The other day my wife and I were watching the public television channel and caught part of a program on women’s rights and feminism in America. At one point, it discussed how women are maintaining full-time careers, while when they return home at night, they are still the ones to do the majority of the house work.
I thought deeply about that and – doing my best not to react in a knee-jerk fashion, but to simply sit and consider the idea – reflected on how gender equality, or inequality, is manifested in my own family. My wife does the laundry. She also pays and monitors the bills. By and large, the kitchen is mine, cooking and cleaning, except when I’m working evenings. By extension, I do the grocery shopping, while she does the runs to Target for household supplies.
My wife has a steady career and makes substantially more than I do. For a period when our daughter was young, I worked from home part-time and cared for the little one. Now, I still have more flexible hours and so am usually the one to get our daughter up and out to daycare, along with picking her up.
Each of these chores are carried out due to a combination of factors: Who has the patience for it? Who likes or at least has an aptitude for doing it? Who has the schedule for it? While some of these have been stable for the 9 years we’ve been married, others have shifted based on the changes in our careers and lives. I’d like to think that she and I base the family maintenance activities on who can do it best and in balance with the rest of the chores, rather than on a preconceived notion of who “SHOULD” do it, based solely on the gender of the person. There’s likely room for improvement, but we’re working toward this goal.
The home is where we show who we truly are. This is then manifested in the workplace and society – how we consider other people’s capabilities, how we determine their worthiness of our respect. Why are still so many positions of leadership in non-profits, for-profits and government still held by men? Is it due to a deep seeded belief that the man’s role is to think and the woman’s to do? And yet we can look to changes taking place in society which are chipping away at the notion.
The March issue of Collaborator Magazine is interested in looking at the nature of collaboration between and among the genders, at every level in global society. What observations do readers have on this?