In the age of apparent equality, women are increasingly encouraged to ‘have it all’, balancing career, children and marriage in order to be seen as successful. Verity Thom and Nic Beets of Glendowie-based company Couplework say money has ironically become a stronger measure of people’s value as more women have gone into paid work. They say this leaves mothers who stay home with their children feeling less valued than they were 30 years ago. “If a woman stays at home and has unpaid work in the home, it’s even more undervalued. In some quarters in the 1950s it was an honourable profession, but now it’s the lowest of the low.” Ms Thom said
“So I’ve seen women who are more apologetic about ‘I’m only a mother’. I’ve seen them feel embarrassed when they go out socially…. “Women [are] seeing it as a privilege to be stay-at-home mothers and something they almost need to be grateful for, so they surrender even more entitlement in the relationship.”
In 2011, Birgitta Ohlsson, Sweden’s EU Minister said the housewife is becoming a threat to European growth. She added that the difficulties for women to combine children and career is also detrimental to Europe. With more women encouraged to work, the European GDP could increase by as much as 27 percent, she said. Moreover, she said it is impossible for things to continue as they are today. “Having your own money is a source of both power and independence for women”, Ohlsson said.
The Herald, article by Simon Collins social issues reporter, Friday4 September 2015 “Stay-at-home mums feel ‘less valued than 30 years ago”
The Local, article in Sweden’s English online news with comments in response “Minister: housewives threaten EU economy”
Photo credit: David Kirkland