The gender wars inspire finger-pointing. The gospel offers another way.
TIME recently published a piece on housework and parenting asserting that until men share the “invisible workload that drags women down,” women will never be free. Lisa Wade reports on a study by sociologist Susan Walzer in which “Walzer found that women do more of the intellectual, mental, and emotional work of childcare and household maintenance.” She writes,
We have come a long way toward giving women the freedom to build a life outside the home, but the last step may be an invisible one, happening mostly in our heads. To truly be free, we need to free women’s minds. Of course, someone will always have to remember to buy toilet paper, but if that work were shared, women’s extra burdens would be lifted. Only then will women have as much lightness of mind as men.
Wade is exploring a well-known and seemingly unresolvable debate: In a post-industrial society where the home space is often cleaved from the work place, who does the domestic work around the house? How do men and women share (if at all) the tedious work of mopping floors, changing diapers, and dashing to the grocery store when the milk runs out? And for those who work outside the home, how do they balance both?
In her recent book, Unfinished Business: Men, Women, Work, Family, Anne-Marie Slaughter argues that in order to understand the unique challenges that women face, we also need to understand the unique challenges that men face, and in order to find tenable solutions, we have to treat the enigma not as a “woman’s problem” but rather as a broader “caretaking problem” that involves both women and men. As Christians wrestling with the biblical vision of God’s unique design for men and women, this …
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