One rule for rich fathers, one rule for poor fathers, the same rule for all mothers

father and daughterWhile low-income fathers are admonished for not spending enough time with their kids, senior executives who shirk family duties to run big companies are rewarded with gigantic pay cheques and profiles in Fortune magazine, points out career blogger Penelope Trunk.

Fortune magazine ran an article about Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony. He is married with two children is quoted as saying at company meeting, “I don’t see my family much. My family is you.”…

I now quote a government publication aimed at low-income fathers:

“All children need emotional and financial support from both parents. The campaign goal is to convey…the importance of family life and to encourage fathers – whether married, divorced or single – to become involved in their children’s lives… Responsible fathers are men who actively share with the mother in providing physical, emotional and intellectual needs for their child.”

Of course, there are plenty of reasons for this: endemic classism being the most obvious, along with the fact that wealthy children have a number of other massive advantages that conceal the problems that might be caused by absent parents.

But it’s interesting that mothers are excluded from this particular piece of hypocrisy: whether mothers are unemployed and living on a low income or working insane hours at a massive corporation, they are always open to criticism for being bad mothers. It would be impossible to interview a female CEO for Fortune Magazine without talking about her family. She is likely to be criticised whether she has children or not, whether she works reasonable hours so she can spend more time with them, or whether she closets herself away at the office.

Photo by khalilshah, shared under a Creative Commons license