Women in Comparative Societies
The Price of Motherhood: Part Two (Chpts. 5-9)

Reading:  Crittenden, Anne. 2001. The Price of Motherhood:  Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued.  New York:  Henry Holt and Company (an Owl Book).

Chapter 5 The Mommy Tax
The price women pay to be mothers

How does are society ‘tax’ mothers for their decision to be caregivers?

 gap between earnings of women with and without children
 larger than gap between women and men (94)

No pay for maternity leave. only about 2% of US women have paid leaves.  Most women take 3 months or less unpaid leave
(95) US one of only 6 countries without paid maternity leaves

only 5 states have mandated that women be paid disability during this time (NY, NJ, CA and two others)

get ‘mommy tracked’ ‘ perceived as ‘less committed’ than unencumbered workers, not to be trusted with important projects

perceived to be working less, performing worse

women are left with ‘be a man’ strategy ‘ have to work
exactly the same, hours, schedules, career trajectory as men, or punished for it

(98)  ‘The huge tax on mothers’ earnings is due to work rules and practices and habits of mind that discriminate against anyone, of either sex, who cannot perform like an ‘unencumbered’ worker.’

Note (99) that fathers with working wives (and presumably greater domestic responsibilities) earn 20% less than other men ‘ thus many families pay the ‘mommy tax’

contrasts the penalties paid by women who ‘choose’ to be mothers with the benefits and privileges built into the system for soldiers who must interrupt their other lives/careers (105-107)

Chpt. 6 ‘ The Dark Little Secret of Family Life
This chapter shows that women are more likely to spend household income on kids than themselves or anything.  Men are more likely to spend on themselves, leisure, e.g. alcohol, cigarettes, and booty

amazing that this holds true across numerous cultural contexts ‘ e.g. Kenya, Malawi, Jamaica, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, UK, WI (121-124)

male hunters’ behavior in W Africa (give meat to prospective sex partners) rather than to support existing offspring

What difference does fathering make?
129 ‘ in all societies where men have close bonds of affection with their children, women wield greater authority in the community

130 ‘ conservatives argue that strong mothers make fathers irrelevant;  opposite true.  The stronger, more empowered the mothers, the more involved father are.  (is this because they have to be?  women couldn’t be empowered if they weren’t?? causality mixed-up; fathers more important when women are more absent not women more absent because fathers more important?/ is this a silly competitive way of thinking about joint parenting anyway??)

Chpt 7-9  Who pays?

presents a lot of sad stories about men who don’t support their children, try to wiggle out of paying their fair share

what is their fair share?

is there such a thing as a family wage or family wealth under current American laws?

not really ‘ belong to the ‘breadwinner’  who’s lifestyle and career are unaffected by children and divorce ‘ while caregiver’s lifestyle and career are totally dictated by age and number of children, number of years spent out of the workplace, etc.

over and over again, we see that a woman’s income is ‘imputed’ from her relationship with men ‘ if she remarries or lives with a man after her divorce, than he is responsible for her upkeep (and her children’s); he is responsible for her standard of living ‘ yet if he dies, she is entitled to only half of his social security earnings

185 ‘ ‘The states are now required to try to establish paternity of all newborns, under the controversial principle that a biological parent has an obligation to support his children even if he never intended to become a parent.’

Can men who have sex with women claim ‘that they never intended to become a parent?’

Do men have the right to choose fatherhood?

Do women really choose to be mothers?  What shapes this choice for them?