Has Covid Killed Women’s Rights?
While nearly half of the men interviewed claim that they are doing most of the homeschooling; 3% of women agree. The fact that 80% of the women say they are doing the majority of homeschooling, combined with past research that reveals men consistently overestimate the amount of work they do in the home, points to the likely conclusion that women are taking on the lion’s share of the work.
Megan Lutz, an OB/GYN in the Toledo area, relates that a medical journal article she read notes that a majority “of male physicians have someone else taking care of most home tasks: bills, yard, laundry, groceries, kids. [A small percentage] of female physicians have [those same forms] of support.”
In a study of married physicians with children, men reported that 82% of “all or most” household duties were performed by their spouses, as opposed to only 5% by the spouses of women physicians. The majority of child rearing and household responsibilities still fall on women, even if they are physicians, and research shows that 40% of women go part-time or leave medicine completely within 6 years of completing their residency. Women, with the majority of child-rearing and household duties, subsequently look for jobs with flexibility that allows them to work from home or call in when there is a snow day, a sick day...or a coronavirus pandemic.
Combining the statistics above with the fact that 55% of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April were jobs held by women, earning this recession the nickname the “shecession,” it’s clear that women (especially nonwhite women) are taking the brunt of coronavirus job losses.
While more women have lost their jobs, female doctors have less household and childcare help than their male counterparts and most women — even when still working full-time from home — are taking on the job of teacher, it’s no surprise that moms everywhere are burnt out and overwhelmed.
Sylvania mom Tonia Davies and Toledo mom Kelly Flenner, both took on the majority of homeschooling duties,but are able to laugh instead of complaining, joking that the “definition of ‘doing’ and ‘done’ are completely different depending on [which parent] you talk to.”
Bridget Adams-Brewer takes the same stance, using humor to lighten the situation, saying, “[My husband] does the dishes one time a week but talks about it three times. As you can imagine, we do dishes 2-3 times per day.”
Jen Linehan, who owns Beautiful Blooms by Jen in Sylvania, explains that her husband, who is a high school teacher, “does 100% while I’m at work!” The percentage of men taking over all household duties plus homeschooling may be small, but they are out there.
So help out the women in your life. Women have fought for equal rights for centuries, and just as we reached equal employment levels with men (although benefits and salary are still lagging), COVID-19 hit and women across the country lost their jobs.
Published in print and online in Toledo Parent.