Oh, gawd, I sound really old now.