One Feminist's About-Face

Wow. This is startling to see in print... a former feminist and champion for women's rights now believes women should be home with their kids.
SHE IS one of feminism's pioneers and founder of the UK's first refuge for victims of domestic violence, but after decades of fighting for women's rights Erin Pizzey has come to a startling conclusion: women should stay at home and look after the children while men go out to work.
Her revelations don't stop there. Pizzey also believes that with mothers away from home working, their child's development will be harmed. Her views are supported by new research conducted by Birbeck College in London, which suggests that the longer children are in childcare, as opposed to with parents, the more aggressive they become.
--> -->... In [a new BBC2] programme, she says: "I think the traditional way the family was run has been going for thousands of years and it works. What I see now is men disenfranchised from their roles. Women are lost because they now have to work full-time. They don't have a choice. There is no proper child care, there's nobody home when the children come home." (Hat tip: Ladies Against Feminism)

I'm stunned -- how delightful to see someone who is willing to really look hard at the mess we westerners have gotten ourselves into and actually admit that perhaps we've misprioritized our lives. Thoughts?


Persuaded said...

I saw this too and was so thrilled! I remember this woman from the earlier days of feminism and her changing her tune like this is *BIG*... it's really something that I couldn't have imagined 20 or 30 years ago.

God is good.

Hali said...

While I think women can persue careers [As she can be married to God instead of a man as she does so] for mothers raising your kids should be the ONLY option. It's encouraging to see feminists starting to realise this truth, I think as more damning evidence is provided to show the harms of working-motherhood and daycare, the more things will change.

I never understood what the point of having children was if all you're going to do is dump them in childcare and not raise them yourself. This news makes me very happy for that!

FancyHorse said...

I had not heard of this lady, nor of the study at Birbeck College, but I heartily agree from my former years of working in childcare. God intended for young children to be cared for in their families, not in institutions like child care centers. There were more biters among the one- and two- year-olds in my care than among children of the same age I have cared for in Sunday School, who did not attend daycare.

Two-income families become a vicious cycle; they become dependent on that second income, and feel like the wife has to continue working, to afford the moe expensive lifestyle they have become accustomed to. And to pay their debts.

As a whole, I think children did better in school in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was customary for mothers to stay at home, and be interested and involved with their schoolwork.

Parents who are away from their children much of the day feel guilty, and are more lenient, producing children who don't mind their teachers later. The children are given "things" instead of time and love.

quartermom said...

this is a choice I have made that seems like it's an almost impossible choice to make in our society. That's how it appears. Just like as soon as a teen gets their license they should get a new car. Sheesh. Nope. I'm home and proud of how much my son has accomplished. I encourage all mothers out there to make it possible. There is a way for everyone.

Sue said...

I think it took a lot of guts for her to say that! How wonderful that she is abele to see things the way they really are, and have the courage to speak up.

Anonymous said...

I think there are two separate issues here:

1. Childcare:
She's saying that kids need a caring parent, and that they may be better off at home than in daycare.

2. Equality in pay:
Once kids are grown and a woman wants to work, what then? Would they have equal rights? Would they have to accept lower pay than their male peers for performing the same work?

2a. What about fatherless families? Families in which dad may have died? Who provides the family's income? In such cases, should women work? Should the mother be on welfare? Should her church provide her income? If the woman works, should she have equal pay compared to men who have the same job/job performance? Should she be able to vote in political elections? All of these are things gained by "feminism."

Careful that the baby's not thrown out with the bath water here, by being too general.


Rebecca said...

You might find this article interesting:

She makes the important point that, "Until 200 years ago, a vast majority of all children spent most of their lives with both parents every single day," because most families farmed or ran small businesses out of their homes. I really like the idea of both parents being home with their children on a day-to-day basis, and I hope we're able to do that for our family in the future.

the mcleans said...

On the childcare issue, this is incredible. We just moved to the UK and at least around where we live, EVERYONE sends their children to daycare beginning the august after the child turns 3 (and some before that). I've gotten the impression that this is even for moms who do not work. I think it's just for a few mornings a week and then full-time full days of school at 4. My daughter turns 3 today and I've already gotten questions on where I'm going to send her. It seems that the people are convinced that this is best for the kids' development. Thanks for posting this.

Sarah in England said...

I watched the BBC2 programme and I totally agreed with Erin Pizzey's words. The Birbeck College study is no surprise as aggression as a result of Attachment Disorder is well documented - how no-one ever previously linked children in professional childcare outside the family from a very young age with this disorder is interesting (or perhaps they had?). The professor from the College said that, because in many families both parents are working and children are in outside childcare, the Western world is currently engaged in one of the biggest childcare experiments ever.

However, to be sure Erin Pizzey has never been a militant feminist. In fact she escaped to the USA for a while to get away from the militant feminists who threatened her. She has always been a champion of the family and won a libel case against a publishers which had published work which suggested she was a member of militant feminists.

She was however a champion of a change in the law to protect women and children who were suffering from domestic violence as she set up the first ever shelter for victims of such violence. She was apparently upset when her cause became politicised as that was never her intention. Erin's encounters with the feminists can be read about here:

I totally agree that children and family are more important than any career. I wish that here in the UK more funds were put into enabling family to care for children rather than pushing mothers back into work by offering funding for professional childcare.

Megan Preedy said...

I live in India and the system is the same... as soon as a child turns three, they are in school. Not even half day or a few days a week, but six days a week, from 8-1. My son is three and a half, and I am constantly asked where he goes to school. People are shocked when I say he doesn't. Homeschooling is not an option here, and I know mothers who are constantly under stress, trying to find a better school, because if you don't get into a good preschool, then you won't get into a good elementary, etc. etc. This is not just the upper class, it's everyone. I feel so bad for them, they are so trapped in the system. And it's sad when the only place my three year old will learn to say things like "I'm gonna chop off your head and flush it down the toilet" is in Sunday school from other boys who are going to school... Thanks for posting this! It is encouraging to see others recognizing the obvious.

Jenn Mc said...

While I DO work full-time, my husband stays at home with our 2 yr old son and we get snide comments frequently. It just so happens that my career focus has plenty of job openings right now. I wish that others would see that this is GREAT for us! My son has a caring, responsible role model every single day! I would love to stay home as well, and we are working on finding a way to scale back my hours.

While I understand that the husband's role is leader of the family, I don't think that necessarily means he has to be the "breadwinner".

Luke said...

It is always interesting to see people flip in perspective and catch glimpses of why. Thanks for sharing!


Jerilyn said...

Very interesting. I can see major differences between my child, children of stay at home moms and children who were put into daycare early. I actually watch a little girl from home (well, until tomorrow, which is my last day) and it makes me sad. She sees her parents for 2 hours everyday and weekends. I know that they give into her every want and desire because of the way she acts here.

Another interesting correlary is the amount of older people in homes. I think the generations are getting more selfish. If a woman isn't going to stay at home with her children, why would she stay at home to take care of her parents?

Thandi said...

Interesting indeed!

ABCD said...

Thanks for posting this!


Claire said...

My first thought was "duh." I honestly don't understand how society got to where it is, with children being away from the family all day. To me, it's not rocket science that children need their parents' time, and a lot of it. The term "Quality versus Quantity time" irks me. There is no quality if there is no quantity.

Want me to tell you how I REALLY feel about it? :)

Susanna said...

Jenn MC- somethimes that is the way the Lord opens things up for families. My bro- in -law was made redundant just before Christmas last year. My sis-in-law is a qualified teacher but had not yet worked due to looking after the little ones at home. But within 3 weeks of her husbands redundancy she had a job as a teaching assistant and is now working as a teacher while her husband stays at home. Once the youngest is at school he will look inot getting some work again- but I think people forget that In God's providences for us, one size does not fit all!

Anonymous said...

I think Rebecca made a really great point about both parents being in the home. We should be careful to remember what feminism was a reaction to - giving up of male leadership in the home and in the community (esp church) because of worldly ambition that was fueled by industrialism.

Sometimes we tend to idolize the 50's as if that were some sort of golden era, but if you were alive during that time, 'fatherlessness' was well established. The problem with the 50's mentality is that it leaves way to many church women on their own, with their hubbies outside of the home almost every waking hour -- not Biblical.

Perhaps modern technology and other advances in work models will afford us greater flexibility in the future to return to two-parent homes. What do you think?

Allie said...

Her line about now women have to work sits funny with me, because I think it reeks of the feminist attitude of blaming men. Many women who have to work (not all, but many) have to NOW because they chose to THEN, and now have the lifestyle that is hard or impossible to maintain on one income.

mallory said...

Hi Jess,

I am a 23 year old wife and mother to a six month old boy. I have been reading your blog for several months now and it has been such a blessing to me. I am always so encouraged by your writing! You write with such refreshing honesty and grace. Thank you for taking the time to keep up this blog, it truly is a ministry. You are a godly role model for me and many others I'm sure. Thanks again.


Laura said...

I haven't read all the comments, but I wanted to add one small little thought: the article and some of the comments have suggested that it is automatically harmful to the children for the mom to be working. I don't think that's necessarily the case -- if the dad is staying home with the kids, they are still receiving the loving care and attention they need. This isn't a common situation, but it does happen, and it's somewhat the case in my family. (DH is in grad school, so I'm home while he's in school and he's home while I'm at work. No daycare, but I do go in to work 3 days a week.)

Of course, the Bible is clear that women should be "busy at home," and that women who have raised their children have done what God desires. From a Biblical standpoint, having the mom home should be the goal, and I believe situations like mine should be temporary if at all possible. But I don't believe it's harmful to the children even if it's Dad who is home during the day every day. My dd gets read to, sung to, held, kissed, and taught about God while dh is home.

In fact, sometimes I wonder if having Dad home more of the time should also be a goal in a Christian family... I don't know how it can be worked out in most families, but having dh away less than 40 hours a week is a huge blessing for our daughter. (And of course for me, too!)

Just some thoughts. I often see this side of the discussion left out, so I thought I'd chime in with my perspective. :-)

Ashley L (Missionary Moms) said...

Wow, that is pretty amazing. I know that some aspects of feminism sprang out of a true need to stand up for women's rights when they weren't upheld, but it sure has swung too far. It is great to hear someone who was a strong feminist realize that equality doesn't mean that man and women do exactly the same things in order to be equally as valuable.

Also, I know you like Mark Driscoll's teaching, and I thought of that when listening to this past Sunday's sermon. I think you'd really like it. It was such a great message about justification and regeneration that hit right at the heart. Here is the link if you haven't listened already!


Britt said...

While my husband and I agree that the wife should stay at home to care for the children and home, we have had other disagreements. He is more of an "I THINK....." whereas I am the "BUT THE BIBLE SAYS...." That's how I base my decision: not on what I "think" or "feel" is right, but what the Bible says about it. I'm not going to argue with God :P

Jessica said...

Interesting article. Came by from Walk Slowly, Live Wildy.

Mrs. White said...

What an interesting post!! I pray this message is sent far and wide!!
Thanks for posting it!
Mrs. White in Vermont