Recently, during a women’s leadership program I was facilitating, a participant, Amy, had an insight. She had been complaining about being exhausted and stressed all the time while trying to juggle a full-time job and family life—she loved her demanding job and her family, but she had no time for herself and was tired all the time. What was her insight? She realized that her husband expected her to do almost all the work of maintaining their home and family and did not really do much to share this load. She had never seen so clearly that she was carrying an unfair share of the burden, and she had also taken it for granted that this was her role. She now began to question these assumptions. In a previous blog, I wrote about the costs to relationships and women’s careers when both partners do not share the responsibilities for family and home care equally. I also wrote about the ways that we, as women, collude in keeping this imbalance in place as Amy was doing as well as the ways we can reverse this imbalance. Tyler Cowen of the New York Times writes that in several ways, women are in fact working more while men are working less. He explains that the Great Recession had a major impact on labor supply numbers:
- In 2014, about 12 percent of American men ages twenty-five to fifty-four neither had jobs nor were looking for them, compared to 8 percent in 1994.
- Fewer than 20 percent of men over the age of sixty-five are in the workforce.
- Fewer teenagers have jobs—35 percent, compared to 55 percent several decades ago.
- Lower earnings from the gender wage gap mean less savings and social security for women.
- In 2010, women received one-third less than a man’s average benefit for social security.
- At age sixty-five and older, women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished.