Imma let you know RIGHT now, this will be fiery and this WILL be blunt, but I need the people in the back to hear me. Grab yourself a brew and read away! I will add my disclaimer and clarification right away. I am in no way saying this is and will be the same for everyone because I cannot make that assumption. What I am using is my personal experience and stats.
- Women make up 50% of the world’s population (stat- year)
- In Britain in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics, women did almost 60% more of the unpaid work, on average, than men. In Sweden, women were averaging 45 more daily minutes of chores
- “Women are still doing the double shift of a job and most of the housework, plus caring responsibilities – and it leaves a lot of women knackered,” said Frances O’Grady, the first female general secretary of the UK’s Trades Union Congress.
- The study shows that women in the UK now spend an average of 2hr 12min per day doing household chores, compared to men’s contribution of 1hr 9min.
I’ve been having some deep, thought provoking conversations lately and one of the common threads which kept coming up was the emergence of women in the workplace fundamentally changing the family structure. This could be looked at from a post war perspective and then a post 60’s perspective. Of course, for me, as I did a semester studying the 60’s (don’t ask)- this is my closest chronological reference when I refer to some of the BIGGEST changes for women within society, their homes and in the workplace. In my conversation, I stated that I believed people were far more selfish and ego focused than possibly 20-30 years ago. I used the example that kids played out on the streets, parents and families knew each other and created a community where we all looked after each other and the children of the neighbourhood, as such. I was then told that one of the major reasons modern day society isn’t as community orientated anymore was due to the fact that women had entered the workplace. I will admit that initially (I lied, still does), boiled my blood. As a female and a working mother, I cannot attest how much of a better person I am, because I love my job- the idea of staying at home and minding the children and the house is honestly soul-destroying. Before you throw in the “don’t knock it till you try it”, jig. I have and currently am as I await my visa for the UK. There is only so much scrubbing and vacuuming you can do before you lose your mind.
So while women entering the workforce in droves, changed the landscape of homes, what hasn’t happened (generally speaking), is men rising up to FILL the gap in the home. If we want gender equality in all its forms, then we need to have households where tasks aren’t gender specific. Everything is balanced, a give and take, but for this notion that women were the socializers and therefore kept communities glued together (which is somewhat true- they had nothing ELSE to do!), what happened to men helping to maintain those connections? I feel like we’ve dropped the ball, we’ve expected women to meet a higher standard (be put together, have clean, presentable children, a spotless house) all the while the men are just required to work and stay alive. And what makes the conversation so so so infuriating is if a woman stays at home she is a housewife, but if a male stays at home, he’s a modern man. Just the language we use around the topic is biased. Maybe it’s because women staying at home predates modern times, but we need a more neutral, sexy term for it. On top of that, if a male does contribute to household tasks, he’s congratulated as he’s an exception. I have even been told to buff my partner’s ego when he does something around the house. I don’t see a fanfare when I do the dishes on a daily basis, I also don’t get a deep appreciation for the work being put in. It’s not a character flaw to NOT want to simply be a housewife, despite the skills it requires in order to manage a household.
At the end of the day, we must accept that it is generally accepted that the running and managing of a house and the majority of household tasks are a “woman’s” responsibility. Despite working equally to her partner, she will still come home, and as we jokingly say “go on to her 2nd job”. This is completely outdated and it’s 2018, I believe we need to hold men to a higher standard of accountability. We’re asking them to be more emotionally vulnerable and to challenge many gender norms, but I don’t see anyone fighting to be the best domestic bathroom cleaner…😤. You know why? Because socially it has never been a task that has been attached to males, so despite all the uproar about sexual equality, financial equality- the household is one of the last areas to be put under the microscope. Why? Because ain’t no one gonna protest so they can have equal access to scrub the toilet. But why not? In my mind, you help to make the mess, you live and breath in the house, you are also accountable for its cleaning. You may be tired from work, but so am I! Where does it say that due to our genders I am required to cook, clean, bathe and also put the kids to bed? I refuse to be treated like an unpaid servant…again, it’s 2018.
So yes woman, give birth. Yes, take care of said baby. Yes go to work. Yes come home and have my dinner on the table and don’t let the cleaning slip. All while making sure to look pretty and smile throughout. Naa son, not for me. We market pink, kid sized brooms and mops or ironing boards and stoves for girls and none for boys, ultimately this is what we show our children to aspire to. We aren’t looking to raise a boy who can cook, iron or manage a home- because he’ll simply marry a woman who will do it all for him. Huh?! Are we not doing our sons a disservice if they don’t know how to manage a house? Is that not a skill they’ll need in adulthood- or is this specific to females. Isn’t our goal as parents to raise fully self-sufficient children, with a variety of skills? Why isn’t cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing not part of the bill? If your rebuttal is merely the fact that I have a uterus and a male doesn’t, that’s not good enough. Generally speaking, you need male DNA in order to produce a child, no matter how it’s done, naturally or using science. If this is the case, the child carries 50% of said DNA, but despite that said male is somehow incapable of managing 50% of the rearing of said child because he’s got more testosterone…Nope. Not good enough. You participated in the fun, now you pull your weight post climax. K thanks.
Paintings: Kelly Reemtsen