Suzanne Fields

The terms have changed, but the war between the sexes continues because the conflict is rooted in biology. With the invention of the pill, women achieved greater control over childbirth, the timing and the number of their children. Expanded opportunities in education and work followed, enabling women to build on strengths in different stages of their lives. But the fundamental "facts of life" haven't changed at all.

Women still carry the babies, and who gives birth strikes an immutable difference in the outlooks of men and women. Men can attend childbirth classes with their wives, but it's still the wife's "labor" that delivers the baby. Working men and women say they wish they could spend more time with their children, but it's mothers who invariably make the changes to make it happen. Survey after survey suggest women want it that way.

A recession makes earning enough money for the family more difficult no matter the sex of the breadwinner. The government can provide a safety net, but not the affection of emotional support of a two-parent family. Women will soon make up the majority of workers in America -- 70 percent of job losses are in male-dominated businesses. A recession is an especially difficult time to expect employers to provide more money for maternity leave and flextime for full-time jobs, as urged by "The Shriver Report."

The saddest unintended consequence of the sexual revolution is that it gives men the procreative advantage: Women remain at the mercy of their biological clocks. This inevitably coarsens the rites of courtship. Shriver's conclusions suggest that men are less emotionally vulnerable to their wives earning more money than they do, but the report only condescends to women who choose to be mothers first.

This encourages smugness toward women who want to make the economic sacrifices to be the primary nurturer of her children. Such smugness diminishes the maternal contributions that many of us received from devoted full-time mothers, enabling us to become successful working women.


Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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