Flashback to a frilly white apron covered in flour from the bread baking in the oven. Flashback to vacuuming in heels, all smiles when the husband comes home from work. Flashback to putting band-aids on boo-boos and wiping away tears on sticky faces.
Reality Check: This is where the state-of-the-world is leading us. Feminism is in regression.
The pandemic, despite arguments and blame-games, is nobody’s fault. However, what we are allowing it to do to our “progressive” society can be blamed on America’s communal pool of thought.
America, on the outside, may look like a revolutionary and forward-moving country, but inside, the story is much different. Like many other places around the globe, minorities in America are suffering every day; struggling for acceptance, struggling to be heard, and struggling for justice. Women are one of these minorities.
For years, women have been fighting to have the same rights and the same respect as men. There has been significant progress, but the road is long, and there are many more obstacles to defeat. But, when COVID-19 struck, the progress halted, and feminism started to regress.
When Life Turned Remote
The pandemic hasn’t only affected women, of course. When America went balls-to-the-walls with sanitizer and mask-wearing, men now worked remotely from home too, and our children learned from home as well.
However, with the “man-of-the-house” typically securing more income because of the gender pay gap, many women were forced to ditch the work-force and play full-time housewives like a classic episode of “Leave It To Beaver.”
Women were pressured to quit their jobs or cut their hours and help homeschool their children while their husbands worked remotely from their home office or the couch. These same women were also expected to cook dinner, clean, and handle other household duties while their husbands got half-dressed for a Zoom meeting with their team. Of course, this is not the situation in every case, but it is a standard that reflects the traditional roles thrust upon us by society.
Traditional thinking paints the man as the provider and the woman as the caregiver. The pandemic, which shifted us into an unfamiliar experience, forced the use of society’s traditional roles as a safety net in order to help us feel as if we were in control. But, how in control are we now of our place in the workforce?
Women’s Workplace Woes
American women have been fighting for a respected spot in the workplace for decades. Strides towards securing this have been made, but it is not uncommon for a man’s face to grin boorishly when the mention of a female CEO hits the midday watercooler meet-up.
In order to work on their careers, women secure child care providers or enroll their children in schools. Without that necessary aid due to social distancing and quarantine, women have had to either balance both their work-lives and homelives at once (which is oftentimes impossible) or say adios to their careers, their passion, and their financial independence.
Due to the pandemic, the gender pay gap and equal respect, are put on the backburner in the fight for women in the workplace. Now, women are actually fighting to keep their spot in the workplace, fearing that it may be occupied by a man once America regains its normality.
The Future Fight
In light of all that is happening, the future looks bleak. Already, women have surrendered their work badges to provide for their families in other essential ways. Many offices have reopened, sending their employees back to the daily grind. However, many of the swivel chairs around the conference desks are empty. These are the seats of the female employees who are being urged to stay home to homeschool their children or watch over them as they learn virtually.
Without women in the seats of the office, their voices are not heard. Men, once again, gain control over the workplace, giving a big middle finger to the importance of diversity. The many dimensions of the female CEO are stifled, and the fast-talking, slimy, rich businessman is once again normalized in our society.
Do we stand here and let our careers be taken from us? No. To have an impact, we must be seen.
Let us continue to fight for our own cubicles, our own cup of crummy office coffee, and for our powerful voices to be heard. We have earned our place in the workforce, we cannot let it be taken away so easily.