Why the holiday season is a gender trap
Time for a feminist makeover this Christmas?
The holiday season is a gender trap with women absorbing most of the work and much of the stress
With the run up to the “holiday” season well under way we are now in full schmaltz overload. But there’s not much of a holiday about it. In fact for some it’s a lot of work. Chores are unequally divided, with women bearing the lion's share of the work. This time of the year is a massive gender trap for women. It’s exhausting just reading about it.
Someone pour me an egg nog and fetch me a gingerbread cookie while I put my feet up to recover.
It's in the numbers
Research by the American Psychological Association, tells us that only 25% of women admit to relaxing during the holidays with 44% reporting higher stress levels between Thanksgiving and Christmas In Australia a poll identified the gender difference in preparation hours between holidays: Women put in 83 hours, on average, shopping, cooking, planning parties, decorating, and more. Men put in roughly 58 hours. In the UK a Mori poll indicates that only 14% of men reported feeling stress at Christmas compared to 27% of women. Nearly 60% of men admitted to feel “not stressed at all” by festive preparations. Only 42% of women said the same. The same poll shows that 49% of those surveyed find Christmas shopping highly stressful. This is supposed to be a holiday.
Our need to create perfect Christmas rituals is dragging women into a never-ending cycle of deeply ingrained gender coded roles. Many of us grew up watching our mothers run in ever decreasing circles trying to recreate perfect moments from their own childhoods. In so doing we trapping ourselves into damaging patterns which heaven forbid we are passing on to our sons and daughters. It's benevolent sexism hard at work.
Worth a Read: Why women suffer from gender burnout
Targeted by relentless media campaigns depicting scenes of perfect domesticity, women come under increasing pressure to create a Hollywood type of day for their nearest and dearest. Media plays a large role in creating these mother-centric social norms with strong gender expectations around the holidays. Bloggers tell us how to handle all of this stress (make a list and check it twice, or take a scented bath) yet fail to mention bringing a partner into the equation or heading for the wine cooler, which seem infinitely more practical solutions.
Worth looking at: Download – Developing Resilience
Let's not forget those that will spend Christmas alone estimated to be 1 million people in the U.K. So this is why a BBC’s Christmas ad showed a single dad struggling to cope is maybe a step in the right direction.
Flip it to test it
Perhaps next year there will be Christmas miracle and women will be released from the kitchen and will move out of this sticky gender trap. This is a fun video depicting the flipping of current stereotypes.
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM GENDER BURN OUT? FOR CAREER COACHING AND MENTORING, CONTACT 3PLUS NOW.
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Dates for the Diary
March 26th Jump Forum Brussels
Making digital more human and gender balanced: challenges and opportunities in a workplace transformed by tech and artificial intelligence
- Keynote : Allison Gardner (Founder Women Leading in AI, Teaching Fellow in Bioinformatics / Maths / Computing at Keele University)
- Round table: Alexandra Van Hille (Chief of Staff Technology Belgium at Deloitte, Women in Tech leader, Ambassador She Loves to Code), Cassiano Mecchi (EMEA Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Spotify), Ségolène Martin (CEO Kantify, Ambassador Women in AI Belgium), Allison Gardner (Founder Women Leading in AI, Teaching Fellow in Bioinformatics / Maths / Computing at Keele University)
- Moderated by: Dorothy Dalton (Global Talent Management Strategist, inclusive workplace specialist)
March 28th Make the Most of Mentoring
Inhouse webinar for Ingersoll Rand Mentees on how to maximise the process to boost their careers.
March 29th Make the Most of Mentoring – Men mentoring women post #MeToo.
In-house live and virtual training session for Ingersoll Rand. In environments where most of the senior role models are men it’s important that there is a deeper understanding and adherence to best practices to advance the careers of women. This has become more sensitive post #MeToo where some men have concerns about professional relationships with junior women.
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