In 1976, the French feminist icon Simone de Beauvoir said, “No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”
That’s who thought of when I heard about the column Sarrah Le Marquand, editor-in-chief of Stellar, Australia’s “most read” magazine, wrote for the Daily Telegraph, in which she claims it should be illegal for mothers of school-aged children to stay home.
Yes, illegal. “Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun paid employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children of school-age or older are gainfully employed.”
Unlike de Beauvoir, Le Marquand is a wife and mother of two. She wrote her article in response to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that claims mothers at home represent “untapped potential” and create “potentially large losses to the economy,” a position with which Le Marquand clearly agrees.
Mothers who choose to mother—yes, that’s a verb—are the reason, she says, that Australia “continues to languish in the bottom third of OECD member states when it comes to female employment.”
And there it is.
As long as women with children put family first, feminists’ utopian vision for gender equality—where 50 percent of women hold top corporate and government positions right along with men—will never be achieved.
And they’re right, of course. It won’t. The mistake is in thinking most women care. The research shows, unequivocally, that they do not.
I remember my mother telling me, more than once, that when she attended her graduate school reunion at Radcliffe, one of the female professors gave a lecture about work and family and said women would need to deal with children as an “intrusion” in their lives.
That really stuck with my mother, who hailed from the Greatest Generation and who had great respect for motherhood.
So does Camille Paglia, the Baby Boomer feminist who parts ways with her ilk when it comes to the awesome nature of biology and human desire.
In her new book, “Free Women, Free Men,” Paglia explains that feminists have zero regard for procreation. “Feminist ideology has never dealt honestly with the role of the mother in human life,” she writes.