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Women Are Doing More Emotional Labor Than Men And They Are Not Getting Any Credit For It


We live in a much more liberal society than the society our grandparents lived in, but that doesn’t mean that the fight for gender equality is won.

Stop for a second and just think about it.

Yes, women and men are treated much more equally than the generations before us, and yes, we are working hard to put an end to the dangerous patriarchal movement, but regardless of our efforts, there are still plenty of traditional, discriminating norms that are ingrained in some people. And as much as it pains me to say this, women are far from equal to men. It’s the truth. That battle is not over yet.

Why? Because when it comes to emotional labor, women put much more effort into doing the work than men. To those of you who are not familiar with the term emotional labor, it is the invisible, free, unpaid and often unrecognized work that we often do to keep things going and make everyone happy. Those things in life that we often consider as heavy emotional burdens, but most people refer to as ‘everyday chores’.

Women are always expected to get out of their way to make things happen, because according to the patriarchy… we’ve been doing that since the beginning of time. To top it all, our efforts often go unrecognized.

So, it is safe to say that our work doesn’t end at the office. We are the ones who usually pick up the children from school, run the entire household and make sure that everything is well taken care of. In other words, we are the glue that holds everything together.

To make things even more tragical, studies have shown that the majority of responsibility in relationships is lies mostly on women. In fact, a recent report from the United Nations showed that women do 2.6 times the amount of work that men do without taking any credit for it.

According to Dr. Michele Ramsey, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State Berks, the reason why emotional labor is considered a woman’s job is because it is often associated with problem-solving. “The gendered assumption is that ‘men are the problem solvers because women are too emotional,’” she explains. “But who is really solving the bulk of the world’s problems at home and in the office?”

I believe we all know the answer.

You see, it’s not that men are not doing any of this emotional labor. What bothers me the most is the traditional norm about the imbalance of emotional labor that has been imposed on us by past generations – “Men bring food to the table, women take care of everything else”.

Why should we praise young boys for cleaning up their rooms as if they had achieved a Nobel prize, but expect our daughters to do the same without even being asked?

It is discriminating and disrespectful.

I while I am truly grateful for having a kind, liberal man beside me who supports our fight for equality, but I DON’T WANT TO BE ASKED if I need any help. I don’t want to delegate work and have the role of general manager in our relationship. I don’t want to have the conversation about the imbalance of emotional labor, because when you think about it, that is also emotional labor.

I want for him to instinctively know what he should do. I want him to do his part without expecting to be congratulated for doing the bare minimum. I want him and every other man on this planet to understand that there is no such thing as ‘helping your woman’.

Because that is where the problem lies. In our perception of the roles that we have in society.

So, NO. We are not nagging you. When we start complaining to you about how exhausted we are from everything that we’ve done throughout our day and get mad at you for not even lifting a finger, it is because we are truly tired of everything. We don’t want to feel unappreciated for doing these ‘little things’ because society expects us to do them anyway. We want to split the responsibilities.

Our sole purpose on earth is not fighting for our rights, it is enjoying them.

So, let’s put a stop to this madness once and for all.

If we want our children to grow in a stereotype-free world and enjoy their basic human rights, we have to split emotional labor and we have to start doing that at home.

It’s not too late for our future sons to learn to carry their own baggage and it is not too late for our future daughters to realize that they should only carry their own.

We can do this!

Stephanie Reeds