Got off work, cleaned my fishtank (bottom left), and checked my email. Time to take off this stupid hat and hide my sticky-out ears with clean hair. Also, my bangs actually look blue instead of black now that my hair’s recovered enough for me to wash it.
edit: this article was submitted to the Feministing community and accepted (exciting!!) and you can read it right here!
Since Anne-Marie Slaughter published her cover story in The Atlantic, ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have it All’, the Internet has been abuzz with talk about women and the workforce. Slaughter argued that societal barriers still prevent women from being able to balance work and life. The article has spawned dozens of reaction pieces, and some of these pieces have been part of a disturbing trend, blaming women for reaching too high, and believing that personal choices alone are responsible for the work-life balance being harder for women than for men.
One of these reaction pieces, by Lori Gottlieb in the Atlantic, suggested that women complaining about wanting to work and have a family life at the same time is akin to 6 year olds whining about wanting to go to gymnastics and a birthday party at the same time. Another one of these responses, published in the Globe and Mail by Margaret Wente, suggested, absurdly, that women trying to balance work and life is a ‘white people’s problem’ just like “running out of Starbucks Coffee at the Cottage”. Both of these articles, and many others like them, argue that ‘having it all’ (balancing work and family life) is impossible for anyone, regardless of gender. According to them, both men and women just need to understand that you can’t have your cake and eat it too! The problem is, men have been having their cake and eating it too for centuries, and as much as Gottlieb and Wente want to deny it, women are far more likely to be disadvantaged by the work-life balance than men.
All over the world, examples are rife of mothers being disproportionately disadvantaged by the way we structure our work practices than fathers. Perhaps the most extreme example is in South Korea, where more women are entering the workforce in a society that frowns upon flex-time and career breaks. As a result, fertility rates have fallen faster than nearly anywhere else on earth because this situation has forced women to either stop working or to stop having children.