Thursday 8 December 2016

Put parents to work both in and out of the office

We need a national parental leave policy that is solely provided by the Government, writes Carol Hunt

Published 24/10/2010 | 05:00

'A daughter fair," enthused Milton, "so buxom, blithe and debonair." Little did he think that the adjective "buxom" would become a condescending term of abuse: an insult so demeaning that the use of it required an immediate and humiliating retraction from a grovelling Mark Fielding of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Isme) last Wednesday.

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So, what did the man say? Well, initially, to the Irish Times, on the subject of the proposed extension of maternity leave being voted on by the European Parliament, he said: "If there are candidates [for a job] and one is a buxom young woman of child-rearing years and the other is a fellow, who is an employer going to hire when he or she knows that they will have to pay 20 weeks' maternity leave?"

I looked up the definition of 'buxom'. Not having heard the word used in polite society for some time (like, forever), I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what Fielding had in mind with his talk of buxom child-rearing maidens.

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