Naught for nothing, but at my job we have REAL binders full of women. Well-qualified women who specialize in care-giving and nurturing and problem-solving and are seeking full- and part-time work as public health or social service workers. Civil service workers.
Some people say Social/Civil Servants. We aren't allowed to say that here. We also can't say "chief" or "monkey". We have weird PC standards.
We women in this field need the flexibility it can provide to chaperone school field trips. Take care of sick babies. Sick kids. Sick parents. Take care of our own bodies. And minds. We need to work our schedules around school drop-off times and school pick-up times and baseball games and ballet practices and chess club dismissals and parent-teacher conferences.
Some of us don't want to be Stay At Home Moms. Some of us don't have a choice.
Most of the women in my office are solely responsible for the health benefits of their family. Social service jobs usually come with ridiculously great fringe benefits. We need the extra days off and health insurance benefits because our partners aren't usually able to provide them for us. Their jobs aren't flexible. Their jobs often don't offer health care benefits on the side and more days off than you can shake a stick at. Our partners may be able to provide us with enough money to pay the bills, but how many are able to leave their jobs early when someone pukes in math class? How many are able to make every basketball game? Sit down with the family at (a reasonable) dinner time? Read bedtime stories? Kiss the little ones goodnight? Stay up late enough to watch the news together? Make love?
In order to run a fiscally secure household in today's times, someone often has to give up flexibility. The type of job that most bread-winning adults have is the sort where you can't just get up and leave. Be it cashier or heart surgeon. The type of job that at least one of us in a two-parent arrangement/household needs to "support a family" doesn't usually support what our families need most of.
Family dinners are important. Family game nights make a difference. Family reading time. Family giggle time. Family presence at sporting events and dance recitals and science fairs mean a whole damned lot to a kid. And to a parent. Our kids can be just as over-scheduled and as inflexible as we are. That should change.
The whole family, whatever that might mean to you in your house, needs to be present among one another. One mom and kid(s), one dad and kid(s), two dads and kid(s), one mom and dad and kid(s). Two moms and kid(s). One dad, one grandparent and kid(s). Whatever.
No matter what your political affiliation, no matter how ridiculous it sounds when someone says that a woman's place is in the kitchen or in a binder, there is an underlying truth to what everyone seems up in arms about today. Sure it wasn't presented well last night, and it may not have been relevant to the issue addressed and it wasn't said in the most gentle of ways, but there is a point to be honored.
A family's place is in the kitchen. Making dinner. Ordering dinner in. Eating at the dinner table. Hanging out at soccer practice. Catching all the mathlete competitions. Together. We don't get much together time.
Together time, especially chatty together time that happens around a dinner table, does prevent gun violence. Drug use. Smoking. Drinking. Sexing. Bullying. Failing grades. Depression. And worse. It's science. Proven through years of research on the subject.
We all need that flexibility to get home to make dinner.
Every man, woman, and child. Every worker, every pavement pounder, every non-worker.
Flexibility with our time.
To be together.
And we need better healthcare that isn't tied to our jobs.
(Drops microphone and walks away.)