WORKING women gave an eye-roll of solidarity for Sophie Ellis-Bextor this week when she said she is fed up with being asked about childcare as a working mum.
The singer, who has just released her new album The Song Diaries — and also recently had her fifth child — tweeted that she loves making music and promoting a new record.
Rex Features Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor has she said she is fed up with being asked about childcare as a working mum
But “I do not love talking over and over about how I sort my childcare. I am a singer. I am a mum. I will sort the childcare. Ask me something else.”
Because, seriously, how many high-profile male artists, actors and writers would ever be asked the same question?No one asks Liam Payne about his arrangements over toddler Bear, do they?
Men are more likely to be asked if they are “babysitting” when they mention that they are looking after their children. Because perish the thought that blokes who look after their own kids are just, you know, parenting.
Annoying though it is that Sophie is repeatedly asked about her childcare arrangements, the frustrating truth of the matter is that it DOES usually fall to women to organise. That’s probably why the cost of childcare is so often talked about in relation to the mother’s salary.
How many times have you heard people saying things along the lines of: “There’s no point in me/my wife going back to work because my/her salary barely covers the childcare”?
To that I always say firstly, WHY is childcare so often seen as the woman’s responsibility? And secondly, money is not the only reason that women choose to work, but it is important.
Getty – Contributor No one asks Liam Payne about his arrangements over toddler Bear, do they?
Many women need and want to return to the workplace — not least to make sure they retain their earning power in the face of the colossal life change that is becoming a mum.
Sadly, high-quality, affordable childcare is the biggest barrier to working mums returning to and growing their careers.
You simply cannot go to work and concentrate properly on the job unless you are leaving your kids in a safe, dependable environment. Unless there are very understanding grandparents in the picture, most people have to pay for childcare — and it costs a fortune.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just look for one moment at Sweden, which has a maximum-fee policy that makes childcare affordable for everyone.
Fees are calculated according to salary, with low-income families paying nothing while the costs for more affluent parents are capped at £113 per month. Universally, people say the childcare is brilliant.
The thinking, which is really a no-brainer, is that every parent should have the same access to childcare, regardless of their income and circumstances.
At the moment, in the UK, all children aged three to four are entitled to 570 free hours per year, usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks.
Getty – Contributor Frustratingly, it is usually women who have the responsibility of making childcare arrangements
What are you supposed to do with that? It should be 65 hours a week, for a start. But also, childcare should be tax deductible. After all, taxi drivers can deduct the cost of petrol, because without it they cannot do their job.
Working families should be allowed to deduct the childcare without which they could not do theirs. Good, affordable childcare would revolutionise the world of work for women and men.
Unfortunately, affordable childcare is not the only obstacle in front of women returning to the world of work.
Eleven per cent of new working mothers report they have been dismissed, made compulsorily redundant — where others in their workplace were not — or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their jobs.
In the meantime, men should see childcare as their responsibility too, rather than letting it languish on the list of responsibilities.
We really need to look hard at making returning to work a more appealing prospect for women. If we are serious about promoting working parenthood, we should take on the Swedish model.
If they can do it, why can’t we?
Sophie Ellis-Bextor hints she would like a baby girl as she discusses her fifth pregnancy on Sunday Brunch
Jacinda is a true leader
THERE are many things to admire about the way New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern has dealt with the mass shooting at two mosques which killed 50 people.
Reuters New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern has shown herself to be an admirable leader in the wake of the Christchurch attack
There is the speed with which she declared it to be a terrorist attack so soon after it happened. There was her empathy in hugging survivors in Christchurch and her wearing a black headscarf to show her respect. There was her declaration that: “We are one, they are us.”
And there was the fact that when Jacinda addressed Parliament for the first time after the attack, she opened her remarks with the Islamic greeting “As-salaam alaikum”, meaning: “Peace be unto you.” There is the fact she refuses to speak out loud the name of the attacker and will name only the victims of the attack instead.
But the most impressive thing to me about her response to this atrocity is the speed with which she brought in legislation to ban military-style, semi-automatic assault rifles.
She announced the ban on Thursday, less than a week after the attack happened. No platitudes. No hand-wringing. Just real compassion and decisive action.
She has shown herself to be an admirable leader. And it is no coincidence she is a woman.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern joins Muslim worshipers in emotional Friday prayers one week on from terror attacks at two mosques that killed 50 people
Charlie’s king of Caribbean
I CONFESS I did a double-take looking at photos of Prince Charles paddling in the sea on his Caribbean tour.
The Mega Agency Prince Charles looks incredible for his age
The future king in flamboyant floral swimming trunks? Whatever next?
Confession number two. Will I be beheaded if I say he looks incredible for his age?
Corbyn so pittaful
IS it not a bit odd that Jeremy Corbyn, a vegetarian, made an appearance at Wednesday night’s annual British Kebab Awards at Park Plaza in Westminster?
He spoke to the audience about his love of falafel and kebab shops, while enjoying an evening of belly-dancing.
I don’t know what’s more desperate – a vegetarian dishing out awards for kebabs or the fact Corbyn will turn up just about anywhere for publicity.
Summer of crime not fine
I WAS flabbergasted to read about the young girl whose burglary career began at 11.
In court last week she admitted ransacking three homes over a 12-day summer holiday crime spree.
Getty – Contributor Last week a teenage girl admitted ransacking three homes over a 12-day summer holiday crime spree
Aspiration is a wonderful thing but you get it from hard work, being dedicated and pushing yourself every day – not by robbing others of the things they worked hard to buy, things you want but can’t be ar*ed to work for.
Burglary has been downgraded as a crime – and wrongly so. I know from experience when someone breaks into your home, it is upsetting, shocking and seriously affects you.
It is terrifying and things are not the same for a while.
For this girl to start doing this at 11 makes you wonder what kind of upbringing she had. A £290 compensation “fine” that her mother must pay is pathetic.
IMAGINE hiring a workman to fit a boiler and discovering he had been pleasuring himself in your bedroom instead of getting on with the, er, job in hand.
That’s what happened to John White and his wife.
They hired a friend, pervy plumber Leslie Burton, to fix a boiler but instead caught him out on their CCTV.
He can’t be charged with outraging public decency because it took place inside a home. So the Whites dealt with
the matter themselves and made the footage public.Good on them.
Burton deserved a penalty and I imagine the embarrassment is a tougher penalty than a few hours of community service.
But one thing gets me . . .
Who has CCTV in their bedroom?
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ANYONE thinking of buying the “teatox” Khloe Kardashian and her unfeasibly flat stomach are promoting should remind themselves of a couple of things.
Getty Images – Getty Buying the flat-stomach tea Khloe Kardashian is promoting will mean you spend most of your day on the toilet, so you don’t have time to eat a proper meal
Firstly, whether or not she actually drinks the detox supplement taken in tea, Khloe almost certainly has a personal trainer, chef and dietician to help her stay in shape.
Also, having a flat stomach is basically her full-time job.
If she DOES indeed drink a “teatox”, no wonder her stomach is flat. When you drink these so-called “detox teas”, you spend most of your day on the toilet, so you don’t have time to eat a proper meal.
What’s more, if you manage to lose weight because of this stuff, you will put it back on the minute you stop drinking the tea
We took Khloe Kardashian’s fish net outfit for a spin in London and the reactions are priceless!