You wanted to work like men do, so get to work, bitches.
Welcome to “male privilege”.
It isn’t very often that I start crying midway through an interview. I’ve interviewed Marian Baird, professor of gender and employment relations at the University of Sydney, so many times over the years. But those first interviews were always about how women could get back into the workforce after the babies arrived; and then, later, why and how childcare should be an important consideration for employers. I thought my days of writing about discrimination against women at work were more or less over. Battle for parental leave won. Carers leave, tick. Family violence leave, developing. The right to return to your old job, yep. Sexual harassment finally a serious workplace issue.
But Australian women have just been hit with another crisis – and Baird describes it as the nightmare that’s been waiting to happen. These women over 45 are finding themselves in the workforce for much longer than their mothers – yet the workforce has done absolutely nothing to accommodate them.
They want to look after their parents. They are desperately keen to look after their grandchildren (and recall how hard it was when they needed childcare). They must look after their own health and welfare if all this is going to happen. And if those pressures aren’t enough, we now find that over 300,000 women between the ages of 45 and 64 have multiple jobs in order to meet all these needs. And needs they are. This is not discretionary work. It’s enough to make anybody cry.