A Continued Call and Support for Gender Equality

  • November 17, 2020
  • Sandra Shime

This week, as women worldwide rejoiced watching Kamala Harris shatter the political glass ceiling in the United States, I reflected on a talk given last month by Sheryl Sandberg. This talk took place at the virtual launch event for #StraightTalk, which is a series of interviews organized by the employee resource group Women@Meredith, that discuss new challenges and stressors facing working women during the pandemic. Sandberg implored young women not to do their boyfriends’ laundry. While that might seem trivial, Sandberg used it to express that equity begins at home early citing the idea of the “double shift”. The “double shift” posits that women work two shifts; one at work during the day and the other at night with family. In a report entitled Women in the Workplace, by LeanIn and McKinsey & Co, Sandberg affirmed what many of us know: that women perform 70 hours of housework and childcare each week while the average man completes 50 hours of the same work. Recently, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce She-Covery Project, which focuses on the gendered economic impacts of Covid-19 in the province, found that, due to Covid-19, women’s labour force participation was at an all-time record low. The pandemic has shifted childcare primarily back onto mothers weakening decades of progress towards gender equality.