The amazing thing about the internet is that it is exposing gender bias at a blinding rate and bringing the conversation into the public domain. For those women in senior roles and on boards, David Bonderman’s demeaning comments were not new – what is new is the vitriol that those comments were met with and that finally there were consequences. In fact, last week we witnessed the destruction of the myth that women talk too much. Men and women use the same number of words in a day, but women are interrupted, talked over, shut down or penalized for speaking out when men outnumber them. Two great articles can be found hereand here.
There was a great chart in Statista last week that delves into how women are viewed in different countries around the world. The survey asked two questions 1) would things work better if women held high positions in companies/government and 2) is the role of women in society to be good mothers and wives? The difference in the results by country clearly demonstrates the different biases societies hold for fact. The survey can be found here.
The next article, from Business Insider, recounts the epiphany a woman had when her husband stepped back from his career in law to start his own firm and took on more of the childcare and household responsibilities freeing her up to “fire up on all cylinders at work.” In the article, the author notes that for the first time since her children were born, she experienced a reduced mental load, relief from persistent exhaustion and being overwhelmed now that her husband was there to help shoulder the responsibilities. The full article can be found here.
The comments in the article struck me because earlier in the week a very accomplished friend of mine has been asking herself how much more she could have achieved in her career if she did not have the added mental burden of being the one with primary responsibility for the children and the household. She shared with me a really striking comic titled You Should Have Asked that struck me as startlingly familiar. In the comic, I recognized myself as the woman on the couch watching tv and making lists in my head. In addition to working full time, my husband looks to me to manage all the household duties and to assign tasks to him. The interesting thing is that at work, being a manager is a full-time job but in a household setting when we are managing the tasks and at the same time executing a large portion of those tasks, we are taking on 75% of the work. No wonder we are all so tired all the time. More on the mental load that women carry can be found here.
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