Annabel Crabb on ‘needing a wife’

Annabel Crabb on 'needing a wife'

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales on work-life balance and how women still get the raw end of the deal today in Australia. Hear hear!

It’s also hilarious.

And yes, I do need a ‘wife’… I mean, women need more support so we can do more awesome public work like Annabel Crabb while having families. Because I seriously cannot see men suddenly giving up being CEOs so they can be stay-at-home dads and start shouldering half of the work at home. But something will have to give.

Some fun snippets:

“Yeah. The truth is, having a baby for a man means completely different things professionally from having a baby as a woman. NATSEM [the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling] has got this amazingly interesting research where they’ve done modelling on the different outcomes for average Australian young people starting out on a life of work. They kind of model what happens. They worked out that a 26-year-old average male Australian can expect to earn $2 million over the course of his 40-year career. And if he has children, that goes up to $2.4 million. An average woman age 26 starting a 40-year career can expect to earn $1.9 million. But if she has children, that goes down to $1.2 million. The truth is that men who have children are thought of as better employees, more reliable, more justifying of promotion, better leadership figures, and deserving of a higher income. It’s exactly the opposite for women. Women who have children are assumed to be less reliable, less committed, less worthy of promotion. ”

“LS At the end of the day, I guess women are sizing up, whether consciously or subconsciously, I don’t want to work 80 hours a week and be the primary caregiver, and that’s what I’m staring down the barrel of.

AC Yeah. I think that’s fair. I think it continues to be a very difficult decision for women. Also, there is this not very vocalised but nonetheless very settled expectation in Australia about which jobs belong to whom. When people turn that upside down, and have a female breadwinner and a male primary carer, they have these weird experiences. ”

“AC Yeah, I just pointed the kid down my dress, which was belted, so there was no spillage coming out at the bottom. The disgusting things you do. For the book, I collected war stories. The best one is this woman I talked to who managed to hold up her end of an international teleconference work call at 5.30am while the family guinea pig was giving birth next door. Screams of delight turned to horror when the daddy guinea pig started eating the baby guinea pigs. She dealt with all this while still holding up her end of this call. That’s hardcore. I do think there are a lot of women who do this juggle, have stories like this. I find it a kind of exhilarating part of life. It’s kind of hilarious and a bit madcap. You cry probably more of the time than you should. But it also feels like life, and I think it’s sad that a lot of blokes get curtained off from that kind of experience.”