I’m a huge fan of the Duchess of Cambridge; so much so that I cried at her wedding to William, and even forgave her when she called her child Charlotte, which – I know full well – is one of the most hackneyed monikers of all time. It’s the sense of stability that makes Kate so special; exactly what the Royal family needs, and missed during the Diana years.
Even so, some of the Duchess’s charitable activities have made me raise an eyebrow in recent years. Along with Princes Harry and William, Kate has been greatly preoccupied with children’s mental health, running numerous campaigns to raise awareness. Though well-intentioned, these have always seemed to me to promote hypochondria among parents and children more than eradicating stigma. Such activities have also distracted the Duchess from one big opportunity: to help working mothers.
Indeed, watching her out and about today on a royal engagement to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, something struck me that I hadn’t realised before: the Duchess is quite possibly most famous working Mum in the country. Motherhood is desperately in need of a sisterly saviours; unintentionally, perhaps, it has been neglected by feminism. As a single woman, feminism seems warm and welcoming, but has barely any positions on areas that affect mothers; breastfeeding or the right to choose (a caesarean), for instance.
But the it’s time motherhood got some attention, not least because it is the cause of one of the biggest barriers for women; gender pay disparity. Discrepancies clearly exist because of childcare, which women continue to take the brunt of. This then forces them into part-time work, to accommodate their children’s needs, and it’s always these roles that are the worst paid.
Motherhood needs huge attention, not only to ensure more have more help with getting back into work, but to incentivise future generations to have children. At the moment it isn’t all that appetising, knowing what the stakes are. Men can have it all: amazing professions, amazing kids (sometimes). For women, broodiness almost certainly dents on career prospects.
There are numerous ways in which the current set up for mothers could be improved. Socially there needs to be more expectation for men to take up childcare. This is something the Duchess and Prince William seem to manage quite effectively.
Companies could also help workers more, running nurseries, dare I say, as a staff perk. In general motherhood needs the same sort of attention as mental health, #MeToo and numerous other fashionable movements are afforded.
Most of all, mothers need a respected figurehead fighting for awareness of their needs. Who better than the Duchess herself?