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Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

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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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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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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It will come as no surprise to most women that “maternal profiling” is probably rife, even where it is illegal.

If you don’t guess from the term, “maternal profiling” is the practice of discriminating against women on the basis that they have, or they are likely to have, or you think they are likely to have, children at some stage during their employment with you.

I found this quote particularly interesting:

“Everything has gone too far,” said Sugar. “We have maternity laws where people are entitled to too much. If someone comes into an interview and you think to yourself ‘there is a possibility that this woman might have a child and therefore take time off’, it is a bit of a psychological negative thought.

“If they are applying for a position which is very important,” he continued, “then I should imagine that some employers might think ‘this is a bit risky’. They would like to ask the question: ‘Are you planning to get married and to have any children?'”

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The Sydney Morning Herald has an article today about the comparison between women’s and men’s satisfaction with various tasks. Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to the study – I’d be very interested in reading it.

One of the findings that apparently surprised the (male) academic behind the study was that women were “significantly” more dissatisfied with child care than men were – in fact, it was the “only” task in this category. On the other hand, women tended to be more satisfied when at work than men were.

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