The status of women
So I read this post shortly after it came out about the huge gender gap in cycling. It suggests that it is part of a wider gender gap in income and domestic responsibility. I think she has some very good points and I’m sure I have blogged about how much easier a cargo bike would make my life. This need has gotten bigger since my crash as I can no longer use the drop bars on the Nishiki and it has my best cargo capacity. I adore Claire, but she can’t take Toddler girl and me for groceries and come home with much more than a cup of sugar.
Then today this post came out from a blog co-written by a few moms from Edmonton. It is a very interesting post about the challenges of biking with kids and urban sprawl, but my favourite part is the link to this other article.
It talks bout women in the Netherlands persistently only working part time. As much as I feel like I’m letting my feminist side down… I have to admidt that sounds pretty good to me.
Here’s the thing: Before I married T, I spent years working horrible shifts at assorted hospitals to build seniority and be able to bid on better hours. When I settled in the city I was already taking a $10/hour pay cut because my position was not available in the city hospitals. The just after we got married a better position came open at the local University and I cut my hours way back at the hospital to take it. That was a mistake. The job I took was not as advertised. I signed up for a job share and the person I was sharing with quit after only a month. Then a year later when I went on mat leave it was filled by an unquantified person and eventually abolished before I came back.
The U placed me in a clerical position after my mat leave (eventually) that did not match my qualifications and not only did not allow me to get the hours to practice required to keep my license in my field and ALSO did not allow me to work any of the shifts available at the hospital. In the end I had to give up on both jobs due to Toddler girl having some health problems. So… I’m a stay at home mom who works casual at the local doctor’s office.
By the time Toddler girl goes to school, I will be too old to have a career. Sad but true. I’ll be 37 when she is in kindergarten. To start rebuilding my seniority at the hospital I would have to work several years of casual then likely a minimum of 3 years of night shifts (again) before I could bid on regularly scheduled shift work that would be a 12 week rotation with all hours worked between 5am and 11:30 pm on any day of the week. After 20 years, I could MAYBE get a day job. If I was back in a small town (and could move to the small town based on work available) I could be working days with an on call rotation in about six months.
Or I could try to get 3 or 4 days a week at the clinic. It would be more double what I work now. We would have enough money that we wouldn’t have to worry all the time. But I would still have time to help with home work, do the mountains of laundry young children generate, menu plan, grocery shop and keep a garden. I could continue to be sane. I have to say working 1.2 FTE and trying to squeeze in all the other stuff the way I was when I first went back to work after mat leave did not leave much room for sanity.
I know lots of women do it all with a full time job. It amazes me that they can. I wonder if they are happy?
I am. Even if I worry about money all the time.