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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Here's hoping new mum Lucinda fights the working mother's corner

Yvonne Hogan

Published 03/04/2014 | 09:01

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07/07/2013. Pictured is Junior Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton Lucinda Creighton speaking to the Irish Independent at the National Museum of Ireland. She has formally proposed amendments to the Section 9 of the abortion legislation which is proving controverstial to her Fine Gael and Labour counterparts. Photo: El Keegan
Baby on board: Lucinda Creighton

Congratulations on the baby Lucinda Creighton, now we need you to ‘Lean in’

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Unfortunately for them, some women bear more societal expectation than others. Whether it’s right or wrong, the choices they make when they become mothers are not solely personal. They affect us all.

In the same way that reading Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean in’ buoyed me up and made me feel excited and empowered before I returned to work after maternity leave, seeing women leave high powered, influential jobs that they obviously love and excel at after they have children deflates me.

Now before you all start giving out to meet me, let me be clear – I am not talking about women who make a decision to stay at home because that is what they want to do. Nobody in their right mind should have a problem with that.

I am talking about women who love their jobs, are good at them and want to continue to grow and be challenged and make a difference but cant take the fact that they never see their children because the only option given by that career is to work full-time, corporate hours.

I am talking about the women who have made it to the top of the corporate/political ladder, women who are walking the tightrope of work and family and are in a position to change things for the rest of us.

I am talking about the likes of Anne-Marie Slaughter – author of the infamous Atlantic cover story ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All’, who had to walk away from a top job in Obama’s administration because she couldn’t marry the needs of her teenage son with the corporate system. She could have done both jobs on her own terms, but the option wasn’t available.

I am talking about the women who are in the room with the suits when decisions are made about how we spend public money, who should get tax relief, what employment protections and conditions we should enshrine in law.

Because small changes would make a big difference to most of us working parents: For one, if we had tax relief for childcare, you would have less women leaving the workplace and giving up careers that they worked hard on because they can’t hang in there for those three or four years where they have to pay the second mortgage that is crèche fees.

So as I congratulate Lucinda Creighton on the safe delivery of her daughter, I have my fingers and toes crossed that she will go back to work and change the system for the rest of us. I don’t agree with a lot of her politics, but she is feisty, focussed and formidable and she would fight the working mother’s corner.

 

Lean in, Lucinda. Lean in.

 

 

 

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