On any given day, one fifth of men IN THE US, compared to almost HALF OF ALL WOMEN DO SOME FORM OF HOUSEWORK. Each week, according to Pew, mothers spend NEARLY TWICE AS LONG as fathers doing unpaid domestic work. But while it’s important to address inequality at home, it’s equally critical to acknowledge the way these problems extend into the workplace. Women’s EMOTIONAL LABOR—which can involve everything from tending to others’ feelings to managing family dynamics to writing thank-you notes—is a big issue that’s rarely discussed.
In the early 1980s, University of California, Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild coined the term “emotional labor” in her bookThe Managed Heart. Hochschild observed that women make up the majority of service workers—flight attendants, food service workers, customer service reps—as well as the majority of of child-care and elder-care providers. All of these positions require emotional effort, from smiling on demand to prioritizing the happiness of the customer over one’s own feelings.
Gender norms kick in early
Stereotypical expectations about what constitutes women’s and men’s work are not simply the outmoded relics of past generations. Research shows they persist even among LGTBQ FAMILIES as well as MILLENNIAL COUPLES.Indeed, the pattern of gendered labor is disrupted primarily among SINGLE-PARENT FAMILIES.
The pervasiveness of the issue becomes especially evident when children’s chores, WHICH REMAIN HIGHLY GENDERED, are taken into account. When girls are paid CHORE-RELATED ALLOWANCES, they are likely to be paid less frequently than boys and less money than boys. The message that women’s time and work is inherently less valuable is a systemic one.
The message that women’s time and work is inherently less valuable than that of their male peers’ is a systemic one.
The message that women’s time and work is inherently less valuable than that of their male peers’ is a systemic one. It doesn’t end with chores. When men grow up and begin working in fields where their gender dominates, SALARIES GO UP. But when women work in female-dominated fields, salaries GO DOWN.
Indeed, women continue to struggle with what Hochschild called the “second shift” impact, in which they come home from a long day at work and take on the unpaid labor of housework and childcare. But many women are also effectively working two jobs while they’re at the office.
[…] Several decades later, women are still picking up a lot of the slack on office housework—with almost no recognition. A 2005 STUDY conducted by Madeline Heilman, a New York University psychologist, found that a woman who stayed at work late and offered help to a coworker was ranked 14% less favorably than a man doing the same thing. If she declined to help, she was rated 12% lower than a male peer who did the same.
Additionally, Heilman found that women’s assistance usually happens in SMALL, UNSEENways, whereas male help tended to be more visible and public. Adding injury to insult, the study found that work performed by women wasn’t only less visible, it was more consuming.