Friday, December 31, 2010

Are You Calling Women Lazy???

The following article summary got my attention in my google reader because it offended me.

Part-time work in the Netherlands has turned from being the prerogative of women with little career ambition into a powerful tool to attract talent in a competitive labor market.

The article "The Female Factor: Working (Part-Time) in the 21st Century" is odd- I find the message hard to pin down as far as what it's saying about women- but it's worth a read.

When I read the summary, I thought, "Really, New York Times? Did you have to say it that way? Just because you work part-time does not necessarily mean you have less career ambition. Balancing work and family life is just smart. Oh, and now that GUYS are working part-time too, suddenly it's the latest, greatest thing and shows ambition?" That line seemed like a bit of a dig to me.

The article focuses on the Netherlands. It's pretty much about flexible working hours, but the info on Dutch gender roles is interesting. The article summary line comes from a couple sentences that have two typos, so part of me wonders if that summary is a result of not-so-thoughtful editing/writing.

Take a look:

But in just a few years, part-time work has ceased being the prerogative of woman with little career ambition, and become a powerful tool to attract and retain talent — male and female — in a competitive Dutch labor market.

Indeed, for a growing group of younger professionals, the appetite for a shorter, a more flexible workweek appears to be spreading, with implications for everything from gender identity to rush-hour traffic.

Did you catch the two typos?

I find the article's message a little confusing. While showing that both men and women in the Netherlands want to work less to spend more time with family, it also cites studies that imply that women- but not men!- are, well, lazy.

According to Ellen de Bruin, the author of “Why Dutch Women Don’t Get Depressed,” Dutch women don’t seem to mind too much. She notes that 96 percent of Dutch part timers tell pollsters they do not want to work more; the Netherlands is that rare country where — even taking housework and child care into account — women work less than men.

Um, ok... I dunno. What do you guys think? If you read the whole article, can you tell me if it's as wander-y as I think it is?

The article is part of a series called the Female Factor, which aims to examine "where women stand in the early 21st century."


Anonymous said...

Found the first typo, "woman" in the phrase "woman with little career ambition" should be "women", but I can't find any other. Where is the second typo?

I do have to question the assertion that "even taking housework and child care into account--women work less than men." Really, how are they arriving at that? Are they taking the word of people they've polled? Is it Dutch WOMEN who claim they are doing less overall work than men? See, because housework and childcare doesn't really stop once traditional work hours have ended. It's round the clock, and most everywhere you go, housework and childcare are left to women, like it or not. Are we to believe that Dutch women are just refusing to do (more than) their fair share of household and child-related work? I don't really believe it, but if it WERE true, you'd have to admit that's kind of bad-ass of them.

Stamford Talk said...

Well, I suppose the second typo (in second paragraph) could be considered
stylistic, but I am pretty sure it's a typo.