Op-ed, Susan MacQuarrie
In regard to Justice Minister Peter MacKay's recent chauvinistic comments and emails, his wife was good to come to his rescue.
As a person who often speaks freely without thinking about consequence I feel (some of) MacKay's pain. His comments give us the impression that he believes in the old adage "wife at home, man brings home the bacon." This is a conservative way of thinking and he comes by this honestly. I think Peter has good intentions albeit he is tied to a party long entrenched in old school beliefs out of date in our world today.
Is it wrong? Who is to say? I am a mum who had the economic advantage of staying home with her kids. I left my dream job that I loved and where I was highly respected when my son was five years old and my daughter was two. I initially struggled with this but have no regrets. I was fortunate to be able to do this. After 14 years I am now ready and willing to get back to the industry I loved and, unfortunately, it is not that easy. I have given this particular situation plenty of thought as of late. I understand why "women will never rule the world"... as ambitious and as successful as we can be, we are also the part of the human race that can give birth. Those of you who have experienced this can attest to the feeling(s) maternal instinct leaves you with; it is indescribable.
Very few of us make the corporate world our "life" and that is the expectation out there. Many companies speak of respecting work and family but I have yet to witness this. If someone can prove me wrong I welcome the challenge. MacKay may be right, not many women apply for judge positions. The question he should be asking is why? What do we need to change? If corporate Canada sincerely want women in these prominent positions then they should "work with us," not "against us." To me, and I may be a bit bias in saying this, many women add a much-needed gentle touch to this crazy world that has been hardened by narcissists, control freaks, jealousy and narrow-mindedness.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer's 2013 bestselling book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, is honest and forthright. Critics have beat her up. True, her book doesn't apply to everyone, as my opinion here does not, but on a balance pertains to a large number of women. She speaks of cultural limits instilled in us as children that are hard to shake. Particularly when they are constantly reinforced by society at large, i.e. MacKay's comments. The book is a great roadmap for our new generation entering the workforce.
As Nora Ephron, advises “embrace the mess.” Life is about embracing the mess, because it is messy and we are going to make mistakes.
Laughter is key and success for women in both family and career is the last laugh.
Truro resident Susan MacQuarrie is a mom and community volunteer.