Ever since women have joined the workforce, they have been hassled by stereotypes such as: she must not be a good mother, she doesn’t know how to cook, she doesn’t take care of her husband, etc.
So, as a reaction to these stereotypes, women have insisted on showing us that they can do it all. Dedicated employee, devoted mother, amazing cook, nit-picky cleaner, thoughtful wife, those are all the roles that a woman is supposed to assume to prove to society that yes, her having a job does not negate her worth as a woman and a mother.
But can women really do it all?
The truth is, countless women have proven it. My own mother is constantly referred to as Wonderwoman, being the mother and caretaker of six children and helping part-time at the family law firm.
Women can do it all. But they shouldn’t.
Women should not have to stretch themselves thin in order to meet every outdated societal expectation dumped on them. A man would never be expected to work 8 hours a day, get home, cook, clean, help with homework, and do childcare all by himself. And yet women somehow are: according to a UN Women Review, women globally do 3 times more unpaid work than men related to housework.
These already bad statistics have worsened during Covid-19. According to UN Women, women are more likely to leave the workforce due to already low salaries and expectations to carry the brunt of the household responsibilities.
On 2020’s World Economic Forum Gender Gap report, Lebanon ranked 145 among 153 listed countries:
Women’s labor market participation is 29% opposed to 76% for men according to UN Women, with the concentration of working women being between the ages of 25 to 29, and seeing a significant decrease for those above the age of 30, according to a study by the LAU’s Institute of Women’s Studies in the Arab World.
This Wonderwoman stereotype not only does not empower women, but actively perpetuates the harmful stereotype that motherhood and homemaking are more valuable than a career in a woman’s life.
Yes, Wonderwoman does exist, but she is exhausted, overworked, emotionally neglected, and underpaid.
It is time that men and the government, especially during this economic crisis, realize the lucrative benefits of allowing women (half of the population!) into the workforce in ways that allow them to be productive and liberated.