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By Maureen Freely 20th May 2004 (44 attended)
In answering most questions Maureen.Freely made it clear that although she strove to improve the lot of women who wanted education and a career as well as a family, she considered the children involved to be a priority, and that she also gave consideration to the male partners as well. She emphasised that the phrase "Where do We go From Here" meant men, women and children together. Equally endearing, as in her book "The Parent Trap" she was willing to quote from her own personal experience and difficulties.
Much of the discussion concerned jobs and pay, also flexible hours.
M.F. observed that flexible hours often enabled women to get to work but not get home to young children at appropriate times. She said questions concerning these problems were best catered for by web sites such as- National Family & Parenting Institute., Parent Life Club, Parent Education Support Network. Single mothers remain single for 4-5 years partly due to isolation in the home and low part time pay compared with family credit.
A young woman in the audience observed that older men were less likely to be jealous of capable young women than younger men. M.F. in answering pointed out that men and women were much better at personnel management and more tolerant after or while bringing up a family.
A male listener spoke at considerable length on Female to male domestic violence. Although 2 women a week may be murdered, men were also murdered as a result of domestic violence. M.F. said it was true men who complained of domestic physical violence to the police were often ignored and that this was equally unfair. Men could refer to "Fathers Direct" about violence and access problems.
A retired Architect member pointed out that absence from work for only a short time, let alone 5 years was fatal to most professional careers, and as examples quoted Hospital Medicine, The Law and his own profession of Architecture. M.F. conceded this was a relevant fact.
M.F. said care workers were generally undervalued, but a woman member said in her childcare group men supervised much more than in the past. M.F. said this should be recognised by women
Maureen. Freely, although a journalist herself, said papers largely bypassed feminist topics, but the convenor noted a number of major articles in the last few editions of the Sunday Times on "Career or Stay at Home Mothers" and "Mothers Little Helper" and the important topic of the drop in the middle class birth-rate