February 23, 2016

The "time gap" between men and women — the difference in the amount of time spent on unpaid work.

I'm reading a NYT "Gender Gap" article titled "How Society Pays When Women’s Work Is Unpaid."
Men spend more time working for money. Women do the bulk of the unpaid work — cooking, cleaning and child care. This unpaid work is essential for households and societies to function. But it is also valued less than paid work, and when it is women’s responsibility, it prevents them from doing other things.
Now, why, exactly is this a problem? Everything anybody does prevents them from doing other things. What is wrong with a division of labor within the family with one adult concentrating on bringing in money (for the family to use to buy various things for its benefit) and the other adult specializing in the accomplishment of tasks for the direct benefit of the family (avoiding the cost of paying for someone else to do that work)?

The author, Claire Cain Miller, suggests that what's wrong is that people don't value the in-kind contribution made by the nonincome-earner and that women tend to be the ones in that role. Those 2 factors are related. Women may be stuck in a role because it's given low value and a role may be regarded as having less value because it is what women do. That doesn't mean the solution is to transform more single-earner families into 2-earner families and for them to pay outsiders to do more services. It's at least conceivable that a solution would be to encourage a more positive attitude toward household labor and to get beyond the presumption that it's women's work. In some families, the woman can do better going out and getting the income and the man can do better with the household tasks.

But here's the propaganda we're getting:
“This is one of those root inequalities that exist all over in society and we just don’t talk about it very much,” Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Gates Foundation, said in an interview. She said she was inspired by her own observations when traveling to other countries as well as by time-use data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “If we don’t bring it forward, we basically won’t unlock the potential of women.”
The "time-use data" shows women spending a lot more time on unpaid tasks than men. The data is presented to display a startling "time gap," but if men are putting a lot more time into paid work, the problem isn't what it's made out to be. And perhaps more importantly, time isn't necessarily the best measure of work, especially where one of the main unpaid chores is "child care." Much of the time you spend with your children is leisurely and pleasurable — immensely rewarding. If I'm reading a book while a youngster plays with toys nearby, do I get time credit for that?

In fact, one of the best things about home-based unpaid work is that you're not on a time clock, you're not translating every task into a dollar value. When the income-earning spouse contributes some unpaid housework, it might be distorted to look at the time. If much of the wife's work is child care, but the man's work is home repair, it's not an even trade off. If you were making a deal with your spouse and one person was going to look after a child for X hours and the other was going to do yard work and caulk windows and clean the garage for Y hours, a fair deal wouldn't be X = Y.
Cultural change is also important, Ms. Gates said.

She recalled being unhappy about the long commute to her oldest daughter’s preschool. Mr. Gates, then chief executive of Microsoft, said he would drive their daughter two days a week.

“Moms started going home and saying to their husbands, ‘If Bill Gates can drive his daughter, you better darn well drive our daughter or son,’ ” Ms. Gates said. “If you’re going to get behavior change, you have to role-model it publicly.”
Good thing we have Melinda Gates around to see the unfairness in the world and tell us how to fix it. By the way, Bill and Melinda, some people would value the time spent in the car with a daughter. And don't you people have a driver? I'm sure there's some woman home with her kids who could do with a paid job driving your car. Why are you two bickering over a chore you have the money to pay people to do?

Is the NYT just basically reprinting PR from Bill and Melinda Gates? Do we really want their unfiltered advice on how to understand and fix the world's problems?

ADDED: Good lord! There's another Gates PR piece in the NYT today: "Bill Gates’s Clean-Energy Moon Shot."

111 comments:

rehajm said...

There's a reason they're called thankless jobs.

Fernandinande said...

"If you’re going to get behavior change, you have to role-model it publicly."

Hey! Lookit me!

Henry said...

But it is also valued less than paid work

I think this statement can be factually supported, but it is interesting that the article treats the fact that unpaid work is valued less than paid work as justification to redistribute the work. The article perpetuates the value system it abhors.

Who is doing the misvaluing? You are, Ms. Gates.

Vince said...

Why is it always the rich and powerful who are sought after for advice on how the great unwashed masses should live their lives?
I'm sure they had a driver and probably a nanny. Without people like these the rich would have to learn their children's names. Such a waste of time that would distract them from the all important job of saving the world.

Brando said...

Another low for the Times! My urge to give any craps over what Melinda Gates has to say is pretty low. Maybe the PC crowd could come up with a word for what she's doing--"richsplaining."

And if she or her husband ever spent five minutes doing child care or household tasks, it was because they chose to--as you note, they have plenty of servants. I can guarantee Gates did not miss any important meetings to mow the lawn.

If a particular woman is capable of earning more than her husband and yet they decide she will stay home and clean while he's out shoveling coal, then that's their own economically disastrous decision. To suggest that we need to change what two adults voluntarily choose for themselves as a unit is nanny-statism at its worst.

Feel like your unpaid work isn't valued? Then take it up with the person for whom you're doing it.

tim in vermont said...

If you start paying women for their services, (can I get a discount on sex if I am a regular customer with a long term contract?) then the government can tax that money! Its a win win!

Brando said...

And if the work is so low value, then pay some outsider to do it--there are plenty of college grads who can't find jobs and would happily clean houses for money. If you find that you can't afford to pay someone, then maybe you'll value the work more.

DKWalser said...

When our families were younger, my sister and I had the same number of children who were about the same ages. My wife stayed home and cared for our kids and my sister did the same for hers. Question: Would society have been better off in any meaningful way if my wife was paid by my sister's family to care for her kids while we paid my sister to care for hers? No! But, it would have appeared that the economy were larger (because there would be two more incomes) and each family would have been eligible for more government benefits (child care credit, the ability to deduct a portion of the cost of our rent as a business expense, etc.). By all these measures, it would appear that society was more productive and that government was doing more. However, the same number of kids would have been cared for.

tim in vermont said...

The funny thing is that I don't think it is conservatives who don't value the contributions of a housewife. But the left insists on putting this in terms to force conservatives to take a position that makes it seem so.

bgates said...

Could there be a worse advocate for the idea that men and women need to spend equal time on both paid and unpaid labor than the wife of the richest man in the world?

carrie said...

That's why every state should be a community property state. When Wisconsin became a community property state in 1986, we expected other states to follow Wisconsin, but that did not happen.

Char Char Binks said...

Outsourcing the majority of childcare is one of the greatest ills of the family and society of the past 60 years. At least one parent should stay home, and be available when school is out, when the children are sick, when errands need to be run, or whenever they are needed, whether it's the mommy, the daddy, or the other mommy or other daddy.

Portlandmermaid said...

It's the same dreary reasoning--going to a paid job makes you happy, staying at home doing unpaid work is drudgery.

I doubt one of those women went home and told their husbands if Bill Gates could drive his daughter, they could too.

Mike said...

So even when you "have it all" you can't "have it all"? Did I read that correctly? This is considered news?

What about people who have a spouse who becomes progressively disabled over time, and all the "unpaid work" accumulates to the breadwinner/driver half of the marriage? What about all the limousine liberals who have one breadwinner and a partner who only is responsible for scheduling the nanny, driver and house-cleaner? What about single parents who have all the maintenance and cooking and cleaning to contend with and must still be their own breadwinner? What does Melissa have to say about them?

traditionalguy said...

Six seasons of Downton Abbey has been an eye opener to see how many servants are needed to run a House.

But I have had to deal with seeing myself less as Lord Jim and more as a combination of a Butler, a scullery maid, a launderer, a footman and a chauffeur.

MadisonMan said...

People are always telling others that the work those others are doing is undervalued!!

Isn't the true value actually determined by the person doing the work?

If someone is truly unhappy about not being paid to do some drudge work, the solution is pretty simple: Stop doing the drudge work. Yet that never seems to happen. It's like the work is valued by the person doing it after all.

Sebastian said...

"Is the NYT just basically reprinting PR from Bill and Melinda Gates? Do we really want their unfiltered advice on how to understand and fix the world's problems?" I do appreciate these hints of resistance, I do, but this Inches dangerously close to how-could-they faux surprise again.

This is just the New Narrative after the women are overburdened with a more time-consuming Second Shift didn't fit the facts. I propose a deal: we'll give women whatever they want for the amazing housework they do, provided that 1. no woman will ever whine again in any way about said housework, and 2. women collectively will first compensate men collectively for the massive improvement in women's quality of life in the home made possible by men's inventions over the past century.

rhhardin said...

If your work is also a hobby, you spend more time working unpaid than paid.

The problem is actually interest, and the interests of women and men are extremely different.

The women doing my same job worked only the required hours. They never show up on holidays or weekends with the other guys.

Steve said...

As a man, if you want to rouse a woman's ire tell them that you are babysitting your own kids. You will get a lecture on how you don't baby sit your kids and how it is a joy and a pleasure to have quality time with your offspring. I guess that logic isn't germane if your using time with your kids to grind a political ax.

samanthasmom said...

If one spouse stays at home, cooks, cleans, and takes care of the kids, there is no benefit to the government. The labor is performed for "free", and there's no income to tax. Send the spouse out to work and the family pays more in taxes, they probably have to pay for some services that used to be provided by the stay-at-home spouse, which turns into income for someone else that can be taxed. It's really a no-brainer why there's a push to get both spouses in the paid workforce. If the government could find a way to tax the labor provided by the stay-at-home spouse, they would suddenly start encouraging more spouses to stay at home. Or at least be more neutral.

Henry said...

And what about unpaid volunteer work?

Brando said...

"If someone is truly unhappy about not being paid to do some drudge work, the solution is pretty simple: Stop doing the drudge work. Yet that never seems to happen. It's like the work is valued by the person doing it after all."

That puts my point better than I did. Obviously, the work is valued by the person doing it and the people benefitted by it, otherwise they'd have the unpaid worker go out and find paid work and hire an outsider to do the unpaid work.

Perhaps the fauxminist Left is still hungover from their 1970s notion that housework is BS and so they assume everyone else thinks this. Clearly, a household willing to do their own housework rather than hire outside does not think this.

Bob Ellison said...

What if one of the blessed couple values clean floors and an empty laundry basket more highly than the other? What if the breadwinner would just as soon eat out for every meal, and the stay-at-home wants to eat at home? These differences lead to different assessments of the value of the work(s).

Do they split the differences, or does it have to go one way or the other?

Henry said...

What about musicians and artists?

Brando said...

" If the government could find a way to tax the labor provided by the stay-at-home spouse, they would suddenly start encouraging more spouses to stay at home."

Don't give them ideas! I'm sure there are IRS practitioners trying to find a way to consider unpaid housework an "in kind" benefit to be given some value and taxed.

Rick said...

The author, Claire Cain Miller, suggests that what's wrong is that people don't value the in-kind contribution made by the nonincome-earner and that women tend to be the ones in that role.

Why do "researchers" refuse to make the illuminating comparison when making this assertion? If the key element is "unpaid" then we should see a lower level of respect offered mothers performing childcare and housework compared to people paid for the same work. Does anyone believe mothers are less respected than maids or nannies? If an entire field avoids the obvious analysis which disproves their claims what should we conclude about the field, structured incompetence or politicized agenda?

Birches said...

I haven't been paid for work for almost 10 years now. Do I feel oppressed? No. Our family figured out long ago that there were more important things than earning money to feel worthwhile.

Once again, it gets to a comment I often leave on these "SAHM's oppressed" threads. Why has society brainwashed most of us to believe our self worth comes from a paycheck? My spouse works. He is well compensated; but he doesn't find his identity in the hours of 8-5. It's when he comes home and the kids run over and give him a big hug and tell him how happy they are that he's home now.

Witness said...

"But it is also valued less than paid work"

Not in my house it isn't.

Larry J said...

samanthasmom said...
If one spouse stays at home, cooks, cleans, and takes care of the kids, there is no benefit to the government. The labor is performed for "free", and there's no income to tax. Send the spouse out to work and the family pays more in taxes, they probably have to pay for some services that used to be provided by the stay-at-home spouse, which turns into income for someone else that can be taxed. It's really a no-brainer why there's a push to get both spouses in the paid workforce. If the government could find a way to tax the labor provided by the stay-at-home spouse, they would suddenly start encouraging more spouses to stay at home. Or at least be more neutral.


This sounds like imputed income.

Example: Durable property

Home ownership is an example of an instance involving imputed income from durable property. If someone lives in his own property, he forgoes the rental income on this property in exchange for not owing an equivalent amount of rent to someone else. He also avoids paying income taxes on that rental income. (In the specific example of home ownership in the United States, this effect is emphasized by allowing home owners to deduct interest on home mortgage debts when computing taxable income for U.S. federal income tax purposes.)

Example: Personal services

An example of imputed income in connection with personal services is the situation where a stay at home mother or father is not taxed on wages that the family implicitly "pays" her or him for their services. If she or he were working for compensation, the wages she or he might pay a hired employee would be taxed. This is a systemic unneutrality that is inevitable in any income tax; the tax favors "leisure" (including self-rendered benefits such as shaving and mowing one's own lawn) over "work" (services sold on the market for remuneration). The concept of imputing income is logically extensible to any service people perform for themselves, such as cooking their own meals, washing their own laundry, or even bathing themselves.


There are some who claim that if you own your house, you're not having to pay rent. That saved rent is imputed income and should be taxed. Since you're taking care of your own kids, your imputed income would be the child care you aren't paying. People who say such things should be beaten with large sticks and then introduced to tar and feathers. There are few problems in Washington DC that couldn't be solved by the proper utilization of lamp posts and rope.

Brando said...

"But it is also valued less than paid work"

On what are they basing this assumption? How do they know the work is "valued less"--did they ask everyone in that household what they think of the unpaid family member's efforts? Did the husband (or wife) of that person say "ah, their work is crap, I don't value it"? Because the only evidence that such work isn't valued would be if the family member stopped doing the work and worked outside the home for money instead. So clearly, just by choosing to do the work in the home (or having your spouse do it when they could instead be bringing money in and hiring outside help) you are showing that you value it more than the alternative.

Where are they getting this?

elkh1 said...

How old and last century that women cook and men work!

My daughter has just married. She and her husband work for a living, they take turn cooking and doing housework. My nephew works (gets paid) and cooks (his wife never pays him), his wife works (for money) and interior decorates the apt. (that is not paid, but greatly appreciated). They are as happy as clams and will be raising a little clam soon.

It's the people who put monetary values on everything that cheapen house works.

Fernandinande said...

I like getting paid for eating and taking a nap. Life is so unfair!

AlbertAnonymous said...

"People don't value" the work and women are doing it?

What people? The man and wife who jointly make the decision? I bet they do value it. No, it's the author who doesn't value it. Fine she can make a different choice.

And maybe mom WANTS to stay home. Good lord!

The Godfather said...

Or, we could follow the European approach: Both spouses get jobs, and they don't have kids. When the society notices that the lack of young people entering the job market is making it difficult to fill open job slots, they just import workers from Turkey and the Middle East and North Africa. Everybody happy now?

rhhardin said...

There's a branch of eoonomics called the theory of the firm.

If the market is so great at allocating stuff, how come firms form? Just subcontract out everything.

The reason is transaction costs then eat up profit, that is, both sides no longer come out ahead after the costs of creating contracts and so forth.

So you do away with transactions and make it all in-house, for the stuff that that makes sense for.

Big Mike said...

Bill Gates always did overestimate his brain power. He's fabulously wealthy today because ...

(1) Bill Kildall didn't bother to be at home when IBM came to his house license CP/M for the proposed IBM minicomputer, and his wife freaked when confronted with IBM's legal paperwork.

(2) Unable to reach a deal on CP/M, IBM asked Gates whether Microsoft had a minicomputer operating system they could license.

(3) Gates didn't, but he knew where he could buy the rights to Disk Operating System for a pittance and rebrand it as MS/DOS. The one place where Gates was clever was that he refused to sell the rights to MS/DOS, allowing him to sell it to IBM minicomputer competitors later.

(4) Later on Gates screwed over IBM developing OS/2.

(5) Gates had Paul Allen for a partner.

Anyway, Althouse wrote:

"That doesn't mean the solution is to transform more single-earner families into 2-earner families and for them to pay outsiders to do more services."

Overlooked is the two-wife solution -- have a wife and husband who earn income while a second wife stays home to keep house. (N.B., this is not being proposed for the Big Mike household, since Big Mike paid for his wife to receive NRA training and he takes his wife out to the range with some regularity.) Nor has it escaped my notice that the stay at home spouse could be a second male. (Also not proposed for the Big Mike household.)

I'm glad that Althouse recognizes that the male member of the marriage partnership does unpaid work as well. Thank you for that.

But what bothers me about Claire Miller's argument, as condensed by Althouse, is that it doesn't consider the situation when the stay at home spouse, given that the additional income would push the couple into a higher tax bracket, can't earn enough to compensate for paying for maid services and quality day care. Does Miller think the couple should agree to lose money? Perhaps if the stay at home loved his or her job, the psychic rewards are worth it, but what if the stay at home doesn't much enjoy the jobs available given the stay at home's education and the job market in the area where the couple lives?

robother said...

"Value" is a term that is completely bound up with markets, trade and money. It got adapted in the early 20th Century to sociological use, but never really broke free of its market economic connotations.

Uncompensated time is ipso facto unvalued since it cannot be measured by economic metrics. Uncompensated labor is just slavery, in the Marxist view. Second wave feminists fell into this trap, proclaiming that women could only be liberated by entering the paid work-force.

Ironically, the discontents with the modern world that Marxism and feminism arise out of may have more to do with the collapse of the spiritual horizon implicit in the view that economic "value" is the only measure of a man or woman.

Rusty said...

And women also spend a disproportional amount of time bitching and moaning about all the unpaid shit they have to do that it's just easier and more efficient for guys to do it themselves.

The Godfather said...

@traditionalguy (9:04 am) -- Yes, Downton Abbey in the TV series required a huge staff, but in reality an actual great house in the pre-World War era would have required more, much more, staff. See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1320949/Downstairs-Downton-Abbey-How-real-servants-worked-14-hour-days-maids-confined-virgin-quarters.html

David said...

When Bill Gates was late to work because he drove his daughter to school, was his pay docked right then, or did they wait until his performance review to deny him the merit-based portion of his annual raise?

Curious George said...

Melinda Gates' mother was a homemaker. As was mine. As was my kids'. They didn't make their husbands lives better. They made it harder in many cases. But they made their kids lives better.

Richard Dolan said...

"Is the NYT just basically reprinting PR from Bill and Melinda Gates?"

Terrific take-down. Yes, of course, it's PR but also it's the NYT-certified family structure that all modern and progressive people should emulate. One size does fit all, or it should if you know what's good for you. That kind of virtue-framing is what they do at the NYT.

jr565 said...

"Men spend more time working for money. Women do the bulk of the unpaid work — cooking, cleaning and child care. This unpaid work is essential for households and societies to function. But it is also valued less than paid work, and when it is women’s responsibility, it prevents them from doing other things."

It's not valued less, just because its not paid as much. But really, its work done FOR YOU. Why would you pay yourself to do work that you need to get done. When I do my laundry or wash dishes I don't consider the pay I'm supposed to earn for doing those chores. I do them because I need to clean my clothes and do the dishes. If you are taking care of your own housework, then who is supposed to pay you for the work? Your spouse? If you CHOOSE to be a stay at home parent of home maker, that is your CHOICE. of course it will impact your pay statistically. YOu are out of the workforce. The people in it are earning raises. But no one forces people to stay at home (unless we are talking about extremely abusive husbands).

Dan Hossley said...

The fundamental flaw with the argument is the assumption that wages are a good measure of worth.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The concept of opportunity cost is unfair--it's hurtful and even traumatic.

The concept of comparative advantage is sexist and needs to be abolished.

I am confident that Hillary Clinton and/or Bernie Sanders will make the necessary changes to fundamentally transform or society. Forward!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Bill Burr: The Most Difficult Job in the World

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Feminism is all about choices unless the choices made are ones feminists don't like, at which point feminism is all about reordering the world so that outcomes match what feminists think outcomes should be (individual choices be damned).

"Unpaid work should pay as much as paid work, since it's as valuable." Uh, who says? "Teachers should make as much as electrical engineers." Uh, says who?

"Things ought to be the way I want them to be! (*foot stamp*)" That position is given almost no weight when coming from anyone other than the Left (and Left feminists in particular). Weird, huh?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

traditionalguy said...
Six seasons of Downton Abbey has been an eye opener to see how many servants are needed to run a House.


Are needed? Nah brah, WERE needed. Thank the capitalist system that spurred innovation and helped create all the modern appliances that allow one to run a household without all those pesky (but entertaining!) servants.

Hagar said...

Bill Gates is fabulously wealthy today because he saw the chance and grabbed it when it came his way, and he did a great job of developing and running his company.
His career has a lot in common with John D. Rockefeller; both played rough with their competitors, but provided a better product for a lesser price to their customers.
And their fabulous wealth consists of the value of the stock they held/hold in the companies they created, not a basement full of gold and jewels extracted from the sweat of the working poor or other such BS propagated by the brainless dipsticks of the left.

In other news, the Albuquerque Morning Democrat headline article today is about the proposal tp have women register for the draft, and the number one comment is from a young lady who doubts the military's ability to "provide a safe environment."

Men and women tend to have different priorities, don't they?

BDNYC said...

The great thing about house work is that it's a realm of economic activity that's shielded from the government. No need to pay taxes on it, file a 1099 or W-2, pay unemployment insurance, FICA, etc. You just do what is in the best interest of the family and leave it at that. It is liberating.

Some people want to put all economic activity in the public sphere so they can regulate it and raise revenue from it. And this applies equally to house work associated with both genders. These people want both parents to work at an office and to hire maids, nannies, handymen, gardeners, plumbers, etc.

It's all about control. Sure, "equality" is some kind of ideal that you're supposed to be striving for. By pursuing a professional career, you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and that will somehow help out other women who need to have their professional potential unlocked. Stop wondering about what you really want to do, ladies.

jr565 said...

"She recalled being unhappy about the long commute to her oldest daughter’s preschool. Mr. Gates, then chief executive of Microsoft, said he would drive their daughter two days a week.

“Moms started going home and saying to their husbands, ‘If Bill Gates can drive his daughter, you better darn well drive our daughter or son,’ ” Ms. Gates said. “If you’re going to get behavior change, you have to role-model it publicly.”

This doesn't even make sense. If it takes a long time to drive your daughter to school then you have to weigh how practical it is for the one person to drive the daughter to school and then drive to work. For example, if melinda gates is staying at home, then while it may be an imposition to drive her daughter to school she then just has to drive back home. It will be an even bigger imposition on Bill, if he has to drive his daugther to school and then drive even further to get to Microsoft. Unless Microsoft is very close to the school it would almost always make sense to have Melinda drive her there. Because by 'sharing' responsibilities you are actually making Bill do extra driving. If they are both working at Microsoft then I could see splitting up the driving more equitably. Though even here, there is a disaparity in jobs. Gates is the CEO of the company. Kind of important. SHe's the secretary (or was when they got married). The CEO is more important than the secretary.
Other choices to solve this dilemna - Find a closer school. Get your kid to take the bus.

pdug said...

In religious conservative circles, people like to talk about the "Proverbs 31 woman" who takes care of large amounts of business (including buying and selling fields, etc) allowing her husband to do important legal work in the "gates" and get praised for it. She is "more precious than rubies"

She's kind of a metaphor for divine wisdom itself in the book, but its fairly applied to women and often used to encourage thankfulness ans gratitude for unpaid work women do in a christian conservative household. It also gets oversold, and sometimes makes women feel even more put upon for not engaging in real estate dealings as well as changing diapers.

pdug said...

@Larry J I'm waiting for some wag at the IRS to start taxing the money you get from an Amazon or other rewards credit card.

themightypuck said...

The thing about "woman's work" is that pretty much anyone (or in some cases any woman) can do it. Hence, low prices.

Larry J said...

pdug said...
@Larry J I'm waiting for some wag at the IRS to start taxing the money you get from an Amazon or other rewards credit card.


All it would take is for the IRS to write a regulation requiring the companies to issue a Form 1099 (or equivalent) for the value of the awards. Those rebates aren't currently taxable but that can change very easily.

As to the value of stay at home moms (SAHMs) and their labor, it's always an economic decision. I remember seeing a news story several years ago about how in some cases it's in the family's best interest to forgo the extra paycheck. The story, IIRC based on research by Elizabeth Warren, stated that when you factored in the higher costs associated with the additional job, some families are better off with the lower income earner staying home. They factored in the costs of child care (very expensive), additional income taxes, buying more prepared foods, extra commuting expenses, work wardrobe, etc. The story did an analysis for one young family and found that it was actually costing them about $3000 a year for the mother to work outside the home. She was not amused. YMMV.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It was unfair to exclude women from the workforce, since most women wanted to work. We corrected that, and women can take almost any job a man can, now.

Women tend to stay in the workforce full time for shorter stretches than do men (since they often take leaves of absence to have kids, that kind of thing). Since taking time off is detrimental to salary growth many women lag behind men in terms of salary (even for similar job titles). This is called unfair, and we're supposed to do something about it.

We generally view outcomes based on voluntary choice as fair. Women choose to take time out of work to have kids, and that choice means they may make less than a man who doesn't take time out. If that's unfair, how should it be corrected? Should we pay all women more, just in case they decide to take time away from work? Should we tax everyone and pay money to women who do take time off (to help compensate for their lower overall earnings)?

Women's choices are important and correct, and it's the job of the rest of us to pay for those choices, no matter what they are. That's called equality, and you'd damn well better get used to it. If a woman feels like her unpaid work for the family isn't valued highly enough it's up to us as a society restructure ourselves so that she doesn't feel that way--we can either pay her out of our pockets, or reorganize the workforce, or something.

Women shouldn't have to pay a cost for their choices. Any costs associated with choices women make must be paid for by men (well, by society at large, but ultimately by men). Sure, that seems a little unequal, but that's only if you fail to understand what equality actually means.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

The "time-use data" may shows women spending a lot more time on unpaid tasks than men, but, much of the unpaid work men do is more physically demanding (and sometimes more dangerous, or otherwise has larger penalties if something goes wrong) and therefore is of higher intensity.


Terry said...

I spent four hours on a ladder cleaning the muck out of the gutters on my two-story home. It was dirty, dangerous work. I literally could not hire an insured person to do it. The people who are covered for this kind of work are roofers, and they would rather do roofs.
So since society owes me for this labor, who do I bill? I want $60/hr. That is cheap.

n.n said...

The effort to defeat individual dignity, intrinsic value, and human relationships continues to pay dividends. It was fruitful during the destruction phase and now during the remolding phase. It doesn't bode well for a viable outcome, but they can always import unmolested alien populations to replace defective products, and start the experiment anew.

Taxable commodity, monolithic identity, Democrat leverage, abortion industry donor, Planned Parenthood supplier, and womb banks for the dysfunctional. You've come alone way, baby.

Scott M said...

Women do the bulk of the unpaid work — cooking, cleaning and child care.

Horseshit. That might have been true for boomers, maybe even for the oldest Gen-X'rs, but I doubt very seriously it's the case for everyone younger.

Real American said...

feminists sure do have a low opinion of women.

damikesc said...

I wonder if Carlos Slim is losing money and they are blowing Gates to get a new sugar daddy...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Related: NYTimes - Why Do we Teach Girls That It's Cute To be Scared

The Professor is happy to remind us that women are more valuable than men (from a survival-of-the-species standpoint) but here's someone given a prominent position in the Times to argue that it's wrong to teach girls to be more careful...because doing so is sexist.

So let's see...when it comes to whether women should have to shoulder the same responsibilities as men we say no, since women are more valuable. But treating women as more valuable (and thus teaching them to be more careful, etc) is sexist because it limits the choices women might make. Those two together seem to imply that we have to treat women as more valuable but also pay the extra cost of any risk they take on due to their own choices--to underwrite their greater expected value (in risk terms) in a way that doesn't in any way restrict their choices.

I guess the short hand for that is to say that women are more valuable than men and men have to pay the costs for any choices women may make...and that's equality.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Feminist complaints about "housework" generally gloss over the tough stuff, the "men's work", as if its a given that it's exclusively a male role. But in my experience, a lot of men carry those burdens as well as pulling their weight doing supposedly "female" tasks.

I call bullshit.

All my life I've done "men's" household chores: I mow and tend the lawn, shrubs and garden; take out the trash, make minor (and sometimes major) repairs; deal with contractors when big projects arise; clean windows, paint/wallpaper walls and ceilings; strip, sand and paint the porches; clamber through the attic crawlspace putting in insulation, pulling FIOS cable through same; set up the Ooma; act as SYSOP for the computers, peripherals and their network; power wash the patio bricks; and on and on.

When we could afford it, we hired housekeepers, but mostly we (wife and I) did the everyday housework ourselves.

And did I mention that I'm a helluvagood cook? That I do the grocery shopping and the washing, drying and ironing? That I sweep, vacuum and wash the floors? That I have a good eye for art, color and design? That I also handle the health insurance, financial and tax stuff; act as sysop for the house computers and network; keep track of auto maintenance; and more.

Meanwhile I've had a rich and varied life, filled with both adventure in my youth and then, solid "line" management responsibilities in the international side of the computer business.. I've remained married to the same woman and raised two great kids. Aside from giving birth and nursing, I did everything my wife did to care for them along the way. And, yes, I was an Infant Byproducts Manager when that needed doing.

In my lily white suburb most husbands are much the same, doing the male things that whiny feministas seem to ignore and pitching in with everything else. I've seen exactly ONE woman up on a ladder--and she is the rare exception. As for getting behind a lawnmower and humping the firewood? Hah!

So my eyes glaze over when I hear more bleating about "unpaid", "devalued", "women's work".

BDNYC said...

In the professional world, there is RAMPANT discrimination against men (at least at the entry level). Large firms like to have a certain percentage of female employees and will indulge their many ridiculous demands to keep them satisfied. This is because the large firms are aware of the gender discrimination lawsuits and want to have certain statistics on their side. So male professionals often have to grin and bear it as their female peers get desirable assignments, get appointed to diversity commitees, get to take paid time off for mental health breaks, then take more paid time off when they bear children, then demand a flextime schedule so they "can have it all" and then complain years later when they do not get the big promotion. Because gender wage gap.

buck said...

The author's bio is worth reading. If one were to compile an amalgam of education, roles, interests, and geographical locations that would comprise the Frankenstein leftie, Ms. Cain would be the result:

Claire Cain Miller is a writer for The Upshot, the Times site about politics, economics and everyday life. She covers gender, work and family as well as technology and the way it changes our lives. Based in the San Francisco bureau, she previously wrote for the business section, covering Google, e-commerce and start-ups, among other Silicon Valley stories. Her articles have also appeared in The Times’s Science, Styles and National sections and in The New York Times Magazine. Ms. Miller is a graduate of Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is from Portland, Ore. and lives with her family in San Francisco. She can be found on Twitter at @clairecm.

Your Husband said...

The idea that work around the house, particularly by women, is undervalued and unappreciated seems so very much a feminist construct. I attend a very conservative church and I cannot begin to tell you how often women are praised and appreciated for the unpaid work they do with their own children, others children, around the house, etc. It's a common joke that church messages directed toward the men are always 'shape-up, be better' and messages toward the women are 'you are so wonderful and perfect'. In my conservative circles, the unpaid work women do is greatly appreciated.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

This unpaid work is essential for households and societies to function. But it is also valued less than paid work

I dispute that point right there. Valued less by whom? The speaker? Why evidence do they provide for this assertion? Is this true across all groups that make up society?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The story did an analysis for one young family and found that it was actually costing them about $3000 a year for the mother to work outside the home

In my experience couples make this sort of economic analysis all the time. Its usually low-skilled people who lose money by having both people in the marriage work while having children. But good daycare is very expensive, so even for couples where both partners are professionals the economic benefits of both working are often marginal.

jr565 said...

themightypuck wrote:
The thing about "woman's work" is that pretty much anyone (or in some cases any woman) can do it. Hence, low prices.
Not only CAN they do it. They DO do it.
Its a requirement of life. if you want your house to not be a complete pig sty, you pick up the garbage. Think of all the times in our lives when we were single and had to do housework. It was ALL the time.

jr565 said...

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:
This unpaid work is essential for households and societies to function. But it is also valued less than paid work

I dispute that point right there. Valued less by whom? The speaker? Why evidence do they provide for this assertion? Is this true across all groups that make up society?

they are saying its under appreciated because its unpaid work. But of course it is. There is no employer if its you. So, its comparing apples to tennis balls.
And a wife is paid. She shares the salary of her husband. If we suddenly said housework had to be paid by the person who earns a living he'd be paying money to his wife. And they already share property and a marriage. It's like paying yourself every time you do the dishes. which would be literally taking money out of one pocket and putting it into another pocket.

tim maguire said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...
The story did an analysis for one young family and found that it was actually costing them about $3000 a year for the mother to work outside the home

In my experience couples make this sort of economic analysis all the time. Its usually low-skilled people who lose money by having both people in the marriage work while having children. But good daycare is very expensive, so even for couples where both partners are professionals the economic benefits of both working are often marginal.


I was unemployed for a while after the last crash. My daughter had not yet started school. We saved so much money by me staying home that it made a lot of sense for me to keep staying home. The break-even point was about $20.00/hr. And that's without figuring in the fact that our lives were easier with a stay at home.

When I went back to work, there was a year left before she started kindergarten. In that year, we spent almost $30,000 in before tax income on childcare. And this wasn't gold-plated care, this was normal in my community. That's how much it cost.

Mike Yancey said...

I dunno, on Sunday I fixed the washing machine (pump not draining) and no one paid me.
A few weeks ago, I replaced the middle bathroom toilet. Not a cent for that one either.
Also, on Sunday, I made dinner ('cause my wife was sick with allergies) and took the kids to band contest on Saturday. Nope - didn't get paid.

A few years ago (many - it's been over 35 now...) old Phil Graham used to teach economics at Texas A&M, and he was excoriated for saying that a (stay at home) housewife's economic contribution to the family was about $15,000 (which, was a PRETTY GOOD annual salary in 1979 or so, when this was said).

It's 'unpaid' - but it dosn't mean it's not worth something. These people are saying no 'cash money' came in. Doesn't mean value wasn't created and invested.

Mike Yancey
Dallas, Texas

Howard said...

For the most part, Women won't work in death jobs or shit jobs or physical jobs. That's the tradeoff.

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

Disturbingly the Gates' annual letter reads a bit like the underwear gnomes profit plan. Wouldn't matter if it was just their money they were talking about spending.

Biff said...

The Labor Theory of Value lives on, despite all the evidence against its utility (never mind its morality) in a modern society.

Gabriel said...

Imputed income. This is what this is all about.

When you own a house, the mortgage payment is imputed rental income to yourself. You don't have to rent from someone else, either, so the rent you pay yourself cancels out the rent you pay yourself.

When you cut your own grass, that money you could have spent on someone else to do it is also imputed income.

Once we calculate what it's all worth the government can start taxing and redistributing based on it. Feminists of our day would all be in favor.

tim in vermont said...

Love that LTV link, because it lead me to this heading:

"Economics in organized mass social anarchism"

They keep using that word "anarchy," but I don't think they really know what it means.

chuck said...

The problem disappears if couples are regarded as teams consisting of specialists. The idea that both team members should earn "real" salaries fails to recognize the advantage of playing to the diverse skills of the team members. If the woman controls the income, which is often the case, the husband might even be seen as her employee, stuck with the sorry chore of making money.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Big Mike - as to Microsoft

- It was Gary Kildall, not Bill Kildall.
- The deal that IBM offered Digital Research was for a fixed price for unlimited seats of their CP/M operating system. Turns out, the amount that they were offering (I think that it was less than $1 million a year), in total, was less than the revenues that DR was already making on CP/M. Somehow, Microsoft, with the QDOS it bought and relabeled as DOS, was able to ultimately get a per seat license from IBM, and that was what made MSFT.
- IBM was negotiating with DR up through the day before the launch of the IBM PC. Up until then, DR thought that they had the contract.
- QDOS (and, thus, MS DOS and PC DOS) was a clone of DR's CP/M 86. At the time, it was unpatentable and not protected by copyright. Several years later, the copyright law had swung to protecting the operation of code ("look and feel"), and DOS most likely infringed the CP/M copyright (except that it wasn't clear that there was a copyright, since some of it was probably developed before the 76 C/R Act (which required both notice and registration). But, by that time, DR had done a deal with IBM that held the latter harmless, in trade for putting CP/M, et seq. in the IBM catalog (and, somehow that also apparently covered MSFT). Unfortunately, they priced it at roughly $250 or so, which was 5-10 times the cost of DOS, and it never sold. So, by the time that CP/M may have usably become protected by copyright, IBM and MSFT were contractually exempt from any C/R claims by DR. This is, BTW, why MSFT could never shut down DR-DOS as a clone of MS-DOS, because it was the other way around, with MS-DOS being a clone of the predecessor of DR-DOS. (And, I expect that the hold harmless ran both ways).

I should note that much of the above came from Kildall's unpublished autobiography, which I was privileged to read nearly 20 years ago. By the time that histories were being written, the victors (e.g. Bill Gates) were writing the history, and almost no one ever heard Kildall's side of the story, except for some of it, not well organized, by his first wife. (I somewhat knew his second wife, who seemed even more clueless about what happened than his first one did).

Anthony said...

My wife is a stay at home mom. We agreed on this because as an attorney I earn a really good salary.

She does sell a few of her photographs, but that is only about $200 or so a month.

Now that the kids are in 5th and 6th grade, I sent her a job listing figuring she would want to work. She was very very annoyed with me.

Ignorance is Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

If we're talking unpaid work around the house, where do I get credit for the unpaid sex work I do? We're talking a lot of hours here. Granted, I'm doing it for my own benefit, but that's not the point. The point is somebody had got to do it: it's not going to do itself.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

they are saying its under appreciated because its unpaid work. But of course it is. There is no employer if its you. So, its comparing apples to tennis balls

Yeah, I get that. The real message is that middle and upper class women should work outside the home, and that is made possible by having poor and working class women look after their children and take care of their homes. So poor and working class women should work also. And the poor and working class womens's children can be looked after by their grandparents or it that isn't feasible, really crappy daycare. Because, middle and upper class women want to have fabulous lives and never, ever, ever feel bad about giving their children to others to raise.

I'm reminded of an episode of House that featured a "Day in the Life of Cuddy."

Cuddy is the really hot and single hospital administrator who dresses totally inappropriately for the professional setting where she works. It shows her working a 14-16 hour day doing totally awesome hospital administrator things and being empowered and go grrrl.

She then goes home and spends like 15-30 minutes reading to the adopted child that she spent untold amounts of money and energy to acquire, because she couldn't have a baby and she had to have a child to raise.

Except, she doesn't actually raise him. She spends plenty of money and provides the kid with all the consumer goods that the currently rich Western civilization can provide, but the person who is actually raising the kid is the Hispanic maid/nanny she retrieves him from when she gets home. You know, the person who actually spends time with him and feeds him.

Current American attitudes towards child rearing and women working outside the home are not "progressive" in any sense of the word. They most resemble that of the nouveau rich aping the aristocracy in the late 19th century, which was only feasible when there was a large supply of poor women who would work for low wages.

Wait, did somebody say illegal immigration?

David said...

"If I'm reading a book while a youngster plays with toys nearby, do I get time credit for that?"

You bet. And double credit if a friend has come over to visit, triple if you have a cocktail. But we take away credit if you are drinking with just the child as your companion.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

House sexually harassing Cuddy.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_agKS_9536jg/TSolI5VF_KI/AAAAAAAAAOw/AZfky_1duyE/s1600/cuddy%2Bhouse.jpg

David said...

What's pay? My first wife declined to work for cash when I requested that she consider it. She lived a good life based on my earnings for a quarter of a century until we divorced, and a good one after the divorce based on the same. Was she paid? If so it was tax free, at least until the alimony. There was a definite financial benefit to her, which it seems is now ungentle to call pay.

Much of what she did was valuable to my family, so I'm not quibbling about that. Even after the full time nanny-housekeeper arrived. At some point I thought the kids were old enough that the nanny was no longer needed. My wife did not agree and I did not refuse to continue to pay the nanny.

The marriage counselors made out pretty well too.

I too did a lot of unpaid work, mostly coaching, teaching and community stuff. Does that count?

I know my situation was mostly lucky and hardly typical and that every situation is different. People make choices. I made mine and she made hers. I can live with mine.

So did Mrs. Gates. Is she underpaid?

JaimeRoberto said...

One of my favorite times of the day is when I pick up my daughter from sports. I catch the tail end of practice and get to see her doing something she absolutely loves. Then we get some father-daughter time during the car ride home where we chat about the day and joke around. Now I realize it's just unpaid work.

JaimeRoberto said...

Someone needs to remind the author that a penny saved is a penny earned.

CStanley said...

I imagine that the reason the author feels that housework and child rearing are not valued is because men aren't choosing to do these things (as a generality, with exceptions of course.) Men might appreciate when women do these things but if they believed that the value was equal or better than the value of paid work, thEN MORE OF THEM WOULD CHOOSE TO STAY HOME.

And I think that's a valid conclusion, but I also think it ignores that there are temperamental differences between men and women. Women could have acknowledged this and raised the societal level of respect for homemaking as a vocation, but instead they chose to pretend they are just like men and then complain when men don't act just like women.

Full disclosure, of those who don't already know me- I am a conservative, non- feminist woman with a post grad degree who currently works about 5% outside the home, other 95% SAHM.

CStanley said...

Hah, I didn't intentionally type caps there, I'm not sure what happened....but it kind of works to emphasize my point I guess.

Gabriel said...

@JaimeRoberto:Someone needs to remind the author that a penny saved is a penny earned.

In Melinda Gates' tax bracket, a penny saved is 1.7 pennies earned.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

In any event, I do all of the cooking at our home. (Wife fed me homemade dinner on our 1st date, I have done all the cooking since.)

Why isn't my wife paying me!? She has frequently said that the food I provide is superior to anything we could get in a restaurant. Should I be charging a rate comparable to what a Chef's salary is or by the meal? Ala carte?

And why aren't I paying her for all the laundry she does? And what about the times she has to leave before it is completely dry and I have to take it out and hang it up so it doesn't wrinkle? Should I be paying her for the laundry, but get a discount if I hang it up?

Sometimes she will clean one toilet while I take the other. Should we exchange money after doing so?

And what about capital depreciation? We have a iRobot and a vacuum cleaner. Those things aren't going to last forever. Can I deduct the depreciation? Should my wife and I be paying the employers share of FICA for each other?

Man, this equality stuff is hard.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I looked up Melinda Gates on the Intertoobes. According to the Wikipedia she is 51 years old, about one year younger than me.

However, unlike Melinda, it would appear that I actually know some real peoples who do not act as if life in the 21st century is just like a 1950s sitcom.

Those couples, some of whom have young children and careers and volunteer for charity and coach kids sports teams and go to kids recitals, plays, etc., and some of whom even pursue advanced degrees while doing so, manage to divide up the chores and seem to value each others contributions.

But hey, maybe Western Civilization is a dystopia were women, especially upper-class women, are cruelly oppressed and I just didn't notice.

You never know.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

But anyway, according to the Wikipedia Melinda is worth $70 Billion dollars and is a business woman (wow, being a project manager at Microsoft is way profitable!

So she is totes qualified to tell everyone how oppressed she was when she was forced to drive her child to daycare in the 1979 Pinto with the one head light that is all she and her shiftless hubby can afford.

SGT Ted said...

Its an effort to make housework more important and deserving of extra reward only because women are doing it. No one talks about the labor value of cbores typically performed by men.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

It appears that the Gates were able to use their tax refund (Earned Income Credits are the best!) and fix up the family Pinto Wagon.

They were able to get the headlight fixed, bondo the rust and dents, and apply a primer coat.

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/1845/161/29610080020_large.jpg?v=1

They are considering using gofund me to raise the cash to get it painted.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

http://www.evilmilk.com/pictures/Feminists340.jpg

Eric said...

“Moms started going home and saying to their husbands, ‘If Bill Gates can drive his daughter, you better darn well drive our daughter or son,’ ” Ms. Gates said.

Is there anything more unseemly than very wealthy people, who have servants to take care of everything they don't want to do and the power to make the world conform to their wishes instead of the other way around, presuming to instruct the rest of us on the conduct our family lives?

cyrus83 said...

If it weren't for public schools, two-earner households with children and even single-working parent households would be much harder pressed, and probably wouldn't be possible for poor or even many middle class people unless they had a family member who was able to watch their children reliably every day during working hours.

Unpaid work has real value - it's the money not spent paying someone else to do it, plus it's the freedom of working for oneself. In most cases, this work is probably worth more than $15/hour just in terms of costs saved, but it can also be priceless in terms of quality time spent with kids and the luxury of time to spend on one's own leisure projects (gardening, crafts, reading, art, etc). To each their own, but I have never quite understood the appeal to so many women of being a servant in someone else's house the greater part of their life (their employer) versus being the master of their own full time.

Bruce Hayden said...

What is going on here? My guess is that it is mostly on the women. My theory is that these women chose to work less and spend more time as a mother, when their kids are small. No matter what they thought before becoming mothers, it seems that a large percentage of new mothers who do have to go back to work, really don't want to, at least for the first maybe half a year or so. Whereas for guys, staying home with the baby is something that they will do if necessary. I remember when the mother of my kid had to go back to work, after 6 weeks paid leave. I think that she had always expected to want to go back to work. She didn't. Rather, her preference turned out to have been staying home. She couldn't, and I was the primary care giver that first year or two.

I think that it is something pretty basic about being a mother that is at work here. There just seems to be some sort of drive for new mothers to want to stay home with their new babies. And, as a guy, we just don't seem to have that drive. I was fine being the stay-at-home dad, just not driven to do it.

Unknown said...

That has to be one of dumbest thing I have ever read. The news article, I mean.

JamesB.BKK said...

These people don't understand teamwork apparently. Also, Bill and Melinda Gates have strayed way outside of their areas of knowledge - rich software (and sometimes hardware) vendor and his wife (who no doubt was a valuable member of the team and contributed significantly even if she is blind to that, or, only posing for progressive agitation points). They should stick to their knitting. Would that more of us could have nannies, cooks, and drivers, but that has been taxed out of existence for the merely well-to-do by ignorant or oppressive voters and loud elites like these people we are reading about. Of course keeping apart the merely well-to-do and those that could be happy interacting with their families for compensation working in and around their homes does serve the interest of the class-warfare based welfare state. Society, not so much.

Joe said...

How about unpaid overtime? Not because I was forced to, but because I want my project and company to succeed. And that doesn't count the hours at home thinking about solutions to the latest problem.

(Oh, and I'm single, so should I get paid for the housework I do?)

Seeing Red said...

When there are women doing housework and they are heating their homes by cow dung....how clueless is Melinda Gates? I remember reading a story after we took Baghdad and goods started flowing into it, there was a woman with 6-8 kids who bought washer and dryer. She freed up so much time she took a part-time job.

SteveGW said...

I note they are comparing unpaid work done by the two sexes purely by time spent on it. Perhaps they should compare it by the amount they would have to pay to get someone else to do it for them. It might turn out that much of the unpaid work that men do would be relatively expensive to pay for because it is physically demanding, unpleasant, involves real mechanical skills, etc., whereas the unpaid work of women is in large part mere light domestic labour. How would that affect the moral claim of oppression/unfairness if it were the case?

Just a thought. Not meant to be insulting or dismissive of women's work or claiming that that actually is the case.

James Pawlak said...

If we are talking about "home makers", they do receive: Room and board; Often the benefits of life insurance, survivors' share of pension benefits; Affection; Sex (How much would it cost them to rent a "stud"?); Some freedom to set their work-day; And, some avoidance of the need to fight traffic and bad weather going to-and-from some place of employment; Etc..

mikee said...

My wife used to commute 3 miles to work. After commuting 47 miles between home in Baltimore and work in DC six days a week for three years, I got a new job in Texas. I laughingly insisted to my new wife that I would not, could not, and should not commute more than 20 miles between home and work.

Our new house was 19.9 miles from my workplace, 3.9 miles from hers.

Tell me about lost opportunity due to different activities, and then tell me about how unfair life is to one gender, and I'll laugh out loud. At you.

Skeptical Voter said...

My wife and I--now married 50 plus years--reached our accommodation early on. Each couple needs to figure out for themselves how to divide up the marriage/work/family chores pie. To suggest that one size--the Bill and Melinda Gates size--"shoe" fits all couples is the heighth of arrogance. At various times each of us has been the primary breadwinner--as she loves to remind me, she put me through law school. I sometimes cook; she sometimes does the plumbing; she gardens--I hate it--we've both driven the kids to school at various times. We are husband and wife in a straight marriage--and also partners in the truest sense of the word. We worked things out to suit ourselves, as each married couple ought to be allowed to do. Bill and Melinda--butt out.