30 September 2004

Ask me for anything but time

[source, source]

Working motherhood getting you down? Fed up with living in a country where you’re made to feel like a bit of a slacker for getting pregnant?

Well, don’t move to Sweden. […]

“Swedish women don’t have it made - they still end up paying a price in terms of their career or employment. What you find, if you look closely at the figures, is that there is a pay threshold in Nordic countries below which are 80% of all women, and above which are 80% of all men.

“What is more, the glass ceiling problem is larger in family-friendly Sweden than it is in the hire-and-fire-at-will US, and it has also grown as family-friendly policies have expanded. In Sweden 1.5% of senior management are women, compared with 11% in the US.”


What has happened through the years of family-friendly policies, she [ Dr Catherine Hakim] says, is that private companies have reduced their number of female employees because they can’t afford the cost of the generous maternity packages.


Hakim, for one, can see precisely where they’re coming from: as far as she’s concerned, the story of Sweden over the past two decades is the story of a country whose small industries couldn’t foot the bill for the ideological parental-rights packages being embraced, and who have largely taken avoiding action when it has come to employing women of childbearing age.


The unpalatable fact, she says, is that there are only so many hours in the day and only so many days in the week and whatever else we expect of the UK and EU the one thing their legislation cannot give us is the one thing that working mothers so desperately crave: more time.

Gosh, imagine that — private companies reacting to incentives! Even in Sweden! Just remarkable. And what’s the heretical nonsense about there being somethings beyond the power of goverment to fix? You’d think she was an American.

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That's what happens when you help the enemy

[source, source]

The [Canadian] military ombudsman has launched a special investigation into why Canadian Forces snipers were treated like “turncoats” by their comrades after serving with American troops in Afghanistan.

The probe was started last week by Andre Marin after he received an unprecedented request from Gen. Ray Henault, chief of defence staff, The Canadian Press has learned. “It’s the first request we’ve ever had by the chief of defence staff to investigate a case,” Marin said Wednesday. “We’re taking it very seriously.”

Hailed as heroes in early 2002 by the U.S. military, the six Canadian marksmen were later given highly coveted Bronze Star medals - awards normally reserved for American soldiers who display extraordinary heroism during combat.

However, sources close to the investigation say the snipers were treated with much less than high regard when they returned to their Canadian bases, both in Afghanistan and back home.

“They were treated as outsiders and sort of turncoats,” said one source who didn’t want to be identified.

“At least three of these guys have since quit the army over their treatment.”

I wonder if it was the helping the Americans or shooting at people that made them pariahs.

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