March 8: the happy woman is the one who chooses what is successful
We have a problem. It is obvious. Because if there is a day for the working woman, if we celebrate it, if we fill the media with content related to this, if the hashtag #International Women's Day remains a week anchored in social networks, it is because we have much to talk about conciliation and much more to do. Of that there is no doubt.
The bad thing is that, as in so many battles of public opinion, it is very easy to end up mixing churras with merinas, miss the shot and end up shooting at the foot while the fat prey escapes before our noses. Maybe that's why this topic makes me so tired. They end up leaving the usual voices: that if the heteropatriarcado, that if the traditional education, that if the woman subjected ...
The speech seems terribly outdated to me. I'm a university professor and many, many years ago - at least a complete generation - that if a woman really likes to study the most complicated engineering, previously vetoed for us, she can do it. And it will also do so with a scholarship to academic excellence, a master's degree at MIT and assured work where the most amazing future lies. We have women in the highest positions in politics and business, research and literature. And yes, it is true that they are not much "half", but we have to ask ourselves if the cause is hidden in the ideological response of "machismo".
Of course there is a gap. The studies tell us. The most rigorous, that count the salary by hours, they calculate in a 14 percent the difference. And the data attest that women continue to devote more time to unpaid work in the home. They are the ones that, in a majority way, request conciliation measures such as the reduction of working hours, they are the ones that look for the most flexible schedules and do not accept complements for absolute availability, they are the ones that prefer positions that do not oblige to travel. Total: the gap between men and women has a lot to do with motherhood.
Given such a dilemma there are solutions to the equation for all tastes. The majority, strongly ideologized by currents more typical of the 20th century. But almost none takes into consideration the basis of the problem with a truly practical look. That is why I like Nuria Chinchilla, an IESE professor, who is a woman, mother, wife, worker and, above all, happy and a good person. It is impossible to summarize his powerful speech in these lines, but I prefer two ideas:
The first is that everything would be easier if we achieve more reasonable schedules (for men and women, whether parents or not), that are fulfilled and that finally expel from our market the unproductive "presentism" so characteristic of our culture.
It is clear that this issue can not be simplified and each job position will have to be assessed. It is not the same to manage the shifts of garbage collection as an office task. But many countries around us reach high levels of reconciliation simply because they have a better schedule.
The second has to do with what women want, what their dreams and ambitions are. The thesis that Chinchilla defends is that we need a more plural approach to the concept of ambition, of achievement. Today it is measured by eminently masculine economicist criteria. Success is only understood as professional triumph accompanied by a high salary. But what if the success of the woman was that, being able to choose, she chooses a job that satisfies her and that allows her to take care of her own? And if his triumph lies in knowing how to discard what hurts his true ambitions? And if we are missing the prey because to win this battle in pursuit of a supposed "labor freedom" we lose another much more important one, that of "family freedom"?
The day of the working woman It will no longer make sense when the work, that of anyone, man or woman, with or without children, is, really, compatible with life.