Philobiblon: Morning reading

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Morning reading

* A reflection on the art of the introduction, which leaves me wondering if I've been spoilt for life for fiction by too many years of newspaper writing? I have been accused in academia of writing too journalistically, but then when I think of Orwell, that's the sort of writing I like in all context. Cut the adjectives!

* Perhaps it has come out badly in translation, but while the Japanese PM, Junichiro Koizumi, has lots of things going for him, urging women to have lots of litters, like dogs doesn't raise him in my estimation.

* A sensible take on the latest dodgy "abortion causes depression" study. It contains the figure - which I suppose I should have known, but didn't - that one in seven mothers suffer from post-natal depression.


Anonymous barb said...

yeah, I saw that too --the abortion "causes" depression study. Well, shoot, if you find yourself with an unwanted pregnancy on your hands things probably aren't going as planned in your life. It's just a chicken and egg argument.

1/05/2006 01:22:00 pm  
Blogger Badaunt said...

Japanese politicians have been going on for ages about how Japanese women should have more babies. But the laws regarding maternity leave are ridiculous. I have colleagues who took time off work to have babies, and it cost them a bomb. By law they are not allowed to work for a certain period before and after the birth, and because they are 'part-time' workers (i.e. contract workers - they are not on permanent staff) they are not covered by the maternity leave laws (or medical benefits or anything else, for that matter, unless they pay for the insurance themselves, which is fantastically expensive).

One of the women managed to time the baby so that it arrived during the summer vacation, and she only missed two weeks of work, which she arranged a substitute teacher for. However, the university decided that since she wasn't allowed to work, they didn't have to pay her. So while the rest of us were on holiday and getting paid, she was having a baby and losing money.

Most Japanese women work part time, not full time. Until they're treated like regular workers they're not going to be having babies in a great hurry.

(Actually a greater number of Japanese men are having to work part-time too these days, as companies discover how much cheaper it is not to have to pay for national insurance, holidays, pensions, and so on.)

There are other reasons why women are not having babies, obviously, but I think that's a pretty big one.

1/07/2006 05:17:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Yes perhaps the Japanese have to learn to take women's careers and personal lives seriously, if they want babies ... which would, from what I've seen of Japanese culture, take an ENORMOUS social change.

1/07/2006 05:36:00 pm  

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