In Gabriella Saldanha’s article “The Post-Pandemic University and the Caring Gap”, she writes about the pandemic from the perspective of a working mother and a researcher and about the ever growing gender pay gap. The pay in which we receive is heavily influenced by the historical division of men and women’s labor:“ paid, ‘professional’ work and unpaid ‘caring’ labour”. She goes on to quote Ivancheva et al: “women have attachments, ties and emotional commitments that are culturally and socially assigned in ways that are different to men”. Self promotion is emphasized here, as she mentions that many have responded and said that women lack self-promotion skills; however, she argues that men are better at self promoting since self confidence and assertiveness is encouraged more in boys.
This pandemic is maddening.
After reading “The Post-Pandemic University and the Caring Gap”, I’ve come to realize even more just how f*cked we are as the 99%.
Okay, maybe not to that extreme; however, the question of life during and after the pandemic has been four big red exclamation points hovering over anyone who is middle class with a dependent or overwhelming financial responsibilities. As Saldanha put it, “carers and care-free are, respectively but also relatively, time-poor and time-rich.” The time-rich have more choices as to what they want to do, and because they’re always filling that time with productive work that is more than likely for themselves, they feel “busy”. And they are busy. They are overwork-ers.
The time poor do not have that luxury of choices; instead, they’re time is handled and scheduled for them. If there are dependents in the mix, they are also subject to being pulled in both directions at any given time. To put the cherry on the sundae, their finances are not theirs alone.
Saldhana shared her own experience in the article:
Research, the most career rewarding activity, is considerably more flexible and, as a result, it has been traditionally left to fit around teaching, tutoring and, since women entered the academy, cooking, putting children to bed, and so on. This leaves weekends and summers. It is exceedingly difficult to carve a sustained period of concentrated work in such circumstances. One year I paid for four weeks of holiday camps for my kids so that I could have one month purely dedicated to research. The bill was £1,400. I was paying to work.
This made me realise two things: one, it wasn’t just the US women and carers suffering like this and two, why does anyone think a $1,200 stimulus check and 3 months home would be a smooth transition? With so little help? When will the gender pay gap be closed, if ever?
And if there is enough money to form a $2 trillion package TWICE, why not just pay Americans to stay home for 3 months? In an article published on CNBC, a model suggested that it would cost 360 million to pay American workers to stay home for 4-6 weeks.
I’m betting it would only take a single $2 trillion package to do that, but then again I did not pick Math as my major for a reason.