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Rosalind Croucher is undoubtedly an influential, intelligent and highly-placed woman. She is currently the President of the Australian Law Reform Commission and before that, was Dean of Law at Macquarie University.

Justinian has profiled her this week.

Of note, the following quotes:

Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My mum – she’s amazing. She writes poetry and novels on any surface that will record her thoughts and can make a meal for a regiment out of whatever happens to be in the cupboard or fridge at that moment.

What is your greatest fear?
Heights and losing my mum.

What would your epitaph say?
I hope to earn this one: ‘She was so like her mother.’

Croucher is a mother herself, and acknowledgement of the influence of motherhood on her professional career is also clear in the profile.

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I’m not sure if I have enough of a readership to get a decent number of comments on this thread, but I’m going to try, as I think that this post is one that will benefit far more from comments than from whatever I might post.

My mother – who is pretty good about not sending forwards – sent me a forward with the text below.

I’m an atheist, and I was a bit irritated by the title and the first four questions. I don’t like the idea that questions like this reinforce the story that a god made people. Although that only really matters if this question & answer set up is real – I always doubt these things.

However, I left in the irritating title & first four questions for the sake of completeness, and also because I actually quite like the idea of people made out of string! But maybe that’s just me?

I’ll let you read it before I subject you to any more of my own thoughts (the emphasis is all mine, though):

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Are you, or have you ever been, a mother academic?

There’s a call for papers out for a collection of both narratives & articles about academic motherhood. (That takes you to a pdf, so if you don’t like those, try the general page here – the “Being a Mother Academic” link takes you to the same pdf link as above).

They are calling for both theory AND the “lived experience” – my reading of that is that papers can be either/or (that is, it seems to me that you are welcome to write a narrative piece about your experience, even if it’s not your theoretical area and you don’t want to include the theory).

They are also calling for people from across a range of disciplines.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they got so much Antipodean material that they decided they needed to put a separate Antipodean collection together?

[Link found at Feminist Law Professors]

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I’ve been thinking about parenting in various ways lately, kicked off by various posts. I’ve even written a couple of posts. These have mostly been to do with the roles of mothers and fathers, the societal pressures to stick to reasonably traditional roles (ie mother as primary childcarer and homemaker, father as breadwinner).

I want to partly continue with that theme, but mix in something a bit different.

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What gets me, what really gets me, is that all the discussion about child-raising and stay-at-home parenting and “downsizing to one salary” assumes that it is always the mother’s responsibility, the mother’s decision, to choose to stay home with kids or not to stay home.

In articles like this, that is particularly clear. And it’s not as if the article is the only example of this sort of pressure.

On the one hand, I like the fact that the article acknowledges that the stay-at-home mother for whom children are the primary responsibility is a fairly modern invention.

On the other hand, it utterly frustrates me that there is no discussion of fathers-as-parents (stay-at-home or not).

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The headline: “How to land a man for life”

The premise: There are more divorced women in towns than in rural areas, therefore a woman is less likely to get divorced if lives in the country, therefore any woman who wants to get married should head bush.

The numbers: In towns with populations of 100 000 or greater, 12.5% of women are divorced or separated, compared to 9.6% of men. The numbers are almost exactly reversed in rural areas with less than 200 people. In the areas in between, the numbers are approximately equal (around the 12.5% mark).

The problems:

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Do children really “grow up more quickly” than they used to? I don’t know. To some extent, I don’t care: I didn’t have an unhappy childhood, but I was desperate to become a grown-up, and I would be surprised if many people felt all that differently.

And while I feel a bit sickened about the mani-pedi parties that have been written about recently, I don’t know that the survey commented on by the children’s author, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, is evidence of anything. In the first place, how can it say anything about “how children are losing their childhood compared to days of yore” unless we know what the quantitative evidence is from “days of yore”, rather than relying on the memories of the people making the claims?

But anyway. Let’s have a look at some of those results: (more…)

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