Letter: Nanny's career path

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I find it bizarre in this post-Marxist age that Deborah Orr finds the engagement of a nanny exploitative ("The parent trap", 16 June). The nanny in question received pounds 400 a week, before tax, and board and lodging. Most families engaging nannies also offer other "perks" - use of a car, washing machine, paid holidays and travel. Tax on the salary and on most of these benefits will have been paid by the much-maligned "superwoman" Nicola Horlick.

By my crude calculations, the first pounds 52,000 of the superwoman's remuneration may have gone on "exploiting" this disgruntled former employee whose wage and lifestyle will have been considerably better than that of the average British middle manager.

The engagement of highly paid staff by people like the Horlicks is precisely what is now fuelling the boom in the service sector of the UK economy; it is also one of the reasons that Britain has the lowest unemployment rate in the EU. If this is exploitation, then the finance ministers of the world, not to mention Europe's unemployed youth, are all for it.

Our own highly educated nanny would be insulted by Miss Orr's patronising views. Many people, both men and women, choose childcare because it is an attractive and lucrative career option.

If Miss Orr is so enamoured of motherhood, send her home to wipe bums, blow noses, and watch endless repeats of The Teletubbies. Just keep her away from my morning newspaper.

THEODORA ZEMEK

London SW15

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