Sunday, March 26, 2006

The 'because I'm worth it' generation

It's worth reading this article in today's Observer about the profound impact on society caused by the new breed of 'elite women'. Here's an excerpt:
Alison Wolf, a professor at Kings College London, argues that the meteoric rise of this new generation of 'go-getting women' who want high-powered, well-paid jobs has dire consequences for society. Wolf says it has diverted the most talented away from the caring professions such as teaching, stopped them volunteering, is in danger of ending the notion of 'female altruism', has turned many women off having children - and has effectively killed off feminism.
'[It is] the death of the sisterhood,' Wolf writes. 'An end to the millennia during which women of all classes shared the same major life experiences to a far greater degree than men. 'In the past, women of all classes shared lives centred on explicitly female concerns. Now it makes little sense to discuss women in general. The statistics are clear: among young, educated, full-time professionals, being female is no longer a drag on earnings or progress.'
The article argues that the most educated women will now earn as much as men over a lifetime if they have no children. Even with children, the gap will be small. The desire to be successful acts as a major disincentive to women starting a family, Wolf argues.
'Families remain central to the care of the old and sick, as well as raising the next generation, and yet our economy and society steer ever more educated women away from marriage or childbearing,' she writes. 'The repercussions for our future are enormous, and we should at least recognise the fact.' The growth, Wolf argues, of the 'because I'm worth it' generation has led to the end of 'female altruism', where women would see the caring part of their life as normal.

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