As COVID-19 has laid bare, there is strong undercurrent in our society of devaluing “women’s” work even though that work is essential to the successful running of an economy. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.
And there’s the fact more women leave full-time work to bring up children. While the number of women staying in the workforce has increased in recent years thanks to a universal paid-parental leave scheme, at the age of 35 80% of men are engaged in the workforce full-time compared to only 40% of women.
Interestingly, the government’s proposed changes to tuition fee subsidies (with STEM courses costing less than most in the humanities) have attracted media attention in part because they look set to benefit men while negatively impacting women.
Women also have to contend with the gender pay gap, interrupted careers and fewer opportunities to enter leadership positions. Because they make the “choice” in a partnership to be the primary carer, women almost never make it up again financially when they go back into the workforce.