Bias against babies?

Mar 07 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

A bias against women having babies has permeated our culture, argues Madeline Bunting in her Guardian column. It is evident in our consumer culture and our work culture. The problem about motherhood (and, to a lesser extent, fatherhood) is that it comes at the cost of failure - or at least compromise - as consumer or worker, or both.

Not cutting it - that's pretty much the gist at work too. The entire debate on women's work is about mothers failing in the labour market: they don't earn much; they're in dead-end jobs; they don't make it to the top; they take the easy option and duck responsibility; they're less productive than menÖ

But the whole debate about women's place in work is lopsided. They are not failures but astonishing successes. What gets missed out of the equation is that mothers' productivity is staggeringly high: the Office for National Statistics did a valuation of women's homemaking and care, and came up with a figure of £929bn, or 104% of GDP. Combine that with the value of women's paid work, and they are easily outperforming the shockingly low productivity of men.

The Guardian | Behind the baby gap lies a culture of contempt for parenthood