March 22, 2017

SARRAH LE MARQUAND: It should be illegal to be a stay-at-home mum.

Yes, the role played by parents in the early months and years following the birth of a child is vital and irreplaceable. It also stands to reason that for many (but certainly not all) families, it is the mother who opts to take time off work during this period to solely focus on caring for her baby.

Once again, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, that time at home should be a privilege afforded to more new mums, which is why a few years back I was a lone voice in supporting Tony Abbott’s grossly misunderstood and thus ill-fated paid parental leave scheme, which proposed all female employees receive their normal salary for six months.

So it’s not as simple as suggesting that the OECD’s rallying call to utilise the potential of stay-at-home mums is an insult to mothers — on the contrary, it is the desperately needed voice of reason that Australians cannot afford to ignore.

Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun paid employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children of school-age or older are gainfully employed.

Feminism has gone from pursuing legal equality to encouraging forced labor in just three generations.

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