The mental burden would weigh much more on women than men. Do you see it?
The mental load is present in men as in women, but it is not of the same nature and is not experienced in the same way. In men, it is more professional. They are not the ones who make the phone call to the hairdresser from the office to make an appointment for the little one. The private sphere at work, for them, means managing to squeeze their running time between noon and two. And their mental load is to think about taking a T-shirt. Schools rarely call dads first!
Are women aware of this?
It’s totally internalized! Many women stop any sport from the first child. They want to bathe even if the men offer to do it! They must be the best lover, the best mom, the best pastry chef, the best at work … Have we ever heard a man say ” tomorrow, I’ll bake you cupcakes “?
How to manage this mental load?
I consider myself a feminist and yet I too respond to this educational straitjacket ! I have gender shortcomings but as a top athlete I can more easily block out my activities. At 6.30 p.m., I switch off my computer. I no longer communicate with prospects, customers. You have to stop answering emails until 10 p.m. This French culture of presenteeism is a real constraint. No matter what time of day, you have to log out. It is non-negotiable, it is a personal discipline. Women must silence their activities and cultivate assertiveness to counterbalance the mental load.
Is there a guilt because the woman is traditionally responsible for the domestic sphere?
Totally! And it will be the same for the next generation. A study shows that little girls today do twice as much housework as boys! Woman’s worst enemy is woman herself. We can’t be the best at everything. It is necessary to harmonize the times of life, while sparing the right to bring back a little personal life to work.
Men reach out to women, which is not easy for them in this patriarchal society. You have to grab that hand. Equality, parity will not happen if we do not work with men. When a husband offers to babysit so that you can play sports or go out with friends, you have to say yes! Worse yet, sometimes guilt comes with victimization. But before pulling a red ball on society, we must look at the beam that we have in the eye.
How to change mentalities?
In sports lessons in England, educational training provides that each pupil will have at least once been a referee. The little girls were thus able to say yes, no, I am quitting. They test assertiveness from an early age. Awareness is the best way out. Women all have weapons, including the right to vote in politics or trade unions, which is not used enough. It is also up to the employees and the company to ensure that this mental burden is limited, in particular through employment law. And you have to look for good practices in other countries such as Scandinavia where there is no one in the office after 4.30 p.m.!
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