Keeping women in the kitchen hardly helps us reach the boardroom

So Cameron’s latest bright idea to help women is to give tax breaks for hiring domestic servants as this will free up lots of time to help women reach the boardroom.

Let’s set aside for now, the fairness agenda – giving tax breaks to people who can afford to hire domestic servants.  I’ll leave that for other bloggers to comment on.

I’m not quite ready to set aside the fact that this only helps wealthy women, at the expense of poorer women.  Because really – does Cameron think that this time around, domestic servants will be male?
That poorer women can take some domestic responsibility from wealthier women, is hardly going to remove the assumption that domestic work is women’s work.
Hiding women in domestic situations, is hardly helping the feminist cause.

And this is the bit that is really filling me with rage: Cameron’s base assumption that domestic work is women’s work – and so help with domestic work will help women.

The problem with the glass ceiling isn’t that I don’t have time to smash it as I’m too busy at home cleaning my oven.
The problem is that men assume I’m not as committed to business as men, because I’m more interested in getting home to clean my oven.
So telling society that oven-cleaning is women’s work, but the lovely government will help me with that is hardly the best way to solve the problem that women are seen as responsible for domsticity.

Here’s a news flash Cameron – women aren’t responsible for the running of the household.  It is this message that women ARE primarily domestically motivated that causes problems for us in the workplace.

I welcome the news that you have acknowledged that a lack of women in the boardroom is a problem.  But reinforcing our domestic role is hardly the way to help.

Emphasise our abilities, emphasise the fact that excluding 50% of the population from boardrooms isn’t helpful, emphasise the fact that an old boy’s club run the boardrooms, and they keep recruiting people that look just like them.

Don’t emphasise the fact that really, women should be in the kitchen


2 Comments on “Keeping women in the kitchen hardly helps us reach the boardroom”

  1. Ellesar says:

    I find it impossible to be enraged by this as it is simply a traditionalist view, coming from the leader of a traditionalist party. He is courting the women most likely to vote for him. It is sad that such a thing happens, but I would rather hear it from a Conservative than someone who purports to be a feminist or supporter of feminism and tries to dress it up as a winner for all women.
    Cameron is not the only one who sees domestic work as women’s work – in this case less educated working class women – practically all employers do too.

  2. jenniesue says:

    Hi Ellesar, thank you for commenting.
    Yes, I suppose you are right, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
    But I suppose the bit that angered me was that he is doing this supposedly to help women, and putting it forward as a woman-friendly policy.

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