International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day
Dear Trinity Families,
Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day (IWD). The facts: IWD is a global holiday and is celebrated annually on March 8 to pay tribute to the cultural, political and socio economic achievements of women. The origins of IWD are from labor movements in Europe and North America in the early 20th century.
In looking at the website for International Women’s Day 2021, I was struck by something that has become increasingly apparent to me during the global pandemic, namely (and excerpts taken from the website):
- Help forge a gender equal world
- Calling out inequity is key
I was reminded of the New York Times Series The Primal Scream: A series that examines the pandemic’s effect on working mothers in America. Also included or associated with the series are two instructive articles that shed light on mothers during a pandemic.
The first article is America’s Mothers Are in Crisis: Is Anyone Listening to Them? This article details mothers as caregivers, earners and teachers all at once, the unequal division of labor at home and how the mothers are at a point of breaking (if not already there).
The second article is How Society Has Turned Its Back on Mothers: This Isn’t Just About Burnout, It’s About Betrayal. In this article, the writer notes mothers who are confronting impossible choices – daily. To send their child to school and risk viral exposure, taking a day off of work because of a family care issue, or relenting on the iPad rules and letting unfettered time just to get a time of quiet solitude.
Let me be very frank – and state the obvious. I’m not the one who should be writing the missive on International Women’s Day, a gender equal world and calling out inequity. As a father myself, I flinch when I think about my now grown children and the unequal division of labor as Tracy and I were raising our children. Summary: Tracy did the vast majority of the work and caretaking. While I noticed, I’m not sure the notice was impactful. Perhaps it was because I was raised with 6 brothers and 2 sisters, my father was a firefighter in San Francisco and my mother worked at home. That was the model. Should I have known better? I suppose so.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean mothers and fathers, pandemic or not, need to be complicit and accept the inequity. Do we ask ourselves, as Trinity parents, about inequities in the home? Are we doing anything to forge a gender equal world? Are we fearful to have the discussion? Are we too busy to have the discussion? Might the dialogue cause too much discord?
I ask these questions not in a rhetorical way, but in a real way. The facts about inequity are indisputable. And if we don’t ask the questions, and work to find the answers, the next generation of fathers and mothers may perpetuate the inequity. And this next generation of parents are at Trinity School every day.
I realize the topic is a complex one (and it doesn’t even touch upon the myriad of other inequities, blatant or ingrained, in workplaces where women are asked to prove themselves, and reprove themselves, despite being more qualified, in ways men rarely are). Yet to not approach the frame, even from my lens, would further push forward the complicity and inequity.
I encourage you to read the articles, visit the website, and make today more than a single point of reference. Start or continue the conversation in your home.
Have a good evening,