For a woman who has been known to yell about The Patriarchy, these are tough times. Even though I am not an American, I was dismayed to see Elizabeth Warren drop out of the US Democratic race earlier this week, and the 2020 presidential campaign devolve into a competition between old white men once again. The fact that a woman has never held the top governmental role in the United States, or in Canada for longer than five months (shout out Kim Campbell!), is staggering when you think of the impact that that has had (or in this case, has likely not had) on policies around reproductive rights, maternal mortality and child care.
I also saw an article on the New York Times this week that estimated that globally, if women were paid minimum wage for the amount of unpaid labour they did around the house and caring for family members in 2019, that work would have been worth $1.5 trillion.
This is why sometimes, I have to yell about The Patriarchy. Things are getting better, don’t get me wrong - the heterosexual men in my social circle are woke dudes who help clean the house, and race out of work to pick up their kids from daycare, and do their own laundry. The women in my social circle have careers, and autonomy over their lives, and for that I gratefully acknowledge the work of generations of feminists who came before us.
The gender pay gap in Canada narrowed in 2019, but women still earned 87 cents for every dollar earned by men. And when you look specifically at wages earned by racialized women, the ratio is even worse. And that’s just for paid work. Most of the women that I know who in are in heterosexual relationships are still doing the lion’s share of emotional labour in their homes; writing the birthday cards, coordinating family get-togethers, remembering when the towels in the bathroom need to be changed.
My life is FULL of amazing women. Women who have overcome hardships of every shape and size, and give their whole hearts to the people and the work in their lives. But these women need support! We need appropriate representation at all levels of government, and support from partners and employers to continue to work towards closing the gaps in both paid and unpaid work. Women deserve better. We all deserve better.