Labor Day -- our traditional end of vacation season -- got me thinking about getting back to work and what sort of work we're all getting back to.
But first, a quick rant about the gender pay gap before the bigger issue of the gender work gap.
Women were part of the workforce when women’s rights advocates campaigned for “Equal Pay for Equal Work” as early as the 1860’s. Women were in the workforce in 1882, though records indicate it was only men marching that year in the first Labor Day parade. Women were certainly part of the workforce in 1956 when the 3-cent first class commemorative Labor Day stamp was issued, though you might not have guessed it from looking at the stamp.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal to pay men and women different wages for doing substantially the same work in the same establishment. In 1979, the first year the gender pay gap was widely publicized, women’s earnings were 62 percent of men’s. Efforts toward equal pay for equal work decreased that gap by an average of half a cent a year over forty years. (Equality in 2060?)
There! Rant over. What I really want to talk about is the gender gap in the work that is done in the home. To see it, begin first with the stereotypical, traditional jobs of mom and dad in the home.
Cleaning house; laundry
Wash car; change oil; fill w/ gas
Shopping - food/clothes/gifts
Move heavy things
Scheduling appointments, playdates, babysitters, etc.
Play with kids
Chauffer to kids' events
Enforcer ("When dad gets home...")
Nurse and nurturer (first aid; up at night with sick kids; etc.)
Has the last word
Cheerleader and Counselor
Protector from external dangers (strangers; bullies; catastrophes; etc.)
Protector from hurting themselves (seatbelt monitor; child-proofing; discouraging risk-taking activities)