Can the government really force Austrian men to spend less time at the office? asked Nina Weissensteiner. I’m not so sure. It’s easy to see why they put in far more overtime hours than women—it’s the best way to impress the boss and get in line for promotion. Women may want to work late for the same reasons, but they don’t because “they have to go home to snuggle the offspring and deal with the tower of dirty dishes.” The minister for women’s affairs wants to remedy that injustice through a new law that would limit the amount of overtime any worker can put in. The goal, she says, is to force men to spend more time with their families, and allow part-time workers, who are mostly women, to increase their hours. It sounds like a win-win proposal, but in practice it would never work. The overtime brigade is made up largely of “men with oversized egos” who want to show off how important they are and who have already chosen their path “toward workaholism and away from the family.” If you tell them to leave work on time, they won’t go home—they’ll just go out and network with one another at the bars. And the women? We’ll still be left behind to bear the “double burden” of paid work and housework.
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