Lordy me, what idiocy

It is currently enshrined in law that women are the primary care-givers. Women get 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave, and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. Men get one or two weeks of ordinary paternity leave, and 26 weeks of additional paternity leave. There is no reason for this disparity, beyond a traditional notion that women are somehow more innately qualified than men to bring up children.

You’d pay more attention to the views of someone who had noted which sex the Good Lord put the tits on really, wouldn’t you?

We can and do make all sorts of accommodations for this, from formula to breast pumps and even wet nurses. But to say that there is simply no reason at all that women are innately more qualified is just nonsense. It’s the tabula rasa idea all over again.

Humans just ain’t like that.

16 thoughts on “Lordy me, what idiocy”

  1. Well, she’s a “feminist campaigner”. And after the 60’s and 70’s feminists more or less won their battles for middle class women to gain equal access to the professions and got divorce law changed to favour women, what’s left for feminist campaigners to campaign feministly about?

    Hence this lady’s campaign against reality.

  2. “The Equality and Human Rights Commission has just been given £1m by Maria Miller, the minister for women and equalities, to investigate just how bad this situation is.”

    Enough to pay decent money to 20 odd investigators for a year. That subject should be about as investigated as it’s possible for a subject to be, after that. Investigated to within an inch of its life. They advertising for these investigators? Sounds worth traveling for.

  3. @BiS ‘The Equality and Human Rights Commission has just been given £1m by Maria Miller’

    Translation: that’s a nice* rep for giving a fuck about equality you have there, be a shame if anything was to happen to it.

    *relatively speaking

    About as transparent a political pay-off/shakedown as I’ve seen in a while.

  4. There are two different things here.

    There’s the US concept of maternity leave: “you have had a massively physically traumatic thing occur, so you can have a month off to physically recover”.

    Then there’s the European concept of maternity leave: “it is probably better if kids get to spend time with their parents and their parents don’t have to quit their jobs for that to happen”.

    The first bit is necessarily female in straight couples. The rest of it isn’t, and should be allowed to be split between the parents however they like (saying it shouldn’t exist for anyone involved is also a fair argument, but not a relevant one).

    If the biological essentialist folk saying “BUT WOMEN HAVE TITS OF COURSE THEY’RE THE CAREGIVERS” are right, then allowing a split between partners won’t make any difference, so nobody will lose out. If they’re wrong, some people will be better off. It’s the absolute perfect example of a Pareto-optimal change.

  5. Hi John

    In these straitened times, I can’t think of many proposals more pointless than seeking to saddle employers and employees with more costly “rights”. I’ve yet to meet a new parent in my company who complained that paternity leave isn’t generous enough, or that the kiddies were losing out somehow because Mummy and Daddy are treated differently.

    The issue only exists in the minds of childless feminists, who hope that by burdening employers of young men with extra parental leave entitlement they can close the gender pay gap.

  6. Steve, necessarily in this proposed system, every extra day of paternity leave is a day less of maternity leave.

    How is this an additional burden on employers (as a whole)?

    Some employers will get a greater burden; some employers less.

  7. Hi Richard,

    Because it would mean that instead of roughly half your workforce having the right to take up to a year off, nearly all of them would now have that right. All the hassle and risk and uncertainty employers currently handle would be doubled.

    Replicating this across employers as a whole would not, I think, cancel itself out. It would just enlarge the problem of costly uncertainty and hit productivity.

  8. Maternity holiday is sexist. I will buy a new puppy and get 26 weeks of holiday if you please.

    Maternity theft is a better phrase.

  9. then allowing a split between partners won’t make any difference, so nobody will lose out.

    This will be hideously complicated, because it will entail two employers having to liaise with one another to ensure the split adds up to the total leave allowed. I’m not even sure such correspondence on HR matters is even legal. The only way this would work smoothly is if the couple both worked for the same company.

  10. This will be hideously complicated, because it will entail two employers having to liaise with one another to ensure the split adds up to the total leave allowed.

    No. Statutory Maternity and Paternity Pay are (almost entirely) recoverable from HMRC. So it can be left to HMRC to monitor the split between the two parents.

  11. No. Statutory Maternity and Paternity Pay are (almost entirely) recoverable from HMRC. So it can be left to HMRC to monitor the split between the two parents.

    No. Time off is not only about recovering pay, and HMRC are not the people who should be monitoring whether employees are legitimately absent or not. A company needs to know, in advance, what absences each employee is entitled to, not find out a year later from HMRC.

    Not run a business, have you?

  12. If you’re saying that your employees are in the habit of not turning up to work, and lying to you about the reason, then I believe you. The point is that this proposal won’t make it easier for them to deceive you, because HMRC will tell you if they try it.

  13. Employees do have a habit of not really knowing the laws and asking an inept HR department “How much time am I allowed off?” If the answer is “I’m not sure, it depends on what your wife is doing, and HMRC will let us know later” then this falls into my definition of hideously complicated.

    As I said: not run a business, have you?

  14. I think the words you’re looking for are “I see your point, you’re right, the employers wouldn’t need to liaise with each other. But the rules would be a bit harder for HR to explain.” And then I would reply sympathetically that whereas I’ve had the good fortune to employ intelligent and conscientious staff, I understand that your experience may be different. Maybe next time.

  15. No, the words I am looking for are as follows:

    Ah yes, the PaulB method of internet commentary:

    1. Make a bold statement which runs contrary to the OP and general comment thread, in order to make yourself seem informed and give the impression you have given the topic careful consideration. The more confident the statement the less accurate it is.

    2. Ensure you leave plenty of wriggle-room should your statements be challenged.

    3. Link to a report in order to lend gravitas to your statements, which need not support what you are saying: you merely hope nobody will bother to read it and assume you are quoting it accurately.

    4. When challenged, resort to obfuscation, lies, accusations, and denials making liberal use of the wriggle-room you allowed yourself in no. 2. Make each reply more pompous and condescending than the last to the point that your exasperated opponent calls you a twat.

    5. Huffily remark that you don’t wish to trade insults on the internet, and that you don’t have time to argue any further, before repeating no. 1 in a thread after a brief period of wound-licking on your part.

    We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Let’s both save ourselves some time, eh?

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