Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
"I'm not actually assuming homogenity within the groups in terms of characteristics and preferences.  Therefore I'm not willing to accept 'old wisdom' without verifying and evidencing it."

That's all I cared about all along. When there is discrimination, there is nothing more to add.

As to mother role, judges today leave the child with the mother in a large majority of cases. Even with the best resume, men often don't stand the slightest chance. Being a rational moderate, I don't draw the conclusion that courts are sexist and men discriminated against, but that mothers are acknowledged as best fit to care for the children.

As to a woman's role, it is a fact that women are in general biologically and spiritually more sensitive and in a way weaker, despite many exceptions. On the contrary, by calling all this a constraint you're forcing women to get out there and try tougher jobs (in degree of competitiveness, physical force required - like bin collectors, aggressivity, and so on).
All I say is, let there be fairness. Open the society, but don't vilify categories and don't push people where they are weaker than others and where they don't want to go. You say women go towards certain jobs mostly because of society imprinted roles? I say that they go there anyway. You're not for freedom when you impose quotas, no matter where. Competence, responsibility should be the only criteria to jobs.
You'll see more and more women in many professions as the job requirements change, but not by activist laws.

Caretaking is another built-in role for most women. If you call this an imposed role, I'm sorry, but you exaggerate by far, IMHO. But don't force them either way, just educate people they can do other things as well, and let them choose. Just don't let them break their neck, and don't lower profession standards either.

As to childbearing and parenting, I think it's a heavy responsibility, to be taken carefully and wisely, with the interest of the child first. Personally knowing many working families with child, I am more and more against provided childcare in order for both parents to work. I do believe mothers are best with children, fathers are necessary too, and it is the careers that should go on lower on the priority scale.

Also, you can try to see the business' viewpoint too. They're not there to provide childcare and benefits, but to do business. When you know someone will soon ask more and more flexible hours, and lose a good part of dedication towards work, you tend not to hire them. It is normal behaviour, I understand these companies, as I understand those mothers too.
None should be forced or feel forced into anything, but things put clearly from the beginning and agreement on parttime reached.
In Holland for instance, from what I know, part time is quite widespred and accepted and the society more egalitarian. In France, the view is that part time is a "précarisation", weakening of the worker's condition, because of much lower salaries.

Many women tend to be less assertive, this is common sense. I assure you shy guys have exactly the same problem. You have to be aggressive, dynamic, assertive, to do long hours and be on call. Men too happen to get totally fed up with it, it's what ThatBritGuy was saying.
This is a bigger problem, I do believe excessive competitiveness and run for efficiency in business should be moderated somehow.

Education - mainly at school yes. Business people should be sensibilized too. I know it may sound naive, but this actually does work, just like the Green revolution does, practically without laws. Education is one of the greatest things to the european civilizations, with freedom of thinking and parliamentarism.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 04:43:59 PM EST
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