Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Family Values. Just Not For Families

The following post from Right Wing News, and the comments attached to it, make me so angry I can barely speak.

Oh, Okay, I'll try.
RightWingNews

The point of the article is that the Family and Medical Leave Act, as it stands and with Ted Stevens' proposed addition of paid leave, should cause any right-thinking employer to decide against hiring women of child-bearing age. One of the commenters actually uses the term "hiring a uterus." The justification for this prejudice being that if someone takes 8 weeks off after birth or adoption, that the company shouldn't be required to keep their job open for them due to costs and hassle. Therefore, companies should wisely decide against hiring women for management track positions. Therefore, this bill will create the very glass ceiling that Dems want to remove.

Where to begin?

First of all, why is the assumption made that someone should not be able to take short-term leave and return to their old job because of the expense of hiring a temp? The question is more "How expensive is it to search, hire and train a new person to replace a valued employee simply because that person needed extended time off?" If the potential for short-term leavetaking is the issue, how about not hiring fat white men because the chances of them needing time off for bypass surgery? How about not hiring people who have aging parents and grandparents because of the chance of them needing time off for funerals? My point is that you can come up with any reason at all to disqualify someone for a job because of the potential for them needing leave.

So if you happen to be a conservative schmuck, you make it about "hiring a uterus" rather than hiring, say, "a pill-popping and fat" talk show host (any guesses?). Notice that no one on their side was worried about Dick Cheney. No one was worried about John McCain's skin cancer. Nope. Should we replace CEOs while they are on that 5-week vacation in the South Pacific? Hmm... I didn't think so. But god forbid a woman might get pregnant or adopt. THAT is a real money loser for American industry, isn't it?

And here's the kicker: every single father I know wanted to take time off when his children were born or adopted. Every single one. Not one of them faced any kind of "gee, had we known this, we wouldn't have hired you, dude..." prejudice. They were sent on their way home with cigars and presents for mom and baby.

And here's the bigger kicker: almost every mother I know, just like her husband, did some kind of work, whether answering emails, being on conference calls, or talking someone at the office through a project, during that leave. I simply don't know a single family for whom that leave was true "leave" in the conservative schmuck sense of the word.

And here's the biggest kicker of all: for a party that supposedly promotes family values and good Christian living, you'd think having a married (heterosexual?!) family together for the first two months of a child's life would be the absolute pinnacle of their achievements, that this would be THE thing to which their party would aspire.

Instead, it's just another reason to wink at prejudice. Which, to my mind, is more a condition in need of long-term disability leave than having a new baby in the house.

1 comment:

Raine said...

"And here's the biggest kicker of all: for a party that supposedly promotes family values and good Christian living, you'd think having a married (heterosexual?!) family together for the first two months of a child's life would be the absolute pinnacle of their achievements, that this would be THE thing to which their party would aspire."

Actually, they would rather that women just not work outside the home at all. You know, kitchen and babies and all that jazz.

I think it's all a load of hock phooey anyway.

My preference for hiring would put uteruses above boneheads, dicks, shitheads and f@ckers, pardon my language.

If any company is willing to actually refrain from hiring women of childbearing age (despite their capabilities as an employee) based simply on the fact that they might need to take leave, I don't think any woman in her right mind would want to work there anyway.