When you factor in the actual costs of working outside the home, it might not make great economic sense for a mother of young children to work. Out of her wages, she must pay for child care, transportation, a work wardrobe and work lunches, plus the extra cost of convenience foods or eating out when she doesn't have time to prepare family meals, not to mention higher family taxes. Those expenses add up and, for some lower-income women, might outweigh the financial benefit of the extra paycheck.
Even if working outside the home is not born out of necessity or particularly remunerative, many women still would choose to do so because they find it personally rewarding. And our economy has benefited greatly by having so many more productive workers added to the labor force. Almost no one today argues that women shouldn't have the right to seek employment outside the home.
The same can't be said about attitudes toward women who choose to work at being mothers and homemakers. For the Hilary Rosens of the world, these women are fair game to be sneered at, insulted, demeaned and belittled. Their achievements raising children and being supportive wives, good housekeepers and community volunteers are dismissed.
Feminists believe that the only legitimate role models for young girls are women whose lives mirror their own. Feminists don't want to expand choices available to young women so much as they want to limit the options to feminist-approved categories, and full-time homemaker clearly isn't on the list.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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