I hope we’re all seeing and trying to mitigate how much is being dumped on women during this stressful time. Traditional gender and marriage roles/scripts have leapt back to the fore as choices have to be made about quarantine, homeschooling, work/life balance, etc. There is a woman I used to work with who I made a fake business card up for that changed her title from “Operations Manager” to “Corporate Mothering Services Manager” because the way that old-boys club worked was to reward under-performing men with promotions and then have her come in and clean up the mess. Every time something got fucked up, the brass was like, “Let’s put ______ on it.” They knew she’d not only succeed, but that she would stalwartly shoulder the burden. Why? Because that’s just what women do. Until she quit, got a better job, and left them high and dry. A year later, they still call her for advice. And she still answers the fucking questions. So much of the time, sadly, change for women comes down to how men behave and what they are not only aware of, but what they actively decide to pursue. I see plenty of exhausted women posting about this, but men need to talk about it as well. Make sure this isn’t happening to women in your homes and workplaces because of you. And talk to other guys about it as well. Actively seek out ways to support, assist, and promote the women in your life, rather than waiting for them to ask for help, because the fact is, many have been trained by the patriarchy to not.
But I digress: how are women authors handling the pandemic? Like everyone: as best they can. But research shows their careers are disproportionately suffering.
Covid-19 has created unique challenges for women. Preliminary research conducted by the journal Nature Research shows that women in academia are publishing fewer journal articles than they were before the outbreak. To get an idea of whether the same could be true for women authors in general, PW reached out to some who are also mothers to learn how the lockdowns have affected their work.
Prior to the pandemic, a study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that women in the U.S. spend an average of two hours per day more than men on domestic responsibilities. This is due in part to the fact that women are more likely to have partners who are also employed, to be single parents, and to have elder care responsibilities. Additionally, the division of domestic labor often comes down to who earns more, and women are consistently paid less than men.
This issue has been compounded by the pandemic.