11 March 2010

Working women blamed for disenfranchising mothers

"A tiny elite of career women have highjacked government policy," Christine Odone told the Today Programme.

The Telegraph which also covers the story slants its article to say that so-called ordinary women have deserted Labour when in fact this morning, Christine Odone admitted on Today that women are "deserting" the Tories in similar numbers.

The Telegraph "reports" that "The analysis of opinion polls claims that working-class females, who want to stay at home and raise children, are ignored by the feminist “sisterhood” typified by Harriet Harman."

The London broadsheet quotes Geoff Dench, a sociologist with the Centre for Policy Studies: “Women who value home and family life above a career are becoming disenfranchised. The feminist ‘sisterhood’ has clearly failed them, and the result is that they are withdrawing their support from the mainstream parties."

Dench found that although more and more women don't think that their place is "in the home", fifty-seven percent of working-class women believe that a mother who is employed full-time is hurting her family.

Because these results are so inflammatory, one wonders what parameters were used to define "working-class women" and "career women". Pay equity is still a harsh reality of our times and many women with careers make decidedly "working class" incomes. 

Christine Odone was virulent in her characterisation of "career women", a term she interchanged freely with "middle-class women". Clearly, not all middle-class women work but that doesn't matter because it's clear hear that what Odone is trying to do is to use class to divide women. Her contention is that career women use their position to influence policy to the detriment of other women. One extraordinary claim Odone makes is that career women can afford childcare and steer political parties away from policy of affordable childcare. I have never, ever in my life read or heard a woman opposing affordable childcare no matter how impressive her bank account. Career women keep "preaching independence and total autonomy whereas most women cherish interdependency with their partners". In others words, career women don't buy our right-wing crap about conforming to a model in which men are in control of the finances and thus every family member's every life choices, so we must demonise them.

Odone goes so far as to raise the spectre of these "disenfranchised" women potentially turning to the BNP.

Most of the above is an old refrain, you'll say, but I must say I didn't expect such drivel to covered noted media outlets. It is telling they did not ignore that drivel.

1 comment:

  1. This is so bizarre. How many mothers worked? Can we take a poll? How many people's grandmothers worked? Does anyone know how many of their great-grandmothers "worked" ? As far as I can tell, the women of my family (excluding mother who was a nurse) were on their knees scrubbing floors all the way back to the cave days -- and they were mothers, and by Jayzus, that's work, in my estimation. Kate worked like a dog -- in fact, I am sure it would kill me to work as hard as she did.




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