There was this one Urban Politics class. During a group discussion, we were supposed to develop a feminist form of urban design, so we focussed on co-operative living. We felt that, among other benefits, co-ops make having kids easier; it's that whole it takes a village to raise a child thing. I remember my teacher said it was interesting that we focussed on child rearing as the number one feminist issue, rather than, say, violence against women. I thought it was interesting that he thought it was interesting.
It's certainly topical right now.
I was just at a press conference where this guy says to the TV cameras: I've been thinking about grandchildren more and more lately. I hope my daughter-in-law is listening to this.
A week earlier, I did a double-take when I saw the cover of Maclean's. It read: Hey Lady! What will it take to make you breed? Your government needs to know. You can read the main article here. It brought up some interesting points, although I found the title crass. I especially liked the bit about France. That country has some great incentives for parenting, which don't try to get women to stay home; in fact, almost 80 per cent of French women work. This is why:
There is a calibrated income-tax rate for families whereby the more children a couple has, the more money they keep in their pockets. The state offers a monthly allowance of roughly $400, which is bumped up when the child reaches the age of 11. Parents are entitled to a tax deduction for in-home child care help (which Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who stepped down this week, recently announced will be doubled). There is an extensive state-run crèche system, where parents can leave their toddlers at a moment's notice, for free. Families with three or more kids are deemed "famille nombreuses" and are eligible for zero income tax, heavily subsidized rent and transportation, and state-funded parental leaves that can extend for years. They also get free access to many public amenities, and about $325 per year toward extracurricular arts and athletics programs for the kids.
The response by the Tyee is also worth a read: So you want me to breed?
I want to know what my lady friends think about the pressure to bear children! Also: let's move to France!