Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What women want

Damned if I know. But there's a very interesting article in the Times today by Alice Thomson about why women don't want to be MPs. There are essentially two reasons why women don't want to be MPs: the job sucks, and you don't get to see your kids.
Women now expect to spend more time with their children. They are not prepared to miss crucial child-rearing years staring at Pugin wallpaper unless they feel that what they are doing is worthwhile.Increasingly, it feels like it isn’t.
Being an MP has become less interesting with more scrutiny but less significance. Ministers are ground down by the daily cycle of petty news stories; backbenchers find their jobs time-consuming but often unfulfilling. While they are expected to act as social workers in their constituencies and keep their heads down in the Commons, decisions are made by small, powerful cliques. It’s no wonder that a sixth of the 2010 intake of Conservative MPs have divorced or separated since they were elected.
Being a backbench MP gives you very little real power, but demands that you work bloody hard as a constituency case-worker, and hang around interminably in the Commons. It's just not that attractive a proposition - especially given that the age of politicans seems to fall all the time, so that the time when peak effort is required is also the time that you're most likely to have young children.

This strikes a chord. Another area where low female representation is deplored is at the top jobs in the law and in the City. But the same problem applies - they are for the most part shitty awful jobs, with unbelievable hours, compensated by very large salaries. To get a chance at one of these, you must also have spent your twenties and thirties doing unbelievable hours, usually on very tedious work. Why aren't there more women at the top? The jobs suck, and you don't get to see your kids.


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