Instead of leaning in, we have to sit back – and I’m worried about what this means for our career in the long term.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, I have noticed a worrying trend among women in my social circles: mothers who were able to keep their jobs at the beginning of the closure are now leaving the workforce. Every time I log in to my neighborhood Facebook groups, more and more posts appearm Panicked women asking for advice on how to resign or apply for a leave of absence and how to apply for CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit). With zoom cocktails and group chats, friends and colleagues in heterogeneous relationships complain that they refuse to work to focus on childcare while their male partners spend their days in basement offices. These are women who had a thriving career two months ago. Now they are forced to choose Sophie for our time: your job or your children.
I consider myself a fairly informed feminist, but before March 2020, I never thought that very successful women could return to 1950s housewife status in a few months. Color me naively.
At first we thought we could get throughTo align schoolwork and diaper changes with video conferencing and appointments (if we were lucky enough to be able to work from home). Now almost nineIf you get into this dystopian nightmare, it becomes clear that Compatibility of childcare and work is not durable. But who pays the price for it? March labor data was bleak: women accounted for 62 percent of job losses and we lost 50 percent more hours than men. These numbers balanced in April when industries dominated by men got hit. But Schools and childcare remain closed for most of the country – and without knowing what will happen to camps and daycare centers in the summer – I bet my monthly wine budget will further increase the loss of women.
In fact, economists don’t call the current financial crisis a recession, but a “she assignmentThis means that women are hit hardest. One reason for this is that women do the majority of so-called “social” jobs (such as yoga teachers, servers, hairdressers, day care workers and hotel employees). Another reason: the pandemic increase in domestic workers ends up on our shoulders.
Last week, the New York Times published a story with this heading: “Almost half of the men state that they do most of the home school. 3 percent of women agree. “ Sure, we all giggled about it. Mothers shared the link next to crying emojis. But the truth is Women often do more when it comes to childcare and housework, whether it’s a pandemic or not. (Note that I said “often” and not “always”. People, not me.) According to Statistics Canada, women spend an average of 3.9 hours a day on the unpaid housework compared to men 2.4. This gender gap now seems to be the case Support systems We once relied on the fact that they are no longer available to us. The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the inequalities that have always existed. If the supervision of childcare was always with the female parents, guess who is responsible for attending school. When a woman deserves 87 cents on the dollar Compared to their male partner, whose job do you think will take precedence when couples have to decide who will quit and who will continue to work? These are the questions that keep me awake at night.
To fill me with fear too the idea that bosses start to discriminate against women at work. Will ongoing closings of schools, camps and day care centers result in us being classified as unwanted employees as soon as the economy opens up again? I already see mothers posting on Facebook about managers who punish them for not being fully committed to their work during the pandemic. A mother with young children wrote that her boss reprimanded her for not spending eight hours directly on her computer when her male colleagues were able to do so. S.He somehow adjusted eight hours of work to their children’s needs and bedtime, but that was still not enough. Angry, right?
I consider myself very lucky to be able to work from home with a flexible schedule during this time. We only have one child (which makes things both easier and more difficult). My husband and I have discussions almost every evening about whether we should evenly distribute the homework and the time we spent caring for our five-year-old daughter. At the moment we are mostly. But I’m self-employed while my husband has a steady government job with social benefits. That means I moved my work into the background more often. After all, we have to pay the mortgage, and we can rely on it.
The truth is, I just work less during the pandemic. I know that this is an extremely privileged position –Many parents are at the forefront away from their children at this very scary time. And in a way it was also a good thing to turn my focus away from my work. This morning my daughter and I painted stones from the garden, did a duel with the swords of Princess Nella and read a chapter in The lion, the witch and the wardrobeEverything before noon. On a weekday! I will see her imagination develop in a way that I probably would have missed if she had been in school. Many parents I spoke to are happy about the extra Time with their little ones and the reduced stress of not having to commute between work and various pickups after school.
I have also noticed an increasing acceptance of parents’ obligations. In the “early days” I tried very hard to keep my child calm during the conference calls. If she now zooms in with a customer, I encourage her to say hello. Hey when Jimmy Fallon can make his monologue With his daughters climbing on his head, we can all be cool when children sometimes interrupt our working lives – whether we work from home or not.
I hope that some of these positive changes after the pandemic will continue and help improve the situation for working parents. This forced slowdown shines a bright light on how burnt out many of us were before when we were exhausted by the constant juggling of “leaning in”. And if you are one of the mothers who learned to love it Work from home If you stay at home during the shutdown, please know that this is not a betrayal of your feminist ideals. Our children need us now and enjoying the time we spend with them – if we have the privilege of having it – does not mean that women do not deserve a fulfilling and well-compensated work life.
However, if we look at the long term, mHer inner pessimist fears that COVID-19 will take feminism back decades. As a child in the 80s and 90s, I grew up knowing that I can have both a family and a job. I worked really hard to build a career that I love and that is a big part of my identity. If the pandemic forces me to scale it down or put it on hold, who will I be? What will my daughter grow up if she believes it is possible for her?
If we want to get out of the steep economic downturn that this virus leaves behind, we need to talk about how we can help mothers – and all women – get back to work. This is inextricably linked to childcare. At press conferences in the provinces over the school year or the reopening of the economy, many parents have to contact the elephant in the room: What should we do with our children all day long?
At the micro level, we also need fathers who show up at home and push them back at work. We need bosses who take in all parents as we navigate this new territory. It is time for a change in the way families take responsibility for childcare, and this pandemic shows us that we are overdue.
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