It has been clear for a long time now that women carry the largest mental burden in the household. Every day, we have to deal with an endless amount of small yet engaging tasks and subsequently have to actively remember a whole bunch of things. If we forget anything, it probably won’t be done until…we remember it the next day. And the sad thing is, most women have come to see these mundane household tasks as our jobs.
While the feminist movement has changed people’s perspectives on traditional gender roles, household duties are still predominantly viewed as female affairs. These arcane views, now inflamed by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, have further resulted in much pronounced mental health problems for women everywhere.
According to (not so surprising) research studies, most of the additional child care burdens necessitated by long school closures during the pandemic have fallen on women’s shoulders. These burdens include the roles of supervision at home and distance learning and the emotional baggage that come with dealing with children during a period that only arouses anxiety, apprehension, and confusion.
Some analysts predict that the adverse effects of these additional physical, financial, and mental burdens will not only be felt by individual women but also the society at large, and for quite a long time. Really, adding the worries of the pandemic and additional chores to the often invisible, unpaid, and highly exhausting job of motherhood is neither fair nor sustainable.
Widened Gender Disparities
As much as the pandemic has been disruptive across the board, the effects have not been the same for men and women. For one, women experienced higher rates of job losses and pay cuts than men. These, coupled with the additional roles of looking after the elderly, sick, and of course, the children, have had massively negative effects on mental health in women. According to new research, cases of stress and anxiety have gotten more pronounced among women than men during the pandemic era.
Naturally, there will come a time when most women won’t be able to handle the ballooning mental load and some will simply collapse under their weight. Of course, the most noticeable effect of this will be on the economy, seeing as an increasing number of households have female breadwinners. Society’s overall mental health will also take a downturn, which will effectively hamper the decades-long push for a gender-equal future.
To avoid these potentially permanent repercussions, we need to not only acknowledge and appreciate the mental loads that women carry but also get over the idea that the mental responsibilities of the household belong to women. And that should start now.