The Invisible Workload That Drags Women Down

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Lauri Rotko/Folio Images – Getting Images/Folio Images RM

By Lisa Wade

“I am the person,” wrote Ellen Seidman, a wife and mother of three, “who notices we are running out of toilet paper.”

It was the beginning of a poem she wrote for her blog, Love That Max, about a role she plays in her household – that of worrier, organizer, rememberer, and attention-payer. The poem was about the work she does involving thinking, a kind of mental labor that, she says, “enables our family to basically exist.”

“I am the person who notices,” she writes.

  • I am the person who notices we are running low on coffee pods…
  • I am the person who notices we are running low on toothpaste/dental floss/mouthwash/anti-cavity rinse in bubble gum flavor.
  • I am the person who notices we are running low on granola bars, brownie bites, dried fruit, kale chips, cheese sticks, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and other lifesaving snacks.

She is the person who knows not only that coffee is essential, but also that using the wrong toothpaste is the kind of thing that can seriously ruin a child’s morning—not to mention their parents. Continue reading “The Invisible Workload That Drags Women Down”

Indigenous women´s political participation in Mexico: Why legislation backfires

By Holly Worthen

Worthen photo

The low numbers of indigenous women elected to municipal governments in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico are notable.  Only around 11 percent of predominately indigenous villages have a woman serving as an official municipal authority. However, attempts over the last decade by legislators, judges, and women´s rights advocates to push women into local politics have been met with limited success.  When the government of the state of Oaxaca mandated that indigenous women serve on town councils in order to promote gender equity in local politics, many women rejected the initiative.  Why would these women not embrace the chance to participate in local governing bodies that have traditionally been closed to them? While doing research in a rural indigenous village in the mountains of Oaxaca, I found that this rejection is not because these women don´t care about local politics or don´t want to be involved.  Rather, it is because the terms of political participation are stacked against them. Continue reading “Indigenous women´s political participation in Mexico: Why legislation backfires”

Can An Angry Woman Get Ahead?

by Francesca Polletta

angry womanResearchers have shown that women are usually penalized for displaying anger on the job. Women are expected to be friendly, sympathetic, and deferential in dealing with customers, employers, and co-workers. They are expected to withstand other people’s anger, not dish it out themselves.

But the research I conducted with Zaibu Tufail suggested that there may be an exception to that rule. A stereotype of women as emotionally changeable may allow them to display anger if they precede and follow it with displays of positive emotions like sympathy or friendliness. Women can use anger instrumentally and effectively that way. The rub is that the skill is likely to be seen as natural to women, and indeed, as not much of a skill at all. Continue reading “Can An Angry Woman Get Ahead?”