Why women need wives, and men need lives
'I need a wife'
It’s a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women.
Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.
But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don’t men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits?
The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.
Crabb’s call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that’s long overdue.
“Crabb is an excellent writer, and the book is neither a polemical rant nor a statement of the bleeding obvious. She has presented the facts -- the Australian economy is being held back by the rigid gender roles of its employees -- in a new and interesting way, penned with the wry wit for which she is famous. One of the best chapters in the book involves the effect gender equalisation would have men, who would ultimately benefit from a realignment of their employment priorities. If you assume that there is more to life than work and that having a good relationship with your children is valuable, she writes, taking time off from work to have a family is a good investment. "Yet we live in a system that consistently, in one way or other, discourages men from even attempting to make that investment."”
Margot Saville, Crikey
“Annabel Crabb is a great writer...The Wife Drought makes an important contribution to the debate about women in the workforce”
Kara Nicholson, Readings Carlton
Australian Book Industry Awards
Shortlisted • 2015 • Australian Book Industry Awards - General Non-fiction Book of the Year
Queensland Literary Awards
Shortlisted • 2015 • University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award
Russell Prize for Humour Writing
Shortlisted • 2015 • Russell Prize for Humour Writing
The John Button Prize
Shortlisted • 2015 • The John Button Prize