Note to readers. This is a touchy subject and contains a trigger point for those affected. Please read it in the spirit it was written. Angry with tongue-in-cheek moments to avoid tension heart attacks.
The making of babies seems to be one of humankind’s greatest pastimes. We all know that and we all get involved, one way or another.
All the great dictators in the world instinctively knew that as well and never really minded how many of their subjects were killed in a war or a famine. In a generation all would be put right again with lots of new little subjects to use as arrow targets or as plague carriers or as disposable energy sources.
With the progress of what is mistakenly called ‘Civilisation’, there was less need for the human energy sources which left a lot more for the war games which were fought in the early and mid 20th century.
Two major movements began in the 1960’s and continue now,
Contraception gave women the chance to regulate the supply of cannon-fodder to the rulers of their Nation and economists discovered the ‘Bottom Line’.
The first enabled women to remain in the workforce for longer and so reduce the need to pay men a wage which would support a family. That wage was then distributed separately between wife AND husband (or between partners of assorted description). This also meant that an individual, in general, became unable to successfully support him/her/itself on a single wage. Of course, once a woman decided to have a baby, it became her problem and she had to plan for her expenses before, during and after the pregnancy. And also allow for all the problems which followed, including her continuing income and her retirement income.
At the same time, the Bottom Line began to take effect and everything a business, one-man-run or multinational, did had to show a profit within six months. No time to plan for the next decade or the next generation. Business became about the NOW! Female staff want to take time off to have children? OK, but don’t expect me to pay for their foibles.
So the birth-rate went down, and continues to do so, immigrants came to be seen as a dangerous addition to the population mix for rather strange reasons. Suddenly there were insufficient new young Australians to keep the economy running as the economists thought it should. Blame began to be shifted around and no one took responsibility. Officially the falling birthrate became a natural event, not a result of anything done by anyone.
Yet in previous ages, the Ruler, King, Dictator made sure his baby supply was protected. Oppressive though a regime may be, the serfs or slaves were always in a position to breed and breed freely; pestilence and plague aside. To do otherwise led to a weakened nation or empire and the downfall of the Ruling coterie.
Fast forward to the 21st century and here in the civilised Western World, there is no support for the nations’ baby machines. (Baby machines? Economic’s attitude towards women. Don’t like that? Learn your place in the machinery of society, say the economists!) The fuel to keep them running has diminished, the rewards for them to aim at are virtually non-existent and the cost of a grease and oil change has become astronomical. Despite the economist’s demands that everything depends on the next bottom line, there is a failure in the system. Economists have never noticed that babies are a generational thing.
The group who benefit from good, well run baby machines are the ruling class, normally the Government and bureaucracy. And they are woefully behind reality. In the past, it was necessary to support the male wage earner who would then support the baby machine. Now it is necessary to support both parts of the partnership. That has not happened.
Hence, here in Australia, our current superannuation system. Based on the old system of male domination the super’ rewards for women is abysmal. This is because the ‘Employer’ is responsible for all Superannuation. So a woman drops out of the work force and becomes unemployed. The unemployed get no superannuation. Even though she is employed in doing the most important job in civilisation. Making babies for the Government and Society’s future prosperity.
Surely it isn’t a case of a woman ceasing to ‘work’ to be pregnant or to be a child-raiser. It is much more a case of a woman changes employers. Her new employer is the nation which will benefit from her efforts. So shouldn’t the nation support her with the financial means to do her new, possibly temporary, job well? Of course there are ‘welfare payments’ already being made. This is a wrong description as these are Social Security payments made on behalf of society as a whole. These payments should also include a payment to the woman’s Superannuation fund so that, at the end of a productive life, a woman can retire in the dignity she deserves.
I dream of the day when an ALP Government is in power and we can talk constructively about this part of our ‘safety net’ which needs to be brought into the 21st century. Yes, taxes may need to be raised or maybe taxes will need to be paid by those who should be paying them! Yet a fair society must include equal Super for women.