“Why did you go to uni if you just stay at home?”
It was an innocent and unexpected question to my friend from her six-year-old daughter.
Her daughter had absorbed two pervasive ideas about education and motherhood, and then pieced them together to draw a conclusion that is really bad for women.
The first idea is that we no longer value education as an end in itself, as something worthy of pursuing because it makes for more rounded individuals and a more civil society.
Education is now just a means to get a better job and make more money. If it’s not a direct path to a greater income, then it’s seen as a waste of time.
The second idea is that caring work is unimportant women’s work and it’s not regarded as requiring any great skill.
Her mother JUST stays home. At six, this little girl has already learned that the real work – the work that’s valued and matters – is done outside of the home. And most of the time, it’s done by daddy.