As a mother of young children at home and a feminist who supports the rights of the many women who either work tirelessly at home to raise their families or who would love to do so if finances could stretch, I was delighted to read Jo Brand’s interview (Q&A, Weekend, 19 September). When asked which living person she most admired and why, she answered: “All women who slog their guts out every day, quietly getting on with bringing up their families.” That was a refreshing change from the current script, trotted out by politicians and commentators, that the only women worth admiring are those who combine parenthood with employment or career – those women who are “doing the right thing” and who, somehow, are deemed to have a monopoly on the attribute “hard-working”.
This usual script is an insult to those women who see value in caring for their families at home, and who are struggling financially to do it in a political and economic system that penalises the household income by biased tax and allowances, fails to recognise the financial sacrifice of losing an income to care for children ourselves, and places the notion of “economic contribution” as a higher priority than the nurture, care and love of our children.
Thank you, Jo. You put a smile on the face of a woman who, at times, feels like persona non grata in the age of capitalist individualism.
Author of The Politics of Mothering, Sevenoaks, Kent