British Educators Tell Girls to Face “Reality” and Accept They May Not Be Able to “Have To All”
Nov 13, 2009 | Filed Under: In the News | Tags: Education
Et tu, Brits? I mean, I love your Bass Pale Ale, but what’s up with all the anti-working mother rhetoric lately?
First a British Vogue editor questions whether maternity leave “will become too biased towards the mother and not considerate enough for the employer.” Say wha –?! To which Laughing Stork reader Cowgirl in the Sand rightfully responds:
OK, now I’m gonna get up on my soapbox. Speaking as someone who no one EVER thought would give up my precious career in favor of raising children, that first article about maternity leave is seriously flawed. I know that in my case, if we had a more generous maternity leave in the US (we proudly hold LAST place among developed nations), I would have been back at work within a year of having my first baby. But since my only option was to go back full-time when he was 4 months old, and the only daycare options we had cost 60% of my take-home pay, I decided to quit my job instead. I have several friends who, faced with the same options, made the same decision. Therefore, in my tiny little sample group, I know over a dozen MIT-educated, highly skilled, experienced professionals (I worked for 15 years before leaving my job) who have opted completely out of the workforce. How exactly is this helping the employers?
And now…? The president of the Girls’ Schools Association — a professional group representing leading independent girls’ schools in the UK — is telling young girls that it may not be “realistic” to have a career and a family.
Jill Berry, headteacher of Dame Alice Harpur school in Bedford, says she wants her students to know:
“There is an unprecedented pressure on girls and more women are going back to work early after having children now. It can all work fine, until their child is ill.” Berry said a top quality education gave girls the skills to “generate options” for themselves. These skills could be used in the workplace, but also in the home, she suggests. “Priorities shift, but that doesn’t mean you’re selling out –- you are facing reality and trying to be realistic about what you can achieve and you should stop beating yourself up about it,” she added.
Wonder if they’re giving the same speech over at the Boys’ Schools Association?
Instead of telling girls there’s nothing wrong with abandoning their career aspirations, perhaps Ms. Berry should either get in her time machine and return to the 1950s OR — here’s a crazy thought — come up with solutions to help them achieve a better work-life balance? While capping it all off with a Bass Pale Ale, of course.