Friday, January 18, 2019

Women deserve recognition for the success of their billionaire husbands


"We had such a great life as a couple," they said in a joint statement: shared on Twitter, "We also see wonderful prospects for the future, as parents, friends, partners in companies and projects, and as individuals pursuing adventure and adventure."

This last part is part of the Bezos marriage, which has long been overlooked. Following the divorce announcement, headlines focused on how the lauded writer MacKenzie can benefit from her billionaire's huge fortune.

Before Jeff, before Amazon, MacKenzie's life was already full. After graduating from Princeton, where she studied under legendary author Toni Morrison, she worked as an administrative assistant with a hedge fund on Wall Street. There she met Jeff.

In the early days of Amazon, MacKenzie's role is often overlooked.
She was there from the beginning. As the couple moved from New York to Seattle, MacKenzie drove the car while her husband sat in the passenger seat, working out a business plan for his future company. In 1999, two years after Amazon's IPO, MacKenzie became pregnant with the couple's first child. She would raise four children.
In 2005 she published her first book "The Testing of Luther Albright". She said her first novel took so long to write because she was too busy juggling occasional schoolchildren and other activities for the children. "We've tried all sorts of things," she told Vogue in a rare 2013 interview, "including low-season travel, kitchen experiments, chicken brood, Mandarin lessons, the Singapore Mathematics program, and many clubs and sports with other kids in the neighborhood."

She released her second novel Traps in 2013, the same year Jeff announced he was buying the Washington Post. She finally found room to write, she told Vogue when she started renting a small apartment near the Bezos house in Washington.

Amazon has not responded to a request for this article.

The role of women

Women often tend to switch jobs for their male partner, rather than vice versa, says Jill Yavorsky, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Organizational Behavior at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

"Men come out of the divorce without having made all the different choices that have subordinated their careers," says Yavorsky.

In addition, women in the past do the majority of homework. This type of work is referred to as "sweat justice," says Bari Z. Weinberger, owner and managing partner of the Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group. The work a partner does to get a business off the ground may not be conspicuous or visible after the first few days, but it is critical to the overall success of a business.

But how important are these contributions to such a well-known divorce as this one?

The supposed importance of men's work has historically dwarfed that of women. At home, working mothers often apply a "second shift" and do the lion's share of housework. This gives men much more time for work and leisure.

In a fair distribution state like New Jersey or New York, these types of non-financial contributions can be important in divorce proceedings, Weinberger says.

"In a fair state of distribution, the courts certainly do not renounce the personal sacrifices of a non-working spouse," she says. "What people do in the office is certainly critical, but what people do at home to take care of their children is paramount in life, and there is no unemployed person." It's not a back seat it as a critical element for a fair distribution. "

However, the Bezoses live in Washington, a state owned by the community. There, all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are divided 50/50 after a divorce. However, if the couple signed a marriage contract, it could potentially change the conditions altogether.

In the 1%

For high-income couples, according to Yavorsky, women are under even greater pressure to sacrifice their own professional ambitions in favor of their husbands, which often contributes more to household wealth as a whole.

"Women are expected not to work or to weaken their job ambitions and to really strive to sustain men's careers in a larger way than women in middle-class families," she says. "I think some men have much more earning potential, but I think it's also about traditional gender expectations, because high-income women do not have the same support from spouses as high-income men."

Part of it, Yavorsky says, is that the man may make more money. But it can also be due to the greater need of a high earner for emotional and marital support in the household. Without them, they just could not work as hard as they need to earn so much.

"The success of men often could not come about without the support of women taking on the majority of childcare and housework," says Yavorsky.

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