Women leave Canadian town, children in hands of men

Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:44am EST
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By Julie Gordon

TORONTO (Reuters) - What would happen if all the women were to disappear from a town, leaving the men to not only work, but also take care of the family and the home?

"It will be a disaster, a complete disaster," said Kelly Weatherly, who was sent off for a week at a resort, along with almost all the women in her community of 760, leaving the town and the children in the hands of the men.

The exodus was part of a social experiment filmed for Canada's national broadcaster, the CBC. Touted as an exploration of gender issues in contemporary Canadian culture, "The Week the Women Went" is based on a BBC program by the same name.

Recent government statistics show that 70 percent of Canadian households are run by women. The majority of these women also hold full-time jobs.

In Hardisty, an oil-patch town in the prairie province of Alberta where the program was shot, many of the men work away from home for days at a time.

"They don't get to hang out with Daddy," said stay-at-home mother Heather Miller of her two young sons in the first episode. "I don't even know if he's had them for a whole day."

While Miller worried about her husband Dustin's ability to cope without her, he didn't share her concern.

"Two people to take care of, both under the age of five," he said. "How hard can it be?"   Continued...

<p>A screenshot from the CBC television show "The Week the Women Went," released to Reuters on January 23, 2008. REUTERS/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Handout</p>