Columnist Says Stay-at-Home Moms Should be Illegal

woman with babyCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

A columnist for Australia’s Daily Telegraph is raising the ire of women around the world for suggesting that the country should make it illegal for women to be a stay-at-home parent once their children are old enough to go to school.

In an article published on Monday, columnist Sarrah Le Marquand says the findings of a recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)that stay-at-home moms represent large losses to the economy is cause to make it illegal for women to stay home and raise their children.

According to, the report reveals employment rates for women with children in Australia to be nine percent lower than those of all prime-aged women. Thus, stay-at-home mothers were singled out as the “greatest untapped potential” for Australia’s workforce. Women who choose to stay home or work part-time jobs were posing “potentially large losses to the economy.”

The report generated an outcry from Australian women which Le Marquand described as “hysteria.”

“For days you couldn’t walk past a television, radio or computer screen without encountering a defensive rant about how the most valuable work a woman can do involves nappies, play-doh, and a strict adherence to only leaving the family home during the hours of 9am to 5pm to attend playgroup or a similar non-work sanctioned activity,” she writes.

“And then we wonder why Australia continues to languish in the bottom third of OECD member states when it comes to female employment. It’s no mystery; our collective support for working women makes Donald Trump’s cabinet look like Women’s March HQ by comparison.”

The OECD report ends with a recommendation that the government adopt “facilitation of a better work-life balance” and focus on the provision of affordable childcare.

But that’s not good enough for Le Marquand. She takes it a giant step further by calling for the occupation of stay-at-home mother to be made illegal.

“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,” she asserts.

She then devotes the next three paragraphs to defending her position, saying that the importance of parenting is beyond dispute and reminding the public that she was “a lone voice supporting” the government’s failed parental leave scheme.

“But it’s time for a serious rethink of this kid-glove approach to women of child-bearing and child-rearing age. Holding us less accountable when it comes to our employment responsibilities is not doing anyone any favors. Not children, not fathers, not bosses — and certainly not women.”

She adds: “Only when the female half of the population is expected to hold down a job and earn money to pay the bills in the same way that men are routinely expected to do will we see things change for the better for either gender. 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.”

Of course, Le Marquand was widely criticized for her misguided opinion.

“So, in other words: Letting women who want to stay home and raise their kids is harmful to the women who want to stay home and raise their kids. Okay, got it. Oh wait, no I don’t, because that is the dumbest load of garbage that I have ever heard in my entire life,” writes Katherine Timpf for National Review Online. “I mean, what exactly would Marquand like to see done to the women who tried to defy this policy? Fine them? Imprison them? If they won’t be away from their families by going to work, then they will just have to be away from their families by going to prison!”

Timpf goes on to shred Le Marquand’s ill-advised idea of equality.

“She’s saying that all people should be forced to go to work, even if they do have the financial means to survive as a single-income family without any government assistance, and even if they did not have any kind of tax breaks, because that is the only way for workforce participation to be “equal.’

“But here’s the thing: When it comes to workforce participation, men and women are already equal in the sense that they both get the exact same right to choose whether they will participate or not.

“Marquand insists that the people who believe ‘feminism is about choice’ are wrong, but she believes that feminism is about forcing women to do things that they do not want to do — and it should be obvious to anyone with a brain that that backwards interpretation is about as blatantly wrong as it gets.”

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