August 19, 2009
I had a conversation with a young woman who is expecting twins…her long term relationship with the father ended at almost the same moment that the pregnancy began. She has a decent job in an area where good pay for women is $11 per hour. Average rent for a small apt. or house is around $800. This young woman has crunched the numbers in every way she can and has come to the realization that even with the $500 per month child support the father will be required to pay she will not be able to support herself and two children. Childcare alone would break the bank.
She asked me what feminist have achieved…certainly not equal pay and certainly not the choice of joining the workforce or staying home to raise her children….today women are expected to work to help
support the family and that it isn’t just an expectation it is a necessity. She went on to say that before women entered the workforce, men were paid a wage that allowed them to keep a roof over his family’s head and that for most men the American Dream was a reasonable expectation. But now, she went on, it is expected that a woman work because men no longer make a wage that will allow for achieving the American Dream without a two worker household. She then pointed out that if indeed feminist had fought for affordable, good, childcare they had failed. Childcare for infants is almost non-existent and childcare in general is expensive and good childcare very hard to find.
I had no good answers for her, at least none that I could point to that would alleviate the financial problems she is facing. The real sad part of this story is that she is looking at adoption — giving her children to another couple because she can’t afford them and can’t foresee her things changing for herself unless she meets a man who will help support her and her children — and she asks, doesn’t that just lead us back to the same place we were in the 50s & 60s?
Posted by: Julie