“The best series to watch during quarantine”, “online training to do at home”, “the most sought recipes during isolation”, “activities to do with the boys”. The proposals multiply, social networks are flooded with recommendations of literary or audiovisual content and, meanwhile, a question flies over the air: When will mothers be able to dedicate themselves to any of this?
In times of pandemic, the social, preventive and compulsory isolation left – even more so – how the distribution of household chores and childcare continues to be uneven between women and men. Esther Vivas, sociologist, journalist and author of Disobedient mom. A feminist look at motherhood (Godot Editions) highlighted Clarín Entremujeres that, faced with this, “the challenge is to politicize motherhood and upbringing, to point out that it is a collective responsibility of women and men, but also of the State”. For her, “if we don’t, we will get out of the Covid-19 crisis as we have entered: with a huge care crisis”
Cleaning the home, shopping, cooking, and more are now added to schoolwork and, in many cases, telecommuting. In this framework, that idealized free time is conspicuous by its absence. “It is very difficult, being a mother and with the creatures locked up at home, to have moments of relaxation. So I think it’s so important to tell us that it is impossible to reach everything, that we are doing the best we can with the circumstances we have. And it is also essential to share the care work with our partner as much as possible, ”said the sociologist.
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Already in his book Vivas he argued that under normal conditions “being in charge of the organization of care work implies that we can never disconnect from it.”
With the female presence in the home full time in the context of a pandemic, the requirement seems to increase: “Quarantine has a direct impact on parenting. To the extent that the creatures have no school and stay at home, someone has to take care of them. And this someone, in a context where there are no grandparents or people to hire to take care of them, is usually the mother. In addition we have to continue working in the labor market, either from home or even outside, something that is incompatible with taking care of the little ones ”.
According to the International Labor Organization, women perform 76% of unpaid care work hours globally. However, women’s needs today seem to be addressed even less. “Mothers do not reach everything, which generates stress and anxiety, and we feel that we are a bad mother and a bad professional. The measures of exit to the sanitary crisis come to tell us that each one copes as best they can, ”said the author.
Today, even in households with a partner, gender inequalities can be easily perceived. Making the problem visible may be the tip of the iceberg to achieve that objective for which feminism has been fighting for years and that Vivas put into forceful words: “Care must be de-feminized”