Thursday, February 25, 2016

Closing The Unpaid Work Gap

The value of a woman’s work must be calculated on a 24-hour basis, not just when she works her 9-5. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that when it comes to unpaid work, grocery shopping, child care, laundry, etc., women around the world spend 4.5 hours a day which is more than double that of a man. In Claire Miller’s article, “How Society Pays When Women’s Work is Unpaid”, she states that in order to balance out these numbers around the globe, it is important to embrace technology, family-friendly policies, and cultural change.

Being an advanced state, it isn’t difficult to get our tasks done in a timely fashion. We can load the dishwasher, put our clothes to dry, and even make dinner, all within an hour. For less developed countries however, these tasks can take hours and may even require long commutes to and from. Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Gates foundation notes that with new initiatives, the foundation will be supplying cellphones to women who cannot afford them in order to increase productivity.

Paid leave, for both men and women, are essential policies that can help balance the unpaid work gap. After giving birth, most women are secluded to their homes while caring for their newborn and without paid leave it is unlikely for them to return to work. Paternity leave is seen as unnecessary since some feel that a woman is well equipped to care for an infant alone but they fail to realize that compared to their financial support, moral and physical support goes a long way.

As Miller stated and as I strongly support, changing the mindset of males all around can better help break this never-ending cycle. I believe it is significant to distribute the daily household tasks evenly among partners, in addition to any and all financial obligations surrounding the family.  Without these efforts, women are forced to be dependent upon their partner’s efforts in addition to restrained in their independent streak.

Please follow this link to view the video created by the Lean In Campaign called #sharetheload, highlighting the imbalance in gender roles.

Miller, Claire Cain. "How Society Pays When Women’s Work Is Unpaid." The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

-Luisa Ibner, MWPC Intern