Across the worlds there is a lot of working for FREE :
Patriarchy expects that women to be caregivers and wants men to be breadwinners. Today, we’re living a hybrid version of that – men are still breadwinners and women are still caregivers but a lot of them are also breadwinners now. That only means that women have more work than before – one in the public space that pays them less than men, and one in the private space where they take care of their homes, their partner, children and the elderly – for free.
Perez rightly says, “There is no such thing as a woman who doesn’t work. There is only a woman who isn’t paid for her work.”
In the formal workforce, women are paid less, they encounter glass ceilings that restricts their career growth and do not support natural biological life stages like pregnancy, menopause, and caregiving to elderly relatives. At home, depending on their socioeconomic location, it is mostly women who perform a large share of domestic work, including caring for the family. At home the data cited by Perez in her excellent book Invisible Women ….
“Globally, 75% of unpaid work is done by women, who spend between three and six hours per day on it compared to men’s average of thirty minutes to two hours.”
But increasingly in households with sufficient disposable income that labour is less physical (laundry and housecleaning services, grocery/meal delivery, etc.). But part of the territory of being a woman (professional or otherwise) has everything to do with the management of that which is not the physical labour of the household but what has been termed EMOTIONAL LABOUR such as: grocery lists, pharmacy pick-ups, family birthdays, cupcakes, sympathy cards. The list is endless. In fact women have the longest job description ever written with no ‘pensionable age’ in sight.
But what has this got to with menopause?
Well, actually a lot!
Menopause impacts our brains and many women can have problems with executive function, meaning the area of the brain that affects memory, flexible thinking, and inhibitory control. Executive function refers to 5 characteristics:
Organizing and planning
Initiating tasks and staying focused
Self-monitoring (on what you’re doing)
During menopause, lower estrogen levels (estradiol) can affect dopamine and noradrenaline levels in the body. Executive function depends on dopamine and noradrenaline in the prefrontal cortex. Too much, or too little dopamine and noradrenaline can cause executive function problems.
That means if we are overloaded with emotional labour this will contribute to anxiety, depression, mood swings and feelings of ‘fogginess’ and the resulting loss of confidence in our own abilities. This shows up at work but also at home.
What steps can we take to address this hot-button issue?
One of the most exciting approaches I have come across to date is ‘Fair Play’ created by Eve Rodsky. She surveyed more than 500 couples across the US to figure out WHAT the invisible work in a family actually is and HOW to get it done effectively–in a way that makes relationships even stronger.
Fair Play is a to create a life-management system to help couples both rebalance all of the work it takes to run a home and reimagine their relationship, time, and purpose.
This week’s episode of Thriving Thru Menopause I am joined by Dr Regina Lark, a feminist historian, professional organizers with a special interest in ADHD and coauthor of Emotional Labour
Tune in to hear Regina offered additional wonder insights into how we have reached this place where women shouldering 2/3 or more of the unpaid domestic work and childcare for their homes and families. Let alone the unpaid and unpromotable ‘jobs’ we do in the workplace too.
Are you ready to try Fair Play and support yourself through menopause?
Let’s deal you in.
I am slowly returning from my vacation as the weather turns cooler and so hopefully I will be turning up with more menopause support, news and views from around the world.
Welcome to all my new subscribers I hope you gain value from this space.
As always please drop me a line, send me your comments and questions
To balance estrogen dominance you need to take progesterone. I highly recommend a book by Dr. Lee called “What your doctor won’t tell you about menopause”. Best book I’ve read on the subject and recommended it to many women.
WE ARE THE CEOs OF OUR OWN HEALTH and need to take the reigns.
Bio identical hormones is the ONLY WAY. NO SYNTHETIC hormones. They are bad news.
Read the book. You’ll be so happy you did! ❤️