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I love 'smart-time, not part-time'! I've not read Lean In yet, but am following the discussion/hubbub around it with great interest, since we just had a kiddo a short while ago and I'm trying to figure out how it'll work with work and private life. Being Dutch, a lot of how I think about this issue of work-life balance (ugh, let's also come up with a new term for that) is coloured by how Dutch cultural norms see it. It's perfectly normal for Dutch women to work part-time and even for Dutch dads of our generation to take a papa-day and work 4 days a week. I love it. And at the same time I loathe it because Dutch society is totally NOT geared up if you don't want to work part-time as a woman. It's still considered bad for your child and bad for society in general if you do want to work more and seriously frowned upon. So much for free choice there! Up until recently, a lot of supermarkets would close at 6pm, nothing would be open on Sundays and childcare was not widely available and very expensive (though I have to say this all seems to be changing) making it impossible for 2 partners with kids to both work full-time. Some interesting links to have a look at with research about working part-time in NL: Academic research: NYTimes article: A Canadian article on Dutch women and working culture: "“Dutch women do not aspire to top positions because they do not want to encourage the values of the business models of today’s world. It is a silent resistance movement,” she says. “Maybe this will turn out to be the fourth wave of feminism. Women protect the possibility that one day we’ll wake up to realize that life is not all about acquiring more material wealth, power, status. Many Dutch women that I know want to stay sane, happy, relaxed.” Finally, a piece in the Economist: Now, if the UK would catch on to a little bit more of this Dutch spirit...!
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Jan 21, 2010