Brace yourselves I’m about to rant. Probably not the best time considering my earlier accident and the humdinger of a headache I now have.
And who is causing my hackles to rise? Who has attracted my ire this time? Rachida Dati, that’s who. I’m not the only woman in the western world who is spitting tacks in her general direction this week. Rachida Dati, the 43 year old French justice minister, had her first child by caesarean section last week and went back to work 5 days later. This is upsetting me why exactly?
- There are so many reasons that it is confusing me and I don’t like being confused.
- Quoting The Guardian article where I read about it thanks to Rosemary “[b]usiness leader Sophie de Menthon said: “By absolutely wanting to play superwoman, Rachida Dati does a disservice to women’s cause … What is more, I, as the head of a business, would go straight to prison if I took back a colleague who returned from maternity leave after five days.” Whatever about her first comment, I’m dying to know which courageous French official in Halde or whichever authority in France looks after their labour legislation is going to tackle Sarkozy. See how he likes being made an example of. I wonder would he be so blasé with his own policies if it was his darlin’ Carla who’d just had an 8 lb baby cut out of her belly.
- Why the heck do I know all of this information about Rachida Dati? I mean this in two ways:
- How dignified is it that an individual who has just gone through a life changing event and serious surgery is being discussed hither and yon? Dati, I don’t need to know about your Caesarean – have a bit of decorum apart from anything else.
- Also so what if she doesn’t want to listen to common medical advice and good sense. Media people (myself included): don’t give her the headlines.
- I read also in the same article by Angelique Chrisafis the opinion that Dati may have felt pressure to return to work as the French government were bringing in “the biggest reforms in 200 years to the French legal system” and Dati couldn’t miss her moment in the sun. Hello! If that was the case why did she not have the section 3 weeks ago (or if she did have it at the earliest possible 37 weeks 3 weeks later)? And hello! Boss of the Year Sarkozy, could the legislation not have waited a week or two? What’s so bloody important and who the heck cares in week 1 back to work after les célébrations of la nouvelle annee? All anyone wanted to do last week was stay in bed and Dati was really rubbing our noses in it. She was legally obliged to take the week off and she swans into work nonetheless. Aaarrggghhh!!!
- Further to this, I’m really sorry to break this to you, Rachida dear, but I don’t give a hoot about your precious legislation but I will always remember you as the “young mother” (boss of the year’s words not mine) who went back to work unnecessarily early after having her first child.
- Having had two children I know that I too could probably have gone back to work 5 days afterwards. It was day 10 – 15 that would have been the real trial. I wonder how Dati is feeling now? Pas trés super, I’d say.
- However, I know I’m being flip above and anyone who knows me or reads this blog regularly knows that I think that parenthood and especially early motherhood deserve special care from society. I am not the first commentator to say that Dati’s actions make a mockery of every single day of maternity leave for which each preceding generation campaigned. Not only that I think it makes a mockery of women’s right to work at all because I think realistically potential or actual motherhood has to be part of the package. How on earth are women supposed to continue as valid members of the workforce if their biology keeps getting in the way? We have an ageing population here in Ireland as do many developed countries and we need women to reproduce. I mean how the heck can Boss of the Year on the one hand have policies aimed at encouraging larger families (PDF) (which our large family regularly made the most of while travelling in France) and then allow one of his senior staff make an ass of the law?
In fact I would go so far as to say that Dati’s actions makes a mockery of workers rights and legislation altogether.
- How will my campaign for paternity leave fare if employers think that women don’t need time off? I firmly believe that maternity leave will only give women “equality” if paternity leave is also mandatory. A month after the birth of a child and two more months at their own discretion. As an interim step, parents should be allowed to choose which parent takes the existing leave especially families that don’t practice breastfeeding. And that’s a whole other upcoming post in the offing.
Okay I think that about covers the rant. Well today’s rant anyway. I’ve a few more up my sleeve that I’ve been mulling over the holidays but Rachida deserved special attention.
*I say apparently because obviously God doesn’t exist and so this theory of her resting is totally unprovable.