“What are you doing tomorrow,” I ask a retired man at a group dinner last Sunday.
“I’m taking my granddaughter to school. Then, later, I’m picking her up after school,” he said.
His contribution means a lot to his daughter. She’s an executive at a local corporation, and she doesn’t need to worry about daycare. She’s lucky.
Women dropping out of the labor force has been cited as one of the major reasons why women don’t earn as much as a men. Some experts claim that they choose to be mothers and be home with their children. If I listen closely, I hear the words: “It’s their own fault they don’t earn as much.”
Sharing responsibility for childcare is nothing new. Even Susan B. Anthony would babysit Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s seven children while Stanton worked on her speeches. Anthony, a former teacher, was childless and still must have been flummoxed at times with what to do with Stanton’s family.
Things need to change in the workplace for women to have wage equality. There’s no doubt of that. But when I hear of a neighbor’s son and wife moving with their newborn 3,000 miles across the county to a place where they know absolutely no one, I wince. It’ll be some time before they can make the ties that will support them.
If you have supportive friends or family…count yourself lucky.