Bad Daughters Club Blog #6
The term Golden Skirt caught my eye recently, a phrase coined by the Norwegians with reference to the numbers of women who sit on Company boards there. It was the media response to a focus on gender equality and women in senior positions. The more board roles a woman has, the more gilded the skirt.
It’s a weirdly lovely expression. I’m no great skirt wearer, but I love the idea of sweeping in to a boardroom, through the school gates, into the Doctor’s surgery in a swirl of gold; maybe it would be a finely tailored pencil skirt, with burnished kitten heels. Or perhaps it would be beautiful pale gold suit or just a pair of lovely gold shoes.
Of course, it’s a state of mind, but whatever the fashion, the notional golden skirt might become the uniform of choice for the Bad Daughters Club.
The gender pay gap and the debate about women in senior positions sadly won’t be solved by dishing out golden skirts. But it set me thinking about how still in 2018 informal unpaid “family” care is still so very under-valued. And the worst of it is that this under-valuing happens within families.
I have banged on before about how daughters are perceived to be the best insurance policy for their elderly parents, and that sons, fathers and brothers remain often a somewhat under-used resource on the care front. This is the source of irritation and family upset for so many. I suspect us Bad Daughters must take our share of the responsibility for under valuing and the family upset: all that guilt and angst about not doing enough or being good enough means we probably don’t always share enough of the care, or value our role.
I am often asked how to minimise family conflict around making decisions about caring for elderly parents.
The best advice I have been given is to set the family up as a quasi “Company of Mum and Dad”: operate like a board with everyone playing to their strengths; have an agenda and meet regularly (skype a good option); perhaps a brother living overseas can take on the finances, or a sister who has a busy job can take on respite care.
It may not take all the angst out of often difficult decisions, but joining the board of Mum and Dad Co. might spread the load. It will also mean you can add a golden skirt to your wardrobe and wear it with impunity.