It is if you think about it. What is done to women in this country is cruel and unusual. The expectations we place on them. The assumptions we make of them.
I have an opportunity to write a guest blog on a site focused on gender equality. I have been considering what to write about for the past week, and my mind keeps going back to balance and what bullshit that is. And then this article pops up:
This is it.
And it’s not okay.
While this article is a funny read, it’s also very real. There are days when I’m overwhelmed by the volume on my to-do list. I just want to cry, or give up, but realize rationally that will just take up more time I already don’t have and it won’t check anything off my list. My other half helps sometimes, but when he nudges me for recognition, I resent it. And frankly, I feel justified in resenting the hint. (Really, I do say thank you and I appreciate it quite a bit, but I also recognize how we all want to hear it more often.)
Here is a quote from Should Women Thank Men for Doing the Dishes?:
Enter the awkward concept of gratitude. It’s awkward because many women frankly resent the idea that men should be thanked for doing the work they’ve always been expected to do. The resentment is personal and it’s political. It’s personal, because every woman who comments on these issues has had a man in her life that didn’t do his fair share. And it’s political, because the debate is fundamentally about the balance of power between men and women as groups. In fact, research shows that men will withhold gratitude as an expression of power over women.
I have a hardtime visualizing myself as who I am: an independent women who earned a goddamn PhD and started successful non-profit while working full-time and raising kids. Most days I daydream about being a caregiver. Not just for my own kids, but for others’ kids too. I shouldn’t fantasize about that!
I’m not saying caring for children isn’t noble, and let’s be honest, it does not get the recognition the profession deserves. Saying it’s hard is the understatement of the year, but that’s not my only lot in life nor should it be any woman’s! I may be the trash woman, the maid, the cat-vomit-wiper-upper, the laundress, the cook, and the primary child caregiver at home, but is that all I am made of?
But what is it we tell women?
Can women visualize themselves as successful professionals? Maybe not. It’s no secret that dressing for success is real. Studies have shown what you wear impacts your performance. There was even a study done about girls playing dress up and the effects of lab coats on their career aspirations. But what if the aspirations are there, and the jobs aren’t?
The lack of quality jobs to allow for flexible work schedules or working from home is embarrassing. There are some smart-as-sin women out there who are doing data entry from home. Why? Because it was the only work from home or flexible gig they could find. What an absolute tragedy.
Just about all of the women in that room planned to combine careers and family in some way. But almost all assumed and accepted that they would have to make compromises that the men in their lives were far less likely to have to make.
Let’s talk child care. There is no denying it is heavily shouldered by women. Arranging for child care is even seen as a woman’s responsibility. Really. Let me explain.
How many times have you heard, “Want me to watch the kids for you?” come out of someone’s mouth? That person is probably almost always male. I at least know my husband saying, “Mind if I run up the street?” is never followed by “Want me to watch the kids for you?” from me.
A search on npr.org for stories in the past year about “child care” returns stories where women and children are only depicted in the illustrations.
How is it we expect women to reach for that brass ring when they’re wearing a suit made of lead? Many of us still do it, but the climb is more strenuous than it should be.
While it would be wonderful if you would read all the linked content, please, at minimum, do read Why women still can’t have it all. It will begin to solve all of the world’s problems.