Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Has Feminism Failed?

I have been reading Are We There Yet? which is about feminism and whether it has made any progress today even though recent statistics reveale that women still earn about 20 per cent less than men. The study claims that women earn less mainly because they take time off work to have children.

Arguements can be made that companies should be more child friendly and have subsidized childcare. The Australian government has already started implementing paid parental leave. In my opinion, paid parental leave--to be paid for by increasing company tax rates--is a poor idea. Companies will likely pass on these cost increases by decreasing wages and increasing the prices of goods. Everyone who has made a lifestyle choice not to have chidlren are punished so that those who decide to have children are subsidized. But some argue that government should encourage higher population growth with subsidies. But this runs contrary to the planned reduction in immigration that both Labor and Liberal are planning. How can you on one hand reduce immigration citing too high a population and on the other hand maintain subsidies like the Baby Bonus?

Back to the topic of feminism. In my opinion, the best way to increase women's pay is to somehow encourage them not to have children or at least to get the husband to do the childrearing. But the reality I see is that women themselves want to have children. Women themselves are the ones who choose to take time off work, choose to take care of children, and choose to do the housework. It is something they like and enjoy and according to their actions they seem happy to forego money for it. If that is what they want, perhaps it is better to simply let them have what they want rather than try to push them to do something they don't want.

Women nowadays have it good. For those women who choose not to have children--or have children but get the husband to take care of them--they often do very well in their careers. I have seen very many successful women who are very focused on their careers.

The statistic that women earn less than men also hides the fact that many stay-at-home mothers get subsidized by their breadwinner husbands. The husband goes to work and earns money while the wife stays home and takes care of the children and does the housework. When the husband comes homes, he gives maybe 50 to 70 per cent of his income to the wife. The wife's earnings in this case does not show up in official income statistics but it is a legitimate source of income for the wife nevertheless.

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