Anti-Feminist Baby Bonuses?

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Jabberwock

Baby bonuses are indeed questionable no matter what the pretext. Maternity benefits however, protect a woman's employment, and also come under attack by Maier. 

remind remind's picture

Is maternity leave,  at full time pay, the same thing as EI maternity benefits? And there was the rider that it was a combination of both that negatively imapcted women.

Then we have the reality that EI  Mat benefits do not  always protect woman's employment, unless they are union, and indeed that the majority of women do not go back to work at the same job. They leave their original job thinking they will be stay at home moms, until the financial burden becomes to great and they go back to work elsewhere for less pay usually.

martin dufresne

However... "support in childrearing... from... society" can always be slagged as "incentives to be childbearers" since it is easy to recognize that this will foster additional births.

It is telling that the list above is all about "emancipation from the household", as Unionist puts it... Doesn't this validate and reinforce the traditional discredit heaped on mothers - under a thin veeer of praise?

What about really paying parental work and other work done for others, instead of merely looking at ways of escaping these tasks for "real" employment? I know it's an old debate - and not one for men to weigh in to excessively - but I feel it is sweeping the issue under the market - pun not intended but I'll keep it, the unconscious ones are the best! -to simply state that such payment would necessarily be minimal and a patriarchal strategy to enslave women again. Materialist feminists and an organization such as the Wages for Housework Campaign see it differently.

Looking at the project of real salaries for caretakers doing the kind of work that mothers and daughters do, or at that of bonuses for immigrants arriving with children could be a way to approach the issues from a different angle.

Unionist

remind wrote:

Is maternity leave,  at full time pay, the same thing as EI maternity benefits? And there was the rider that it was a combination of both that negatively imapcted women.

Then we have the reality that EI  Mat benefits do not  always protect woman's employment, unless they are union, and indeed that the majority of women do not go back to work at the same job. They leave their original job thinking they will be stay at home moms, until the financial burden becomes to great and they go back to work elsewhere for less pay usually.

Don't know where you get that information, remind. The provinces generally follow the same rules as in the Canada Labour Code. It has nothing to do with EI benefits - it's a fundamental protection that the employer must grant mat leave and must reinstate the woman to employment after:

Quote:

209.1 (1) Every employee who takes or is required to take a leave of absence from employment under this Division is entitled to be reinstated in the position that the employee occupied when the leave of absence from employment commenced, and every employer of such an employee shall, on the expiration of any such leave, reinstate the employee in that position.

Comparable position

(2) Where for any valid reason an employer cannot reinstate an employee in the position referred to in subsection (1), the employer shall reinstate the employee in a comparable position with the same wages and benefits and in the same location.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

A link from StatsCan:
 
http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/publications_resources/evaluation/2007/sp_ah_674_01_05e/page05.shtml
 

Quote:

Female labour participation rates have increased over the past two decades. In 1999, 78.2 percent of women aged 25 to 54 were in the labour force (Labour Force Survey, Statistics Canada). A 1993 to 1996 survey that examined women who gave birth and returned to work within two years found that a full 100 percent who took six months off reported receiving benefits, 83 percent returned to the same job and 89 percent returned to their previous work status (Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), Statistics Canada).

It looks like the majority of women who receive public benefits return to the same job.

remind remind's picture

Let's deal in the real world unionist, not the theoretical world.

 

remind remind's picture

why would a report issued in 2007 rely on stats from the 1990's?

perhaps this why:

Quote:
Fired on maternity leave
Thursday, April 23, 2009 | 11:12 AM ET

The slumping economy is being blamed for what appears to be an increasingly common action — laying off or firing mothers while they're away from their jobs on maternity leave.

Toronto employment lawyer Daniel Lublin said he used to get a few inquiries every month about women being laid off while on maternity leave. Now, he said, claims have quadrupled.

Full story.

This story resonated with Canadians, who wrote in to share their own stories.

Read what they had to say below.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourbeststuff/2009/04/your_comments_fired_on_mate...

or indeed this

http://www.thespec.com/article/555376

remind remind's picture

Also, here is the breakdown of the report parameters of the snippets TB linked to. Not quite the reality  it appears to be from the snippet.

 

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/75-001/archive/e-pdf/4682-eng.pdf

Unionist

remind wrote:

Let's deal in the real world unionist, not the theoretical world.

 

What do you mean, remind? It's the law. You get maternity leave, and you return to the same job (or at the very least the same wages and benefits). You appear to have some information that the law is violated for most women? I spend my time in the workforce and in union activities. I can only think of a handful of examples where we needed to even challenge this - and we won each time.

What's the source of your information, please?

 

Sineed

What are you supposed to do though, call the police?  I was not hired back at the Shoppers Drug Mart where I worked for 6 years because the store changed hands, and the new boss decided he was going to work full-time in the pharmacy rather than being a hands-off manager like his predecessor.  As a new mum, I scrambled around and found another job myself; I had no time to launch any complaints.  (And the new job turned out to be better, anyway; better pay, better workmates, closer to where I lived.)

This law is abused because employers know that women often don't complain.  You worry you could end up looking like a trouble-maker and won't be able to get hired elsewhere.

Just one of the reasons I now work in a unionized workplace.

Unionist

Sineed wrote:

What are you supposed to do though, call the police?  I was not hired back at the Shoppers Drug Mart where I worked for 6 years because the store changed hands, and the new boss decided he was going to work full-time in the pharmacy rather than being a hands-off manager like his predecessor.

Yeah, well, if that happened with no mat leave situation, you would have lost your job anyway. What's your point?

Quote:
As a new mum, I scrambled around and found another job myself; I had no time to launch any complaints.

Right. And if they didn't pay minimum wage, or sexually assaulted you, you wouldn't have time to complain either. But what do you suggest? The law is there, all you have to do is make a phone call, but it's true that it may take time. I know what I would suggest, and I think you've figured it out...

Quote:
This law is abused because employers know that women often don't complain.  You worry you could end up looking like a trouble-maker and won't be able to get hired elsewhere.

That's true for ALL labour laws. So what's the solution? Wait for bosses to become NICE?? Or make a phone call?

Quote:
Just one of the reasons I now work in a unionized workplace.

See? I told you you had already figured it out. But even better is to call a union and tell them that this Shopper's needs their services, pronto.

 

remind remind's picture

unionist

Did you note I excluded union sites? Apparently not. Did you read the links in post 57? Apparently not.

Women who work in the service industry are a much different story than union sector employment,  and those  sectors who have high educational standings, and if it is a small business with few employees it is also not a given your job will there when you return,  phased out jobs, different job descriptions and no other job positions available. All these actions get around "employment laws".

Assuming the system is fair for all women is wrong. In particular CAW's link, I believe, indicates only 60% of women actually go on extended mat leave, so when you start bandying numbers about you are already missing 40% of women. then when you consider those working part time jobs who do not qualify numbers get sketchier and when women take time off from those part time  service industry jobs, for mat leave, there is no job to go back to.

Also here are some links for the UK and the USA, as if it is happening there it is happening here too. As noted above about the Durham women.

http://www.in2town.co.uk/Free-Parenting-Advice/30000-Pregnant-Women-a-Ye...

http://womensissues.about.com/b/2009/03/30/women-who-lose-their-jobs-bec...

Then of course there is this which indicates your perceptions are skewed because you live in QC.

Report on the NAWL Pan-Canadian Workshop on
Improving Maternity and Parental Benefits outside Québec

http://www.nawl.ca/ns/en/documents/200707_Report_Mat_Parental_Benefits.pdf

Then read this from CAW, and we already start out with the short end of the stick with EI

http://www.caw.ca/assets/pdf/EN-ei.pdf

 

ETA: exactly sineed, and it pisses me off when people try to make it appears as if women have reached equality status and are treated fairly, in the work place supposedly because of laws being in place.

Unionist

remind wrote:

ETA: exactly sineed, and it pisses me off when peopele try to make it appears as if women have reached equality status in the work place supposedly because of laws being in place.

Remind, try, please, not to create enemies where there are none. I am NOT suggesting that women have reached equality in the workplace. That is insulting and unwarranted. It is so over the top that I don't even know how to respond.

You said most women don't get their jobs back after mat leave. I asked you for evidence. I'm still waiting.

 

remind remind's picture

wow blaiming the victim sweet!

Unionist

Rat's ass? I am done with you? That's cool. I have to deal with hundreds of people who actually have views that would get banned here in two seconds flat, but we're all allies because we all face the same adversaries in life. And you don't even need high school to work in my field. As for the union, yeah, we're unionized because we stood up and made ourselves a union. So we don't live as "victims". Any battle we lose is because we lost - not because we didn't fight.

That's why, even though I agree with Timebandit on very few issues, I don't pile on her because of a turn of phrase that she used. Real life struggle doesn't allow you to turn allies into enemies. You don't have to agree. You just have to unite. This is my opinion I'm stating. I'm awfully tired of your hostile, antagonistic, sarcastic attitude - and your absolutely inability to say, "oh, on that one small point, I was a bit hasty, I'll rethink that and get back, maybe I was wrong".

 

remind remind's picture

no unionist. I am done with you, I do not care if you do not believe me that most women who work outside of union and high educational requirement private work place settings  do not have jobs to go back to, or they are let go when it is found out they are pregnant for one reason or another.

ETA: Do you think this government is going to do a report on how badly women are treated in the work force, or  any of the mainstream media, like CanWest? They won't even report on the current situation but trumpet one 10 years ago, things have not gotten better they have gotten worse as my links do show.

ETA: that you have indicated that you have had to address this happening upon occasion in a union setting, indicates what it would be like outside of a union setting.

remind remind's picture

I wasn't wrong, and I removed my harser words they were hasty. But I am still done.

martin dufresne

You could take you own advice, Unionist, ang go easy on allies who don't share your rosy view. Remind has documented her claim that mat leave legislation was not working as fine and dandy as you claimed it does; Sineed testified about her own mistreatment. You are dismissing these accounts. And solutions totally aren't as simple as "one minute for a phone call" or "unionize them". Your casual words stung me.

 

Unionist

Great. Forget what I said. It should be easy.

 

remind remind's picture

The "so we don't live as victims" comment is nauseating actually, martin, not just stinging.

Employers use excuses like what sineed detailed all the time because they believe a new mother is a liability, and the minute the new mother is out of sight, they hire someone else.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

At least what I posted was an actual study rather than a collection of a few anecdotes in an manufactured-news-type article.  No evidence was given in the article that this was any kind of growing trend, just snippets of opinion from one lawyer and a handful of individuals.

Women on mat leave have always been vulnerable to employment abuses, but you claim "that the majority of women do not go back to work at the same job. They leave their original job thinking they will be stay at home moms, until the financial burden becomes to great and they go back to work elsewhere for less pay usually."

 

Where did you come up with that? Because, anecdotally, that doesn't actually seem to be the case. Even your own posted articles supporting your claim don't say this happens to the majority of women. That isn't to say it doesn't happen, just not to a majority. It's also worth noting that union positions are much better to be in and another reason unionization should be promoted. (See, Unionist, we don't differ nearly so much as you'd think.)

 

Personally, I think attaching maternity benefits to EI is an extremely flawed system. Mat leave benefits should be handled completely seperately and should count as paid weeks for EI purposes in the event of a job loss. Maternity benefits should also be available to the self-employed and casual/contract employees.

remind remind's picture

Timebandit, I linked  to the actual study that your post  linked to, which was just a Stats Can snippet and nothing more. Who are trying to kid?

 

In actual fact, Chris Charelton has a motion before the House,  for almost exactly what you are detailing in  your last paragraph.

 

Le T Le T's picture

I think that we can all agree that capitalism is anti-feminist.

Unfortunatly, employment law is mostly complaints-based and workers must make a move to enforce it. Unfair, of course. It would be ridiculous to think that government will ever change this though. Government (even the NDP) are capitalist and will never make strong protections for workers.

Professionals who "don't have the time" or can't be bothered to report illegal employer action are hurting workers who are more vulnerable. Everything that workers have and ever will gain has been won through struggle. Many have given their lives. Please think about this when a call to Employment Standards seems like too much.

Ghislaine

remind wrote:

Timebandit, I linked  to the actual study that your post  linked to, which was just a Stats Can snippet and nothing more. Who are trying to kid?

 

In actual fact, Chris Charelton has a motion before the House,  for almost exactly what you are detailing in  your last paragraph.

 

 

[url=http://chrischarlton.ndp.ca/node/617] Here [/url] is a description of Charlton's motion (which was not passed by mother's day as intended. It does call for serious improvements, but does not seperate maternity benefits from the regular EI system as it should.

 

It also needs to protect not only temp workers and self-employed women, but unemployed women as well. There is no mention of these details in the motion.

It clearly should not be part of the EI program, but should be a seperate program dedicated to maternity benefits and based on women's needs as mothers regardless of their employment status.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

remind wrote:

Timebandit, I linked  to the actual study that your post  linked to, which was just a Stats Can snippet and nothing more. Who are trying to kid?

 

Again with the assumption of malice. 

You are missing my point, perhaps being deliberately obtuse, perhaps just can't help it.  My point is that, although what I linked to was not an exhaustive study by any means, it was a study.  Of some description.  Your link wasn't even that - it was a make-filler news piece with a handful of anecdotes, which does not support your premise that the majority of women are deciding to become SAHMs and then returning to work at lower pay and in lower positions.  So, rather than beak about the weaknesses in the stats I provided, perhaps you could dig out some of your own?

remind remind's picture

I did, I linked to the actual exhaustive report of the snippet, you provided. Which in fact does NOT say what your linked snippet alleges it to. I see you did not bother reading it.

As for you personal attack words, it indicates just where you are at. So I will not bother with your comments concerning this, from this point on.

Ghislaine

Wow - I was not aware of that unionist. That is vastly superior.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

remind wrote:

I did, I linked to the actual exhaustive report of the snippet, you provided. Which in fact does NOT say what your linked snippet alleges it to. I see you did not bother reading it.

As for you personal attack words, it indicates just where you are at. So I will not bother with your comments concerning this, from this point on.

In other news, pot calls kettle black.

I did read it, and it did not contradict the summary I linked to.  Most women eligible for EI mat leave benefits return to work at the same job or very similar.  They do not opt to become SAHMs and go back to lesser positions for lesser pay. 

So again, could you back up your claim that a MAJORITY of women decide to be SAHMs and lose their jobs after mat leave with something more than anecdote? 

 

ETA:  Interesting, Unionist.  Thanks for sharing that.  I wish we'd had that sort of program here in Saskatchewan about 8 or 9 years ago - I was back to work when Ms T was two weeks old.

Unionist

Ghislaine wrote:

It clearly should not be part of the EI program, but should be a seperate program dedicated to maternity benefits and based on women's needs as mothers regardless of their employment status.

Not sure if babblers are aware that Québec has a vastly superior program called the Québec Parental Insurance Program, which feminists and the unions fought for over the years and finally won in 2006. No reason why other provinces have to wait on the Harpokons. This is from the National Association of Women and the Law website:

[url=http://www.nawl.ca/ns/en/is-wmnwrk-mpb.html]Maternity and Parental Benefits:
Québec has them, so why can't the Rest of Canada?
[/url]

Quote:
The Québec Parental Insurance Program came into effect in January 2006. The program provides benefits of up to 75% of salary. Benefits can be as high as $649/week (rather than $417/week under Employment Insurance) and there is no two-week waiting period.

Eligibility starts at a minimum income of $2,000/year.

Self-employed workers are eligible for benefits.

And the Québec program has a more advantageous method of calculating the amount of benefits for seasonal and occasional workers and students.

There is much more to this program - including paternity leave - and every aspect is superior to the normal EI and provincial/federal labour code provisions. Here is a brief history of how it was won:

Quote:
In Québec, in the late 1980s, there was growing recognition that maternity and parental benefits under Unemployment Insurance were just not enough.

Sixteen community, feminist, family and union organizations founded the Regroupement pour un régime québécois d'assurance parentale. Thanks to their efforts, in 2001 Québec's National Assembly unanimously adopted the Parental Insurance Act.

In the absence of an agreement with the federal government that would allow the new Parental Insurance to come into effect, the Québec government asked the Court of Appeal to declare that maternity and parental benefits were of provincial, not federal jurisdiction.

In 2004, the Québec Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Québec government. But before the Supreme Court overturned this decision in October 2005, Québec at last reached an agreement with the federal government that allowed the program to come into effect.

 

 

well well well

It has always bothered me that certain strands of "mainstream feminism" have devalued "women's work". So women go out and compete in the Man's World - a rigged system. So women have been emancipated from the household - great, but who steps in. Multinational corporations provide our food which makes us sick. Low wage workers take care of us during our formative years.

Perhaps most importantly, where is there any acknowledgment of the real work women do - loving their children, helping them grow emotionally. Who does this when mothers are working 8 hours a day and commuting for another 2 hours.

And yes what about this - Infosatured claims "the minimum 100,000 and much more that it takes to raise a child". How can nobody on this thread speak to this? This is absurd.

If "baby bonus" is responsible for turning women into baby machines isn't EI responsible for keeping us all "wage slaves".

 

Someone above noted that increased education and movement away from religion are the reasons women in the first world aren't having as many children. Maybe this needs to be looked into. The generation (within Canada at least) who were having children in the 1930's, the WASPs to be specific, averaged a very low birth rate. Serious education for women had not become the norm at that point, although there was a movement away from religion. My guess for the decline in birth rates during that period had something to do with the depression, i.e., money. The baby boom didn't happen until after WW2 when there was an economic upturn.

This is not too say money is the only reason for the decline in women having children.

 

 

Jabberwock

Well, in general women with more education have more money than women without, both because they are more likely to come from an economic background that allowed them educational opportunites, and because higher education often equal higher wages. I think that is pretty obvious. I agree that it is likely that women in the depression had a lower birthrate because of economic hardship.

I find it extrordinary for you to come on to a Feminist thread characterizing motherhood as the "real" work women do. Perhaps you would do better to just state that the unpaid work women do is discounted in our society? Really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here.

And the answer to lower wage workers raising our children is nationalizing the daycare system and raising their wages.

And you know what? In a lot of communities in this country, you can easily opt out of being fed by multi-nationals. I do.

Are you suggesting that real feminism means women at home raising children? Cause if so you are really in the wrong place and are about to bring hellfire upon yourself.

 

well well well

Hellfire???

I am claiming that there are a number of feminisms - not some monolithic entity. I am not suggesting "real feminism" (your term not mine) is about raising children. I don't think there is such a thing as "real feminism". By all means let me know what "real feminism" is - according to you.

I am stating that the real work of women (in the first world) for a long time was raising children - a huge job. Look how many industries have sprung up to take up the slack while us women march off to work in the "real world". Why does the "real world" devalue having children? Who populates the "real world" - mothers. Maybe you would rather we contract out the productions of humans to cloning factories.

I also opt out of being fed by multinationals - but if you read the news or look at the profits made by these companies maybe you would realize the majority don't and we are all paying the cost for diabetes etc... My larger point is the economic system we live under has a set of values that results in more and more women not having children. Yes, for some the more educated the more money, but also more time spent making that money and less time for other things. For many, more education doesn't equal more money. Real wages down over last 30 years - education rates up. What is your point?

Infosaturated

well well well wrote:
I am claiming that there are a number of feminisms - not some monolithic entity. I am not suggesting "real feminism" (your term not mine) is about raising children. I don't think there is such a thing as "real feminism". By all means let me know what "real feminism" is - according to you.

I am stating that the real work of women (in the first world) for a long time was raising children - a huge job. Look how many industries have sprung up to take up the slack while us women march off to work in the "real world". Why does the "real world" devalue having children? Who populates the "real world" - mothers.

Housework which used to be much more demanding and child-rearing was assigned to women whether they liked it or not.  Without dependable birth control having children was not always a choice (aside from the power men wielded over their wives). Feminism has never devalued the work that needs to be done in the home and the work of raising children nor suggested that parents shouldn't have the choice to stay home.  That's why feminists support maternity leave and parental leave so either parent can choose to be a primary caregiver to their child.  Family allowances also contribute significantly to helping out parents financially whether or not either or both choose to work outside the home. This too is supported by feminists. 

What is rejected is the notion that men can't also fulfil the duties of home maintenance and childcare. 

In my opinion people should not be paid to maintain their own homes.

Jabberwock

Well, you seem to be suggesting that the emancipation of women from the home has led to a negative effect on society, and to be illustrating a binary "man's world" (the workplace) vs "women's real work" (children) scenario. Further, you appear to be blaming women working for the rise of multinational domination, which is bizarre.

I don't believe in a monolithic vision of feminism either. I believe in choice. 

 

 

 

well well well

Jabberwock said:
Well, you seem to be suggesting that the emancipation of women from the home has led to a negative effect on society, and to be illustrating a binary "man's world" (the workplace) vs "women's real work" (children). Further, you appear to be blaming women working for the rise of multinational domination cannot be laid at the feet of women, which is bizarre.

----

I think there's a negative effect when ~the man and the woman~ are emancipated from the home, leaving only the child(ren)...:)

Here's what I'm getting at -

 Traditionally, women occupied the private sphere and men the public sphere. The political and economic systems worked together to severly limit women's access to the public sphere. Women fought for and won the necessary gains to participate more actively in the public sphere. Fantastic!

What eventually happened? Women stopped having as many children. What does that say about the "public sphere"? This suggests that having children, (and lets not forget about raising them), is at odds with the values of the public sphere. The things valued by the public sphere usually involve money - making it, spending it, investing in it. Women make, spend and invest more money than ever. We have embraced the values of the world outside of the home and these don't seem to include procreation.

My point is that our culture doesn't seem to have largely human values at its core. If it did the birth rate wouldn't have declined. And, if the government steps in and encourages women to have children by offering financial help, it seems to be an acknowledgment of the failure of our economic system.

I am not blaming women for the rise of the multinationals. What I was pointing out is that "traditional women's work" is/was devalued. My proof for that thought is that women used to feed the family (eating seems to be central to our existence) and now that they don't have as much time, we, as a socitey, have become sicker as a result of our diet. Now I am not saying that only women can or should do the work of feeding the family, but if it was truly a valued bit of work would it have been replaced by the fast food industry, by kraft and their ilk?

remind remind's picture

Nonsense.

Jabberwock

well well well wrote:

iif it was truly a valued bit of work would it have been replaced by the fast food industry, by kraft and their ilk?

Now that is a truly interesting question - perhaps not for this thread, but still.

Cheap and plentiful food has become the norm in our culture and people have become more and more disconnected from the source of their food. We have been sold a real load of BS by the corps, and lobbying has effected government policiy with regard to subsidies that don't  help the farmer, just the agri-giants (Yes corn, I am looking at you).  And don't even get me started on Monsanto.

But, thread drift.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

well well well wrote:

 

 

I am not blaming women for the rise of the multinationals. What I was pointing out is that "traditional women's work" is/was devalued. My proof for that thought is that women used to feed the family (eating seems to be central to our existence) and now that they don't have as much time, we, as a socitey, have become sicker as a result of our diet. Now I am not saying that only women can or should do the work of feeding the family, but if it was truly a valued bit of work would it have been replaced by the fast food industry, by kraft and their ilk?

 This maybe should be a new thread, not sure.  I think I understand what you're trying to say but don't agree with the cause and effect links your making as some sort of overall proof.   Yes there is a connection between the growth in modern times of consuming and relying on more processed foods which yes likely results in poorer health overall but there are also other factors besides just food consumption. Physical activity is a huge factor for one.   Mainly though I don't think that there the move to these types of foods is only do to lack of time being a reason that people tend to eat that way, nor that it's connected with more women working outside of the home and thusly having less time. Perhaps one factor but not a main cause or proof of a connection with society getting sicker.   For instance I do know many women and men for that matter who do or could have the time to prepare good food, whether for just themselves or their families and they don't.

If anything the change in diet has as much to do with the marketing of these sorts of foodstuffs and a general devaluation of eating and cooking healthy food as a whole though that's a trend that appears to be slowly changing for a number of reasons.   An even bigger factor I think is cost which speaks more to a person or families income levels. The industrialization of our food system as a whole has led in many cases that junkier food and much processed food is actually much cheaper then healthier choices.  There isn't much difference in the time needed to pour a glass of something to drink but on a volume basis pop or a fruit based punch drink is a lot cheaper then a good bottle of juice. White bread whose ingredients are more processed then it's whole wheat whole grain counterparts is cheaper.  A peruse of the cereal aisle is another example of this happening. 

Another factor which is ever so slowly being realized now is industrializtion appears to be affecting the nutritional makeup of the base food themselves.  Recent studies have shown marked differences in the nutrional content of factory farmed eggs vs pastured eggs or eggs from chickens that eat and live more as chickens evolved to do.  Recent studies are showing differences in the nutrional makeup of grain fed beef (not natural for a cow) and beef that was raised on grass particularly in the ratios of fats such as omega 3's and 6's.   Same for dairy products.  The protein content in wheat has also changed due to the types of wheat now grown as well as how it is now grown.  How food is sweetened has changed along with industrializtion particularly with the widespread use of high fructose corn syrup and the recent concerns of it's health effects.  I could go on.  The point being is that this could be as much of a factor in an overall decrease in societal health then just people not having the time to cook like once might have been the case.  If there is indeed a connection with overall health and a change in the base nutritional makeup of common base foodstuffs then even someone who prepares and cooks like the olden days isn't necessarily eating in terms of health like they would of in the olden days.

 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

well well well wrote:

 

I think there's a negative effect when ~the man and the woman~ are emancipated from the home, leaving only the child(ren)...:)

Here's what I'm getting at -

 Traditionally, women occupied the private sphere and men the public sphere. The political and economic systems worked together to severly limit women's access to the public sphere. Women fought for and won the necessary gains to participate more actively in the public sphere. Fantastic!

What eventually happened? Women stopped having as many children. What does that say about the "public sphere"? This suggests that having children, (and lets not forget about raising them), is at odds with the values of the public sphere. The things valued by the public sphere usually involve money - making it, spending it, investing in it. Women make, spend and invest more money than ever. We have embraced the values of the world outside of the home and these don't seem to include procreation.

My point is that our culture doesn't seem to have largely human values at its core. If it did the birth rate wouldn't have declined. And, if the government steps in and encourages women to have children by offering financial help, it seems to be an acknowledgment of the failure of our economic system.

 This linking of cause and effect is based on the assumption that procreation is a foundational human value that everyone should just automatically be participating in.  Yes of course it is a base human survival function from a purely biological basis in order to survive as a species but I would say so what if the birth rate is declining because people are either not choosing or in general are having less children then once was the norm.  It's also based on the assumption that human numbers as a whole should be always increasing. It's a growth paradigm which I suppose, not surprisingly is connected with the growth paradigm of our economic system.  When some economists and it seems to be mostly economists or economic actors are concerned with growth rates of societies the scare tactics are opined that omg we won't be able to support our economies if there is less people.  Translation we won't be able to support captialist/ sheer profit motive economies which depend on it growing in some sort of infinate manner.  That this long term is simply not ecologicaly possible is a whole doesn't play into it but that's a whole other topic.   I'm generalizing because I do know that there are people who base there concerns about birthrates declining because of percieved racial or religious concerns but I think that overall it's the future 'economic' concerns tend to get more play. From a purely capitalist perspective it doesn't matter what the worker or taxpayer looks like it just matters that their number are there.

Also from an ecological perspective if you look at the way the animal and plant world works, populations as a whole constantly rise and fall in numbers in a cyclical nature due to the ecological conditions they live in.   The human animal is quite unique because as a whole we've generally been able to finesse the ecological systems of our world and bucked those natural cycles and have been steadily increasing in numbers. The point though is that there is no great rule that humans as a whole can't or shouldn't follow similar cycles and always be increasing in numbers. A rise and fall in birthrates or better, replacement rate, over the long term is actually quite a normal cycle from a purely biological basis.   Just because we can increase doesn't mean that we automatically should always be looking to increase or get all worried or concerned that some base human value or natural human value is being superseeded by cultural norms.  It's not an unatural situation to be in. In fact it's quite natural in a broad perspective.  Arguably and it's looking more to be the case as time goes on our finessing is catching up to us and as a whole we're going to see more problems then we already have with maintaining birthrates anyways whether we want to or not but that maybe is a whole other pandoras box.

  Two of the biggest correaltions with family size are economic with the big one being agraian and industrial societies and the overall system of healthcare.  In more agraian societies moreso in the past people tended to have more children because as a family unit they were/are a major part of of it's economic functioning as a whole. They worked. It wasn't just Mom in the house and dad in the fields but Mom, Dad and Jimmy, Jane, Kate, Frank and on down to toddler Sue working. It was as much a  matter of survival. Also due to overall health conditions in the past a lot more children didn't make it. It was a normal functioning of life and if one lost to many children it had a very real effect on overall survival.  In the upper classes children also played an important role economically as well as socially. An heir and a couple of spares just in case and some daughters to marry off for both economic and socal gain.   To be blunt, in our western industrialize society those numbers in a family unit aren't needed or even looked up as they once were.  As the economy change, as well as social expectation in terms of work and sucesss larger numbers of children whether male or female are more a economic issue on the negative side then on the positive.

I think humans as whole both male and female have responded to these changes in the economic systems which is as much our ecological system whether it's consciously or unconsciously.  I try not to imagine the scenario but if the situation still was women only at home and men outside in the stark terms that it once was it's just as probable that in our current economic system we wouldn't see as many children in any case.  I don't think this necessarly means that having children is less valuable has a base human value only that there's been a change in numbering.

Also we're now in a situation where it's quite possible for both women and men to simply choose not to have children because heck they don't want them and this is happening in greater numbers then perhaps in the past. I  think it's up for debate and more then  likely a chicken or the egg type arguement, as to whether this increase is due to the change in society as a whole and has acted as a  cause or whether the changes in society as whole has freed more people to choose not to and it's okay to make that choice if and not effect their economic survival or social positions.   Perhaps it's just as much a normal human desire in segmant of humanity to choose not to have kids or not have as many kids and in society past, economic and social reasons led to that segment feeling that they just have too because it was expected.  Dunno, but I think it's an interesting thing to ponder.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Just popping in to note a few really strong biases and assumptions going on.

well well well wrote:
 I am stating that the real work of women (in the first world) for a long time was raising children - a huge job. Look how many industries have sprung up to take up the slack while us women march off to work in the "real world".  

Women in the first world include poor women, working class women, First Nations women and women of colour. All those groups of women did not, in any one particular historlcal moment, "march off to work in the 'real world' ".

Jabberwock wrote:
 women with more education have more money than women without, both because they are more likely to come from an economic background that allowed them educational opportunites, and because higher education often equal higher wages.

I completely agree. What is missing is that such women have tended to be white and non-immigrant women. 

When white women wonder why the feminist movement is still seen as a white middle class women's movement, it's because of characterizations like these, of "women".

These characterizations might be true for some middle class white women at some historical moments of the past 60 or 70 years, but when they are spoken as if they are the universal experiences of all women, they become ridiculous untruths.

Think about this: What have working class women done with their children, while they've worked for (crappy) wages? For the past 60 to 70 years? No mat leave or parental leave in minimum wage jobs, by the way. Or call centres, or their historical equivalent, which while not minimum wage are certainly crappy dead-end jobs, and are not anything like the careers of white middle class professional women.

The discourse of choice is flawed as a standard or guideline for the existence of feminism, as choice itself (of any kind) is defined by someone else not having that choice. Working for pay is not a choice for some women.

The issue of food is an important one, which I suggest is taken to a new thread. Even though this thread has drifted, that would be going too far. Smile

Sineed

I've finally gotten around to reading a wonderful book my husband gave me for Christmas, called, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood, a collection of essays by various Canadian women.  A recurring theme in this book is the silencing of women's voices by all the work they do, and reading over (most of) this thread, I see how even progressive people, including myself at times, can be conflicted about what constitutes work; how there is paid work, and then there is the unpaid work that is done in the home that is traditionally done by women and therefore undervalued.

For me, the baby bonus is payment for the otherwise unpaid work women do in raising kids.  To say it's antifeminist, "trapping" women in domesticity instead of liberating them to work in the "real" world, is undervaluing the raising of children and other such work traditionally done by women.  And it's a failure, IMV, of the "old guard" feminist rhetoric, that we as women, in the process of embracing wider roles for women in society, were supposed to reject motherhood; that we couldn't wait to get back to "work," leaving our children to be raised by strangers who do not love them; that we stand around the water cooler after coming back from mat leave going on about how we were so bored at home with the baby, and are so happy to be back at work, while under the corporate suit our breasts are dripping milk down our sides - is that emancipation?

Undervaluing our own work is swallowing some of the values of the patriarchy.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I take exception to the idea that you're handing your children to someone else to raise when you put them in daycare.  There have been studies that show working parents spend as much quality time with their kids as stay-at-home parents do.  You're still the parent, and your children know it.  They just have more trusted adults in their lives and often do better socially anyway by the time they're school aged. 

I'd also venture to say that, given the vast majority of stay at home parents are mothers, there's a whole lot less co-parenting happening when Mom's there 24/7 and Dad has to put in long hours outside the home to support the family financially.  It seems a little out of balance to me.  It's difficult for women to be emancipated from their traditional roles if men aren't, and becoming a SAHM or suggesting more women should be isn't progress in this regard.  (Disclaimer:  That doesn't mean that individuals choosing to structure their family roles around the SAHM/breadwinner structure described above are bad people or making wrong choices.  If it works for you, bravo.  Just don't tell the rest of us it's the best/only/you're-a-bad-parent-if-you-don't way to live.)

So rather than decrying the loss of an unbalanced system, maybe we should be pushing for some other things.  Like flex time, where parents can structure their working hours to spend more time with their kids, telecommuting if at all possible, better daycares and access to them, businesses that have on-site daycares, more effective parental leaves and benefits.  Wouldn't that be better than promoting women staying out of the work force, which tends to short-circuit careers? 

To tie it back into the original post - This is one of the things that picks my butt about Maier's book and her general attitude:  The world is the way it is, just give up.  Don't have kids, it's an endless nightmare of meaningless suffering and nothing can be done about it.  Oh, the ennui.  It makes me want to kick her.

remind remind's picture

Excellent posts ElizaQ and Timebandit. Though I disagree with the last paragaph of Timebandit's, everything else was hard hitting and concrete, as was Eliza's.

Jabberwock

Maysie, my comment about educated women in general being economically more advantaged than uneducated women was specifically in response to Well Well Well's comment that it was not education but money that accounted for a declining birthrate. I was merely pointing out that there is often a correlation between the two.  I don't believe that I am negating the experience of POC in doing so.

Your point however, that the discourse of choice is real only, for the most part, for white middle class women, is well taken. As is the one that homemaking has been for the most part a middle class paradigm, and that poor women have always worked. 

remind remind's picture

yes, maysie is correct  that "homemaking" has been a middle class connotation. But I would extend that to an urban middle class paradigm.

Women on farms have always worked in supporting the family economically. They, like the urban poor, are the original "superwomen", that has been basically co-opted for a designation of middle class urban women.

Farm women have always worked to support their family economically in outside the house activities, as much as their male countrerparts, who also gave their body to birth to others who would go on to support the family econmically, and who were as well "the homemakers" in all its descriptional functions, beyond those other activities. And more often than not, they were also the family tailors, food growers and manufacturers.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I think the same is true for urban women whose husbands ran their own businesses - both my grandmothers worked, the maternal as co-manger of a series of small hotel/motel ventures and the paternal as support staff for the family business - either clerical for the contracting side, and as retail staff when they ran a small paint store.  This was in the '40s and '50s and on into the '60s.  It allowed the family to keep a larger share of the income by reducing overhead, in much the same way as women and children on farms contributed their labour. 

Come to think of it, I also worked in the family business when they needed me while I was growing up.

remind remind's picture

Valid point, to include small businesses women, as indeed my mother was one too, in the middle stage of her life, after they left farming. And I worked both in the family businesses, and on  my sister's farm,  whenever help was needed, at either.

 

well well well

If poorer women were having less children would the government be concerned? I think we really need to identify what it is we are talking about. It is the fact that  middle class women (mostly white) are having less children. This is the issue and this is the reason for some claiming that "social policy" geared towards encouraging these women to have more children is racist and anti-immigration. I understand the logic behind certain claims.

maysie said
Think about this: What have working class women done with their children, while they've worked for (crappy) wages? For the past 60 to 70 years? No mat leave or parental leave in minimum wage jobs, by the way. Or call centres, or their historical equivalent, which while not minimum wage are certainly crappy dead-end jobs, and are not anything like the careers of white middle class professional women.

So what is your point - we shouldn't do anything and adopt the ways of working class women? You ask what working class women have done with their children. I would venture to say they had access to a larger familial network that they received support from - mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, sisters (yes, all women). The middle class has rejected this for the nuclear family, suburban isolation. Their networks are practically non-existent.

Yes, women have done all kinds of work inside and outside the home. When it is outside the home they got paid as individuals, when it was inside the home the reward was collective (the whole family benefits). When a women worked outside the home and received money she gained a measure of independence; if her husband was abusive she might have enough money to be able to leave. When a women worked inside the home/farm/family business did she control the monetary resources which were the result of her labour? Most likely not, so if faced with the above scenario does she have the same independence?

Somebody mentioned that women did quite a bit of work inside the home, sewing, cooking, farming, etc. What I introduced above was the idea that yes, they did all this work and when they stopped doing it (so they could work outside the home) it became necessary to pay somebody else to do it. Women were also the sole providers of health care and emotional care - on this last responsibility, I would like to note the back breaking nature of the work needed to turn a baby into functioning a member of our society. So what happened when women stopped doing all this work and entered the world of wage labour? Well we needed to pay other people to do what the women did for free.
Nurses, teachers, day care attendants, waitresses, psychologists, molly maids, nannies etc...Whole new sectors sprang up - elder care, day care and yes the fast food industry and the crap food industry.

McDonalds didn't expand as aggressively as they did because there was limited demand for cheap restaurant meals. They identified and exploited a need, based on the fact that women were throwing off the domestic chains and nobody was picking up the slack.
I still meet women today who are proud of the fact that they don't know how to cook or sew or do anything else associated with the traditional work of women.

Let me ask this - did the early corporations who saw the trends - the decline of the family farm, movement towards cities and women working, did they put this all together and say to themselves "we could make a fortune if we took over food production, from start to finish, and use economies of scale to further increase profits". I think it is pretty safe to say that afer the success of Henry Ford corporations were thinking along these lines. Let's just remind ourselves that today Kraft is owned by RJ Reynolds. So the tobacco industry stopped being so lucrative - where did they turn to? Mass produced food.

To eliza who seems to be sceptical of the relation between diet and health - how can you, in 2009, try and deny this connection. Physical activity and environment contribue to overall health. Yes they do. I remember growing up in the 70's and 80's arguing with intelligent people who thought diet didn't contribute to overall health. I remeber thinking they were insane then.

About marketing. Early attempts to market certain timesaving food items to housewives failed - they didn't buy cause they felt guilty not cooking from scratch. The food companies reworked their products so you had to add an egg or some other ingredient. Then the women bought them. As more and more women started working it became easier to sell these products and it became more and more acceptable to show disdain for domestic skills. This strikes me as profoundly disturbing.

 

--

Here is an interesting excerpt

http://books.google.ca/books?id=896em9CtUSMC&lpg=PA219&ots=k_OnpDzXzc&dq...

Emotion at Home
Emotional labour is most easily recognized as part of the caring role women in the home. Althought the social regulation of emotions is brought about through emotional labour, as a form of labour it appears to be insulated from other forms of labour, and is poorly recorded and underexplored. It is my contention that this is precisely because it involves both women and "emotion" with thier negative connotations. Because emotional labour is seen as "natural", unskilled women's work, because it is unpaid and because it is obscured by the privacy of the domestic domain where much of it takes place, the significance of its contribution and value in social reproduction is ignored.

One of the results of the gender division of labour is that women carry the prime responsibilty for working with emotions. More than that though "emotional" becomes part of a major cluster of other adjectives by which "masculine" and "feminine" are differentiated and through which the emotiona/rational divide of female/male is perpetuated.

Maysie Maysie's picture

I'm closing this for length. We've gone onto a few new topics that are a bit tangential from the OP. If anyone wants to continue any of the drift topics, please start a new thread.

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