I admit that I don’t have much patience for the self-professed “new faces of feminism” who advocate that motherhood should be women’s only and greatest calling. At first, it was baffling to me that in spite of their pro-natalist principles, they oppose any type of national daycare plan. You’d think that people who believe that a woman’s primarily is that of a mother would be in favour of it, but they don’t. Why? It’s expensive and women should be chained to their homes and kids anyway.
I’ve never seen Mrozek being challenged on her views on women. Thus, it was inspiring to see Ann Decter, the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at YWCA Canada, to take a tough feminist take on Mrozek and her unenlightened opinion. Mrozek appeared uncomfortable, and tt was obvious that Decter thought her ridiculous. Extra points for rolling her eyes at her opponent at the end of the discussion!
Mrozek and her social conservative lot at the Institute for Marriage and Family constantly bemoan the ever-decreasing birth rate (which, by the way, started in the 1920s and is not a recent phenomenon at all, even if they claim otherwise. Just read The Bedroom and the State: the Changing Practices and Politics of Contraception and Abortion in Canada, 1880–1997). However, they don’t make it any easier for women to combine kids and work in their daily lives. It’s always easier to blame feminism for dissuading women from motherhood than to actually do something about the current lack of affordable, adequate childcare. I think that this lack is one of the myriad of reasons why women are having fewer children or none at all.
As for her argument, it is entirely non-existent. The question of “Who’s going to pay for it?” is the usual consumerist approach from which the mainstream media present social issues. I don’t even have kids and I don’t even want any, and the least I can hope is that my taxes go to something more socially important that fucking fighter jets.
Childcare should not even be an issue, but it is, since it is largely perceived as women’s problem. After all, they are still the primarily caregivers of children. I know I’m speaking in broader terms, and I think that Catherine Porter’s column illustrates well the reality of women and lack of childcare:
“This brings me to the Conservative plan for child care, which is no plan. It does not make the party’s priority list of jobs, troops, sovereignty and victims of crime. It is mentioned only once in their platform, with a reference to the ‘Universal Child Care Benefit’ that the Tories created after axing the Liberal program. The benefit is a cheque for $100, sent every month to parents of children under six. It is meant to ‘support all parents,’ the platform says, ‘and to respect their right to choose the form of child care that’s best for their families.’
This might sound good to you. Who doesn’t like cash? Except with $100, you can’t choose any child care. I hire a 12-year-old down the street to look after my kids when I’m in a bind. She charges $5 an hour—for both my kids. The Conservative plan covers five days of child care by a 12-year-old, as long as she skips school and I leave work early.”
What is interesting is that the Tory scheme is already costing $2.5 billion per year and who is paying for it, Ms. Mrozek? And how is this any better that the proposed program, as outlined by the Liberals? (By the way, their proposal, which is estimated initially at $500 million, is much less expensive). The monthly “allowance” does nothing to help families who juggle full-time jobs and young children.
Update: Any publicity is good publicity, but I’ve received enough hate mail and inane comments over the last few days (not to mention traffic). No new comments will be approved concerning this post; I’ve wasted enough time on arguing with Mrozek’s followers.