My attention was of course arrested by the cover of last week’s Economist with the iconic shot of Rosie the Riveter proclaiming that We Did It! The basic gist of the three articles in The Economist is that the number of women in the workforce now equals the number of men. Good news indeed. However the articles go on to underline that these women are not represented in management roles across all sectors (although there are some exceptions in some sectors) and that they don’t, on average, earn as much as men. Nothing new there sadly. The briefing (which doesn’t seem to be available online) concludes the same as I have been concluding since I began my own childbearing and rearing: equality in the workplace will never occur until there is mandatory paternity leave. If I was a father expecting my third child I wouldn’t be looking at a 50% pay cut because I’m creating more consumers/ workers/ pension scheme payees. Of course I earn on average less than men even if I continue working as a result. This is escalating into a post for another day.
I also think it’s very ironic that The Economist chose to celebrate women in the workforce not six months after they published an article about polymaths in their lifestyle magazine which included a list of 20 living fabulous, clever, wonderful polymaths. All of them are men. How about helping me compile a list of living female polymaths? Suggestions in the comments below. My big problem is that the women I can think of aren’t famous for any of their amazing talents. Hmmm.