Sunday, April 11, 2010


As Prof and I come closer and closer to celebrating our year anniversary (that's right, an entire year of boring sappy blog posts. I truly can't believe that any of you are still here, reading my blabberings), stories about women doing more than their fair share, and making more sacrifices than men increasingly catch my attention. Its always interested me, and infuriated me, when I hear stories about women doing more housework than their male partners, women doing more childcare than their male partners and women still making less money than their male counterparts. I vaguely remember the days when I had a boy living with me, and I always felt that way. He would do what he pleased, and I would be holding down the fort, grumbling and cursing, but what's in the past is in the past, right?

Well, maybe, I guess. Because, if Prof and I stay together, we are eventually going to live together. And I'm going to go back to that grumbling, pissed off fort holder-downer. Its inevitable. Because that's what living with someone is like, whether real or imagined, someone always feels like their load is heavier.

So, I thought I would share this recent article with you, from PsychCentral. It basically goes like this: women still shoulder the bulk of household responsibilities. When both the wife and husband are both working professionals, if the husband works over 6o hours a week, the wife's odds of quitting her job increase by 51%; 112% if she is a mother. But if the wife works over 60 hours a week, it has no impact on whether the husband quits or not.

If you are a woman, and you work, and you work damn hard, this should piss you off! Despite 40 years of massive numbers of women in the workforce, the weight of managing the household still sits squarely on our shoulders. And when we can't keep up, we quit our careers instead of holding the guy to task.

Sure, I know, its not that simple. But it still gets my goat, and I want you to be pissed off about it too. And I want you to be mindful of it if its happening to you, or your friends. And I want you to fight it! "What do we want?" "Equality!" "When do we want it?" "Now!"

Now, I'm off to darn Prof's socks...


kristen said...

you could look at is 'we more often have the OPTION to quit our jobs...'

i'm assuming that in that 51%, the guy is making bank. and the chick doesnt have to work anymore.

i dont know that i'd ever be housewife but the idea of being partially employed is INCREDIBLY appealing to me!!!

Unknown said...

Nicely written and largely true.
You may wish to consider the possibility of employing a good part-time caregiver/cleaner, upon discussion with your partner, who should also focus on being a team player, instead of adopting "an Einstein-like attitude."

For free abridged versions of my books on leadership, ethics, teamwork, motivation, women, bullying and sexual harassment, trade unions, etc., write to

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Unknown said...

So this is how you get me to post again on your blog? Yes, life stinks because change takes a *really* long time. We do as our parents did, or we are brought up to believe we should. Of course, we're enlightened nowadays, so we think this is unfair and change it for us. But this is a slow, gradual process, one person here, one person there. It's not a collective -- Let's all stop doing this!

I'm hoping in another generation, 20 years or so, this will be less of an issue. But it's going to be slow going, because us men are pretty much one brain removed from our orangutan cousins. (Some of us are a little less hairy though.)

It's -- thanks! :)

Susan said...

Kristen: Maybe the dude is making bank, but when you have a career, it shouldn't be about whether you _need_ the money - it should be about putting your brain to good use. Though, putting your brain to use part-time would be ideal.

DocJohn - you took my bait! And yes, I agree, Men are just one shave away from hairy orange orangutans.

kristen said...

I'm just saying - for all of those people who just have jobs rather than careers, of course they are going to stay home instead of go to work if they can afford it! if money was no object, i bet more than 50% of people would rather stay home than go to work...

regardless of anyone else or society, your life is what you make it. i've never believed that being female has held me back so it never has. (in fact, i believe i've figured out how to use it to my advantage in most situations...)
I have no intention to do all of the housework, so i wont.
my husband staying home with the kids (making such lofty assumptions here!) will not be considered him 'babysitting' - it will be considered his turn.

making the compromises you outline are just self-fulfilling prophecy. once you do it, its your job. holding out and only doing only a bit more than you think is fair (a bit more cause really, we all overestimate our own contribution) is just a battle of the wills. and you, of all people, should know how to win that battle.

Anonymous said...

I think it's because if one person and/or parent needs to quit for whatever reason, very rarely does the guy go, "Oh yes, honey. I'll be a stay-at-home-husband/Dad." If he did then we'd all be like, "Omg, he's totally LIVING off her!" None of us can win.


trish said...

I don't want to be treated "equally", I want to be treated "better than".