Feminists and the left pushing women to choose paid work over motherhood, and advocating for 50/50 gender equality achievement in the workforce, particularly in certain industries like media and politics. While this might sound progressive and a boon for feminism, working simply is not for everyone, despite their claims.
One thing progressives fail to address: If all the men and women work, who will care for the children? In fact, despite the push for this, real life seems to oppose this liberal narrative. Statistics show not only that motherhood is increasing, but also that millennials are choosing to stay at home with their children and work at home too.
Another Push for Statistical Sameness
Beyond encouraging women to join the workforce, there’s a hard push from the left for 50/50 gender equality in all kinds of industries. Writer Jon Levine claims CNN lags behind other networks when it comes to gender equality. Levine quotes outspoken feminist Lauren Duca who takes it a step further and says, “Women are grossly underrepresented across all the major networks, leading to a diminishment of the female perspective, if not outright sexism. Until women comprise 50 percent of both hosts and on-air guests, Fox, CNN and MSNBC have no right claiming to accurately depict the national conversation.”
Duca is half-right. Few industries boast a gender ratio of 50/50. She’s also not alone in pushing for this idea. Many women go a step further and claim not only is this a “progressive” idea but also that it’s an idea women want to embrace, regardless of ideology. In a Forbes piece, entitled, “We Need More Women In Leadership Positions,” the author profiles Karen Quintos, “the only woman on the executive team at Dell, currently serving as the company’s Chief Customer Officer.”
She writes: “At a time when only 53% of tech companies have female executives in the C-suite, Quintos believes that the key to success for all women in the workplace is bringing more women up into leadership positions. Why? Because women at all levels of the organization need peers to look up to and to seek out.”
Every year we see dozens of think pieces along these lines, from “We Need More Women in Tech,” to “We Need More Women In Congress.” The authors of this HBR piece interviewed 57 female CEO’s to see how they could “find out how more women can get to the top.” The piece posits “Only 6.4% of Fortune 500 companies are run by female CEOs, and while there is incremental progress — there are 32 female CEOs this year, the highest percentage ever, compared with only 21 last year — the rate of change can feel excruciatingly slow.”
Gender parity in every industry is not only a nearly impossible task, but it’s also set up upon the false presumption that society needs more gender parity in more industries in order to be truly equal, functional, and healthy. I’m sure an increase in women in the workforce might help some industries represent women more fairly and provide more diversity, like in media, politics and law. But if we’re truly rooting for equality in some places, why don’t we push for it in all places? Why don’t feminists push for equality in the trades, security, and even construction, where women are woefully underrepresented?
Feminists often don’t push for this because they realize this is where their argument falls apart: The majority of women don’t want to work in these jobs and often physically could not do them if required to. Sex parity only sounds great when a nice, cushy window office is involved. Still, there are problems with this new push for equality in the workforce.
More Women Are Working and Having Kids
Let’s continue with the presumption that 50/50 sex parity at work is not only possible but vital. How would it affect society? Well, there is more sexual equality now more than ever and it’s already affecting one area: Motherhood. A new Pew Research study shows that while women are waiting longer to have babies, “after decades in decline, motherhood and family size are ticking up” and have been since 2016, right in the midst of this new push. Pew attributes this to women being more educated and working.
The Great Recession intensified this shift toward later motherhood, which has been driven in the longer term by increases in educational attainment and women’s labor force participation, as well as delays in marriage. Given these social and cultural shifts, it seems likely that the postponement of childbearing will continue. But will the recent annual declines in fertility lead U.S. women to have smaller families in the future? It is difficult to know, but comparing the lifetime fertility of women who just recently completed their childbearing years with those 20 years earlier suggests that postponing births does not necessarily equate with lower lifetime fertility.
More women are working and having children. So why the continual push for work over motherhood, even against what societal trends show? Why, exactly, can’t women do a little of each or even — as this survey suggests — choose motherhood after she has started her career?
A Forbes contributor recently wrote that millennial mothers are doing just that. “Technology’s evolution allows modern women the empowerment of joining tradition with innovation. Millennial women can raise their babies and work at home, proving that women’s purpose does not lie in one or the other. SAHMs are breadwinners, too.”
The author credits this shift not only to better technology — thank you, Wifi — but also to different values: “While a lack of employment opportunities may also contribute to the growing number of millennial women staying at home with their children, many remain in the home because they want to. All of these reasons are valid to millennial women, and that doesn’t make them better or worse mothers than earlier generations.”
The Left Values Sex Sameness Over Children
Many liberals admit a booming fertility rate isn’t exactly important to them.
I’ll accept my own adulthood when I am capable of comprehending the idea of people having babies *on purpose*
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 19, 2018
But this defies what average women want to do. Women want to have babies. More women are having babies. This doesn’t mean women who become mothers aren’t working or shouldn’t work. But if they work full time and slowly meet the 50/50 sex sameness standard the left has set for them, who will take care of the children left behind? Someone has to do this job. Whether it’s Mom, Dad, the nanny, or Grandma — someone has to take care of all the babies women are increasingly having — many of them are choosing for it to be them.
The problem is, the left fails to mention the consequences of women working, or “having it all.” In a piece a few years ago about the ubiquitous “women can have it all” debate, economist and mother Diane Lim Rogers described it this way:
“The mom in me may still feel pressure from society to have it all, to take care of everything. But the economist in me remembers the law of diminishing marginal utility, that if we could really have it all, whatever we had last obtained wouldn’t be worth anything to us […] A concept economists call ‘comparative advantage’ applies here. I might have inherent absolute advantage in terms of my skills as an economist over some men and women who have more successful careers as economists than I. But my greatest comparative advantage — absolutely! — is as mom to my own kids.”
The left advocates tolerance but doesn’t show any when it comes to women who want to work and have children. Even as they push for more women to work, they are ignoring the actual statistics that show, as the Pew survey demonstrated, more women are having babies too and balancing two very demanding tasks.
It’s a logical fallacy for liberals to continue to advocate that society needs more and more women in the workforce and either ignore that women also want to be moms, or just hope someone else will take care of the babies they’re birthing. It’s okay for women to be mothers and work too — the tasks don’t need to be mutually exclusive; it just needs to be clear that there will be tradeoffs. While it might be acceptable for a woman to choose work over motherhood, it’s also okay to choose motherhood over work. After all, if all women work, who will take care of their babies?