Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women Have A Right To Work--Except Maybe In Ireland

A fellow MBA candidate passed on this article to me through a discussion forum, and I must say, I don't think I've been this outraged since that WSJ column on Nancy Pelosi and family planning funding. So now I feel compelled to pass this on to you, to share the outrage, so to speak:

Working women almost certainly caused the credit crunch

NEWTON EMERSON

Wed, Feb 25, 2009

NEWTON'S OPTIC: THE ANSWER to all our problems is staring us in the face. It may even be quite literally staring at you, right now, across the breakfast table.

So put the paper down, stare back and ask yourself a selfless question.

Does the woman in your life really need a job?

Admittedly, this is not a fashionable question. From Iceland to Australia, men are blamed for causing the credit crunch, while a more feminine approach to finance is proposed as the solution.

Of course there will always be a place in the world of business for exceptional women. Women also have an important role to play in jobs that are too demeaning for men, like teaching. But the general employment of women is another matter. Indeed, working women almost certainly caused the credit crunch by bringing a second income into the average household, pushing property prices up to unsustainable levels.

Whether working women actually caused the credit crunch is now a moot point. The point is that removing women from the workforce would mitigate its effects.

Consider the issue of unemployment. There were 221,301 men on the live register last month and just under one million women in work.

Surely at least half these women have a partner who is earning? Surely at least half would be happier at home? One half of one half is a quarter and one quarter of a million is roughly 221,301. I think we can all see where this argument is going.

It would be ludicrous to suggest that women should be sacked purely to give men their jobs. In many cases, their jobs should be abolished as well.

Women are twice as likely as men to work in the public sector. They account for two-thirds of the Civil Service and three- quarters of all public employees.

Yet they are barely represented in the useful public services of firefighting and arresting people. Encouraging women to leave the workforce would go a long way towards addressing the budget deficit without any downside whatsoever.

Further benefits of sacking women have been uncovered by the Central Gender Mainstreaming Unit at the Department of Justice. According to its research, twice as many woman as men travel to work by bus and train, potentially halving the impact of cutbacks in public transport. However, it is probable that three-quarters of the Central Gender Mainstreaming Unit’s staff are women, so these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt.

While the economic case for fewer women in the workforce is irrefutable, we should also acknowledge the social advantages. Women make the majority of spending decisions in Irish households and make almost all of the purchases. They are far more likely than men to regard shopping as a leisure activity, far less likely to make savings and investments, and were even almost twice as likely to spend their SSIAs.

In short, women were the driving force behind the greed, consumerism and materialism of the Celtic Tiger years and it was female employment that funded their oestrogen-crazed acquisitiveness.

The time has come to build a more sustainable, equitable and progressive society. Why not make a start by telling your other half to quit her job? She can ask you for the housekeeping on Friday.


In short, men are more useful and women are just sucking up all the jobs. Really? Really?

Now let's be reasonable Mr. Emerson. The "non-useful" civil service jobs probably don't pay well. Men don't want them. Women want to work them. They are called "pink-collar jobs" for a reason.

And the bit about greed, and hormone driven women who can't stop shopping? Did you both to read any statistics? Where is your data to back that up? Yes women make most household purchases, but it's far more likely that they are buying groceries, clothes for the kids, cleaning supplies, and other home-related goods than doling out the cash for kilos of chocolate or non-stop shoe sprees at whatever the Irish equivalent of Nordstrom's is.

Blaming the credit crisis on women is silly, because if you think about it, the whole shebang started here in America, with banks led by the big boys like Vikram Pandit of Citigroup and Ken Lewis of Bank of America, not to mention John Thain, formerly of Merrill Lynch. Even today those men are spending: $10 million for the redesign of the Citi executive suite including customized millwork and a Sub-Zero fridge. Don't tell me men don't splurge on luxury.

Mr. Emerson, if you cut public transit, you're also eliminating jobs in a male-dominated area. So you can cut off your nose to spite your face in terms of saying that women are sucking up all available funds on bus and train maintenance. Besides, I'm sure men take the bus too.

These are just a smattering of rebuttals, from my end. Please feel free to continue the argument.

5 responses:

Michael A. Burstein said...

I think Emerson might find, had he done any research, that there are a lot of families out there dependent on two incomes to keep themselves housed and starving. Even if you took his ludicrous assumption that double-income families were the cause for housing prices to rise, once those prices were so high, other families could only afford their rents by becoming double-income families themselves.

Aaron Weber said...

1942 called. It wants its gender roles back.

I also love the idea that only fighting fires and arresting people counts as "useful." Just as the right-wing pundits seem to think that the happiness of countries where there's a safety net is not "real happiness," and the jobs created by government spending are not real jobs, they have now asserted that the utility created by public services other than fire and police (transit, education, social services...) isn't actual utility.

Because it's not MANLY!

Kate Hutchinson said...

Speaking of 1942, what this piece really reminded me of was post-WWII America. The men had left to go to war, and women stepped in and worked to make up the employment gap. When the men came home from the manly business of fighting Nazis, women were laid off or pressured to quit so that the jobs could go to men.

Except that the modern men in Ireland don't have the honor of being war heroes returning from saving the free world from Nazis.

aprilx said...

I'd like to chuck a brick at his face. I just have no words ...

The Outsider said...

http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

P.S: to make it obvious

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_Emerson


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All opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author.