Thursday, September 07, 2006


Note how Noer's research-based and highly factual article is responded to with mere hostility and assertion. I think it is reasonable to say that she proves Noer right. I doubt that many men would want to marry such a bundle of aggressive hormones as she appears to be

Girls: a word of advice. Marry handsome men or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blonds or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a man with a complex. Marry a man who loves you. Who supports your decision to have children or not. Who is happy whether you work or don't. Marry a man who has the foresight to bathe the children if you're running late or to cook dinner without you having to beg from your deathbed. Marry a man who does not feel emasculated if you earn more than him. Never marry a man who uses the word "feminist'' as a term of abuse.

And, whatever you do, don't marry Michael Noer or a bloke who subscribes to his school of thinking. Noer is the American writer who caused an uproar, not only in the US, but debate on these pages last Monday for advising men not to marry a career woman. Noer, writing on, cites at length a piece in Social Forces, a US research journal, that claims to have found that marrying a working woman dramatically increases the risk of having a difficult marriage. "Professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. Even those with a 'feminist' outlook are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner,'' Noer writes.

In recent months there has been much discussion by columnists, particularly in Britain, about why relationships between Alpha females (high-achieving and high-earning women) and Gamma males (who earn a fraction of their salary) are doomed. The consensus of many (sadly) is that the differences in earning and attitude mean they could never be happy together. Mind you, there is no definitive proof.

However, Noer - who clearly has an inferiority complex (perhaps his mother was a career woman) - is in the same camp. Mostly though, because by reading between the lines of his drivel, he simply dislikes women. He certainly hates a successful woman. Whether he's married to one or not. He wants to be the Alpha - or should that be Neanderthal: me man, me provide and you, woman, obediently breed.

But he is a snob too. Because according to him, spending 38-hours a week on your feet as a checkout chick, for instance, doesn't make you a career woman. Tell that to the young girl at Coles in Blacktown, who deep down aspires to one day be the store manager. In the eyes of Noer, to qualify as a career woman you must have a university degree, earn a minimum $39,000 (although that amount strikes me as a strangely low income) and work more than 35 weeks a year outside the family home.

There are, of course, a myriad of reasons why some relationships shouldn't work. But in 2006, to blame a woman having a career as the catalyst for failure reads more like a 1950s How to be a Good Wife guide. It's a misogynist's version of elitism: just because one in the relationship is from a lesser class it can't work. Well, just look at our very own Princess Mary, I say to you Doubting Thomases.

Unfortunately, women are still brought up with the myth of male as provider. Hollywood only reinforces this fantasy with movies such as Pretty Woman. And while men like to feel needed, I also know plenty who would marry the first woman they met if it meant they could come home to a clean house, dinner in the oven with the kids bathed and tucked up in bed. But would they crave the conversation that comes with it: "You won't believe what happened at mother's group today'', or "the supermarket ran out of disposal nappies today''? No, they'd get bored. They'd tune out and eventually they'd start "working late''.

You can argue about the pros and cons of working versus stay-at-home mums until the cows come home. One dear friend loves being at home. Another loathes it and prefers to pay someone to do the chores that bore her. But all in all, the benefit of being a woman in 2006 is that you have a choice to work or not to work _ whether narrow-minded men such as Michael Noer like it not. Marriage isn't about professional competition, but if you enter into it as though it is, you can be sure it will fail.


More revelations about the dishonest character of a prominent do-gooder and bleeding-heart

The pretensions of righteousness hide a fraud, a liar and a crook

Marcus Einfeld's presidency of Australia's human rights watchdog ended after allegedly twice claiming compensation for the same property lost on an overseas trip. Mr Einfeld asked the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to compensate him for an overcoat and several other personal items he reported he had lost during a trip to New York paid for by the commission. But before the claim, believed to be a few hundred dollars, was paid, commission officials allegedly obtained evidence that Mr Einfeld had lodged a separate compensation claim for the same items with his own insurance company.

Mr Einfeld resigned his post in 1990, shortly after the matter was brought to the attention of HREOC's four commissioners: Brian Burdekin, Irene Moss, Kevin O'Connor and Quentin Bryce. Three independent sources familiar with the incident have confirmed the commissioners were briefed on concerns about Mr Einfeld's compensation claim. "There was lots of rolling of eyes. It was a bit beyond shock," one source told The Australian yesterday.

Mr Einfeld had told commission staff that he had bought the coat during the New York trip and lost it before he returned home. He had not kept the receipt. Mr Einfeld, who was president of the commission from 1986 to 1990, issued a statement yesterday through his public relations agency CPR denying any wrongdoing. "It's the first time Mr Einfeld has heard of this," the statement said. "He is adamant he did not make such claims. He had assistance at the time from good, loyal staff. He is certain none of them would have knowingly made a false claim. "Mr Einfeld resigned from the position because he had previously agreed to see out one parliamentary term. He left on his own terms to concentrate on his Federal Court duties."

When approached for comment, former human rights commissioner Chris Sidoti said there had been many problems at the commission involving Mr Einfeld. Mr Sidoti, who now works for a UN human rights agency in Geneva, was secretary of the commission when Mr Einfeld was president. "Working with Marcus Einfeld as president of the commission involved a constant series of difficulties," Mr Sidoti told The Australian. "Fortunately the commission's processes proved sound throughout." Former commissioner Quentin Bryce, now the Queensland Governor, said she considered it inappropriate to comment on the matter.

The commission is alleged to have learned about the second compensation claim after an insurance company called to verify details concerning a claim lodged by Mr Einfeld. The insurance company, at the suggestion of a staff member at the commission, is said to have sent the commission a photocopy of the list of lost property. The list is said to have matched that which Mr Einfeld had submitted to the commission.

This incident has come to light as police are investigating testimony given by Mr Einfeld in a Sydney court that enabled him to avoid a $77 speeding fine. On January 8, Mr Einfeld told the Downing Centre Local Court he had lent his car to a woman who had since died in the US. He told the court that at the time of the offence he had lent his car to professor Teresa Brennan of Florida. After the court proceedings it emerged that Brennan had died in 2003. It has also emerged that two doctorates held by Mr Einfeld had been conferred by institutions debunked in the US Congress as diploma mills.



In one of the greatest political and economic success stories of the past decade, the number of families receiving welfare in America has fallen by 60% since claimants were told they had to seek work or ultimately lose their benefits. The result has been a revolution - not only in welfare, but also in attitudes towards poverty. Single mothers, once considered to be helplessly dependent on the state, have led the way out of welfare into work.

In 1994, 5.1m American families were on welfare. By 2004 the number had plunged to 2m. Teenage births fell from 58 per 1,000 to 41 per 1,000 during the same period, while employment rates for unmarried teenage mothers rose by two-thirds. "It's amazing," said Kay Hymowitz, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank championing reform. "Nobody thought there would be a 60% drop. We've seen a resilience among the poor that people didn't anticipate and it's been a very good lesson for Americans."

It was 10 years ago last week that President Bill Clinton - against the wishes of many in his own party and under intense pressure from a newly elected Republican Congress - passed into law a bill requiring people to find a job or lose their benefits after five years. Critics warned that the 1996 law would be catastrophic for single parents and their children. One Democratic senator predicted that America would look like Brazil, with "children begging for money, children begging for food, and eight and nine-year-old prostitutes". Another prominent senator said it would lead to "something approaching the Apocalypse".

The nay-sayers have been confounded. Hymowitz compares the politicians, sociologists and intellectuals of the 1990s who derided welfare reform - the "brightest and best" of their generation - to the Kremlinologists of the 1980s, who failed to foresee the collapse of the Soviet Union. The poverty rate for the children of single mothers dropped from 50% in 1996 to 42% in 2004. Far from becoming feral street children and hookers, 1.6m fewer children live in poverty today. An expanding economy played its part, particularly in the boom years of the late 1990s. But the trend survived an economic downturn in the economy in 2001; after rising briefly, the number of families on welfare continued to decline.

The most controversial element of the bill was the threat to cut off benefits after five years. In the event few families were thrown onto the scrap heap, particularly as states often stepped in to fill the gap with welfare programmes of their own. But the looming deadline helped to alter people's expectations. "It wasn't that we enforced the time limits so strictly," said Charles Murray, the theorist of the "underclass" whose ideas provided the seed-corn for reform. "What we did was we changed the rhetoric. For the first time social workers were telling their clients, `You've got to go and look for a job'."

Vivian Giddiens, a 48-year-old New Yorker, spent the best part of a decade on welfare while babysitting two young grandchildren and looking after her school-age daughter. She would occasionally find seasonal work but had learnt to live - she can barely remember how - on a government hand-out of $101 (o53.09) a fortnight, supplemented by food stamps. "By the time I got my welfare cheque, I'd have to pay off my debts. It was so frustrating," she recalled. Letters warning that she had only so many months left of benefit payments began to arrive. "At the back of my mind, I was always thinking I'd have to find a job," Giddiens said. "I was on a very low income so it wasn't a question of losing my `wants' but my `needs'."

From time to time she would turn up at job creation programmes. Most of them "didn't offer anything, didn't explain anything, I'd just be sitting there". Then she was invited to attend America Works, a private, for-profit company set up by welfare entrepreneur Peter Cove that receives government funding to find people work. "We only get paid for the outcome, not the process," said Philip Jones, 44, senior vice-president of America Works. "The incentive is there to make sure we're successful."

The company has smart Manhattan offices and a workforce of "account executives" and sales representatives, who are constantly on the prowl for job vacancies. Each jobseeker is assigned a "corporate representative" - the company's equivalent of social worker - who smooths out problems with medical care or childcare that may prevent a person from holding down a job.

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