March 27 2017
An Australian journalist wants lawmakers to ban stay-home moms, and require women to return to work after having children.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Sarrah Le Marquand cites a recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report that suggested stay-home moms caused “potentially large losses to the economy” in Australia by opting out of the workforce.
Le Marquand uses those potential economic losses to argue that depriving mothers of parenting choices is actually in the national interest. Moms who stay home are essentially mooching off the system, she argues, citing “the unfair tax concessions enjoyed by one-income households.”
“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 school-age or older are gainfully employed,” Le Marquand writes.
Le Marquand, the editor of the Sunday magazine Stellar, is known for offering feminist hot takes on topics from The Batchelor to the U.S. presidential elections. In a tagline for another recent column, she described being repeatedly manterrupted on TV, boasting that she debated two male pundits and “managed to emerge unscathed and without feeling the need for counseling — even without the protection of a petition behind her.”
In a counter-intuitive twist on her latest piece, Le Marquand that although she wants a stay-home mom ban, she supports extending paid maternity leave and admits that parents play a “vital and irreplaceable” role in early childhood. But that flexibility should end when a kid goes to kindergarten, she suggests.
Her column doesn’t discuss how moms mandated back into the workforce would find or afford after-school childcare. Nor does she delve into what penalties she’d like stay-at-home moms of school-aged children to incur.
Le Marquand dismisses outright the idea that women should make their own choices about parenting and careers.
“Only when the tiresome and completely unfounded claim that ‘feminism is about choice’ is dead and buried (it’s not about choice, it’s about equality) will we consign restrictive gender stereotypes to history,” she writes.
Le Marquand seems to think that the path toward that equality is to force moms and dads to assume identical professional and parenting responsibilities. Only then, she writes, “will we finally have a serious conversation about how to achieve a more balanced modern workplace.”
So in seeking to liberate women from “restrictive gender stereotypes,” Le Marquand would impose authoritarian mandates spanning both professional and family life. It’s an odd feminism that views such suffocating restrictions as a credible way to make women more free.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.