Monthly Archives: March 2021

Why I Am No Longer Talking to My Boyfriend about Surnames

Gigi Allen

My boyfriend and I rarely argue and if we do, we usually come to a solution. Except for one topic that we just cannot seem to agree on: Last names.

Unfortunately, my boyfriend, let’s call him Chris, and I realized that we want different things regarding surnames after marriage.

Thankfully, it has become a joke between us.

Ever since I was little, I have wanted to keep my surname. I think because I realized that if my sister and I both changed our names, our surname would die out with us.

Chris also wants to aid in the longevity of his surname. He has a strong connection with his surname and a desire to keep it as a part of his identity, which I cannot fault him for, I feel the same way about my last name.

My solution: having a double-barrelled name for both of us.

The issue is that my boyfriend is less willing to adopt a double-barrelled name and suggested that he would rather that he kept his name as is, while only I adopt the hyphenated name. This would mean that I would have some name connection to our children. However, I think this is not a fair solution.

I must note that my boyfriend is a feminist and strongly supports equality between men and women and meant the above comment as a joke mostly, so I do not mean to do him a disservice.

However… Am I going to use a whole blog post to show how he is wrong? Yes, I am.

Names are intrinsically linked with our identities. Sociologists Norbert Elias (1991) and Jane Pilcher (2017:812) argued that surnames are for connecting individuals to their family identity (1991:209). Therefore, when people get married and change their names, they are symbolising becoming one family. This is usually done by taking the man’s name.

If surnames are a way of connecting a family together and building kinship. Should the woman’s family not also be given the opportunity to be connected to the grandchildren?

Pilcher further argues that names are a way of building and displaying our sex and gender. Names contribute to how we culturally “do gender”, therefore by heterosexual women resisting the norm and choosing to keep their surname, they are “re-doing gender” and contributing to changing how we are culturally “supposed” to act according to our gender (2017: 812).

In Pilcher’s exploration of Names and “Doing Gender”, she finds that the cultural practices of taking just the man’s surname only further perpetuates the inequalities between men and women and serves as “an indicator of inequality in the gender order” (Pilcher, 2017:817):

“The perpetuation of family surname choices in which men’s surnames are favoured over women’s have been recognized by both the United Nations (1979) and the Council of Europe (2008) as a political issue of (in)equality.”                                                                                        (Pilcher, 2017: 816)

I understand the tradition and simplicity of taking just one last name. It saves future generations from choosing between two last names and trying to blend with their partner’s surnames. But I think that incorporating both surnames is an important step forward for gender equality and re-doing gender norms.

Chris argues that if we did have a hyphenated name, then our children would just have to pick between the two when they get married. He argues that this could lead to his name being dropped and forgotten. This is a fair worry in my opinion. However, is it fair for my name to be forgotten to potentially prevent the same thing from happening to his last name?

I am not saying every couple should adopt a double-barrelled surname. Surnames should be a choice rather than an expectation, something that all partners agree upon.

From the few opinion articles I have read, written by men, to understand the other side of this debate (see Fordy, Telegraph, 2015), they seem to have the view that this is their last cling to their male identity in an increasingly feminist world.

In all fairness, I can understand their frustration. It must suck to be the first male in your lineage to have to fight for a right that was just given to your forefathers.

But you know what also sucks? Not even being able to fight for that right in the first place.

It is very telling that this right, which is so thoughtlessly handed to men, is something that women have to continually fight for and defend, even today.

I am not asking for my boyfriend to take my last name and revoke his own, I am not asking for our children to only have my surname, somethings which men have not even asked but expected women to do for thousands of years. I am asking for equality. I am asking for a double-barrelled name, which would mean that both of us have equally changed and accepted each other’s names as part of our identity, while also helping to resist gender inequality.



Elias, N., 1991. The Society of Individuals. London: The Continuum International Publishing Group.

Fordy, T., 2015. It’s wrong for kids not to have their father’s surname. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 March 2021].

Pilcher, J., 2017. Names and “Doing Gender”: How Forenames and Surnames Contribute to Gender Identities, Difference, and Inequalities. Sex Roles, 77(11-12), pp.812-822.


‘Prejudice and hostility experienced/expected as a gay Asian man in western society’

Katsuya Hasegawa

‘no Asians please’ – Tseng (2019)

Unfortunately, this shocking phrase is commonly seen on gay dating apps in Western countries. Although globalization proceeds and the idea of diversity on workplace is spread over the world compared to the last century, hegemonic norm such as White heteronormativity still strongly exists.

This rigid viewpoint tends to distort our sight for considering each subordinated case. In other words, instead of seeing minority issues (like a gay Asian man in Western countries) as a sum of each identity (e.g., a gay AND an Asian man), it leads to the separatable tendency (e.g., a gay OR an Asian man). What will be tackled in this blog is to rethink the hidden bias and help listen to these invisible voices.

A ‘gay’ Asian man – gay’s struggle

In everyday life, gay people’s struggles and efforts are normally invisible. Just imagine a situation where you are talking with your friends at the university campus. Your friends may say (if you are male) ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ If this happens to gay men, they might need to correct them. ‘No, I don’t have a girlfriend. I have a boyfriend instead.’

Existences of straight-acting gay individuals are often invisible in heterosexual discourses. One of the examples is when gay people come out about their sexuality. If their behaviour does not look like a gay stereotype (e.g., feminine), they may be surprised and say something like ‘but you don’t look gay.’

When it comes to dating scene, homosexuals have disadvantages in finding their dates. For example, a classroom or workplace is one of the common situations for heterosexuals to find their dates. However, for homosexuals, it is risky to ask someone to go on a date in these situations because they do not know whether the person is also homosexual. At worst, the person might be anti-gay, spread insidious rumours, and bully you. Because of this, gay people have to use gay mobile apps or visit gay bars to meet their dates.

A gay ‘Asian man’ – Asian man’s struggle

It is often said that ‘Asian men’ are less masculine than other races’ men (Lin and Lundquist, 2013). This stereotype makes living in western society hard for Asian men. As an Asian guy living in the UK, I have experienced this notion. While queuing up for the checkouts, some guys cut in front of me. This only happened to me and I was the only non-white customer.

Another example of this is a heterosexual dating. According to Lin and Lundquist (2013), Asian women receive relatively many messages from almost all races, while it hardly happens to Asian men because of the less masculine image.

In homosexual settings, there is an actual prejudice against Asian men. In Tseng’s work (2019), Anti-Asian or ‘no Asian’ is often seen on gay dating apps. Even though (luckily) someone likes or at least does not mind chatting with an Asian guy, the next bias is ‘I’m for smooth/slim Asian.’ The stereotype of Asian men is non-hairy, slim, and/or subordinate. If a picture sent from the Asian guy to the white guy and it does not match the stereotypical image, the reaction will be something like ‘Oh, you are hairy…’


Intersectionality – problems of a ‘gay’ and ‘Asian’ ‘man’

There is a certain attempt to get beyond the existing solution to any bias or prejudice. This concept is called ‘Intersectionality’. Originally this was proposed through a recognition and analysis of black women’s identities (Crenshaw, 1989). Under the orthodox feminism or social norm, matters to black women were dealt with as either ‘race’ matter OR ‘gender’ matter, not as ‘race’ AND ‘gender’. Literally, this approach focuses on the intersection of various scales.

As mentioned above, there are prejudices based on one’s sexuality, nationality, and gender. One dominant element does not guarantee the invariant position when it is with some other element, namely male (as dominant) with Asian (as subordinate). Additionally, the existence of minorities within each minority should be taken into consideration (e.g., gay Asian). The important thing relating to the intersectionality here is that these issues do not separately but simultaneously exist. We cannot reduce one’s problem into either a gay issue, Asian issue, or male issue. All different types should be counted at the same time.


For our future

Finally, if you are struggling with any issue which you think is because of bias, don’t hesitate to say it. Remaining in silence cannot change you or the social situation. If you know someone who is suffering from any social issue, please listen to the person’s voice. Ignoring what marginalised people have to say is the same as discriminating them.  Let’s take action to change from a ‘gay or Asian man’ issue to a ‘gay and Asian man’ issue and to make the invisible intersections visible!



Further readings:

Bader, S. (2017). ‘Asian Men as Targets of Sexual Racism in the Gay Community’, American Cultural Studies Capstone Research Papers. 8.

Bracho, C. A. and Hayes, C. (2020) ‘Gay voices without intersectionality is White supremacy: narratives of gay and lesbian teachers of color on teaching and learning’, International journal of qualitative studies in education, vol. 33, No. 6, pp. 583-592.

Crenshaw, K. (1989) ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum, vol. 1989, pp. 139-168.

Jones, O. (2016). ‘No Asians, no black people. Why do gay people tolerate blatant racism’, The Guardian, November.

Lin, KH. and Lundquist, J. (2013) ‘Mate Selection in Cyberspace: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Education 1’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 119, No. 1, pp. 183-215.

Mark, A.L. (ed.) (2018) ‘This Is What It’s Like To Travel As A Gay Asian Man’, Forbes, June.


Has the status of women under COVID-19 improved or regressed?

Shuo Feng

‘In September alone, there were about 865000 women dropped out of the labor market in the United States, compared with only 200000 men. Most of the reason is that the burden of care is too heavy for anyone else to share.

stated the Deputy Director-General of UN women, Anita Batia. She even declared disappointingly: ‘Everything we worked for, that has taken 25 years, could be lost in a year.(Lungumbu & Butterly, 2020)

Women’s status in the workplace

With the development of the society, the position of housework between men and women has changed. More and more women are entering the workplace when it came to the 21st century. Women spent less on the housework because they get more chances to work outside. And under the equal pay legislation, they can get equal pay with the men if they do the same job. So they took the responsibility of getting more payments for the family like the men. In addition, the education rate of women is increasing and there are more opportunities providing for women. Some of the women who have powerful leadership even joining the management in the companies. Overall, woman’s status in the workplace is improved even though there are some situations of inequality in the promotion and discrimination.

The change under COVID-19

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic happened, there are some changes in woman’s status in the workplace. On the one hand, many people face the problem of being dismissed from companies because of the COVID-19 pandemic in American. The unemployment rate and the suicide rate increased sharply because of the economic downturn. Besides, women suffer more pressure than men because according to the Washington Post (Long & Dam, 2020) the unemployment rate of women was about 3% higher than that of men in the US under the Covid-19 in 2020. This indicates there were more women lose the job in the US in the pandemic period than the men. The women have to put more effort into the housework because it becomes difficult for them to get work in this period.

(source: Pexels )


The evidence from the UN

Bhatia said the COVID-19 could bring back the stereotype of women as ‘Housewives’ in the 1950s. The impact of the pandemic on female unemployment is known as ‘she-cession’. This means woman’s status is lower than in previous years, especially in the workplace. During the previous recession or financial crisis in the American, men are often hit harder because men dominated the manufacturing and construction industries (Antonopoulos, 2009). And the unemployment rate in these industries was often the first to bear the brunt. However, the situation of this pandemic is on the contrary. A higher proportion of women work in industries that are seriously affected by the pandemic, such as retail, leisure, reception, education, health and other fields. And when the company chooses to dismiss the women workers, it pays less damage than the men workers. Because only a small number of women can get the management position in the organizations. Hence, the women workers will suffer more unfair dismiss in the organization than men.

The nursing industry for female workers

However, some of the industries such as the nurses in this pandemic need more female workers. And in this global pandemic, woman’s power in the medical system cannot be ignored. For example, it is estimated the percentage of women work for the health care system is about 78% in the US (Drees, 2020). Besides that, there are more than 100000 female doctors and nurses in Hubei, accounting for more than 60% of the total. Among the nurses, 90% of them are female nurses (Mo et al., 2020). These women saved many lives in this pandemic. They afford the responsibility of the work and they are unselfish to help patients, and they even take the risk of getting infected. They are the patients’ nurses but more like their family members. All these women workers are prized by improvements of salary. The public should appreciate these female workers for continuing to work in their position. And with the social status of nurses get improved, it will attract more female workers in this industry.

(source: Pexels )


I think continuing to improve woman’s status in the world is important. After the COVID-19 pandemic, more women were forced to go back to become housewives again. This will not benefit the equality between women and men. However, the position of the nursing industry of women gets improved in this period and women show their power in this specific industry. Society should give more chances for female workers in other industries. In addition, all these phenomena show that gender inequality and unbalanced division of labor are the essences of the problem. In the post-pandemic-era, how to achieve gender equality in the workplace and family is a global common topic.


Reference list

Antonopoulos, R. (2009). The current economic and financial crisis: a gender perspective. Levy Economics Institute, Working Papers Series, (562).

Mo, P., Xing, Y., Xiao, Y., Deng, L., Zhao, Q., Wang, H., … & Zhang, Y. (2020). Clinical characteristics of refractory COVID-19 pneumonia in Wuhan, China. Clinical Infectious Diseases.


Choice Feminism in the Age of Instagram

Grace Baker

A couple of years ago third wave feminism, particularly choice feminist movements, were being questioned and discussed. It may seem outdated, then, to be rehashing old problems. However, in light of new Instagram community guidelines (yawn), Instagram has become a sort of microclimate of society. It highlights the ever emergent problems of choice feminism.                          

So what is choice feminism?

The original fight against choice feminism began in 2006 when Linda Hirshman coined the phrase in order to denounce it. It puts a label to concepts that had taken over feminist movements in the 1980’s. It pushed back against the strict idea that women should neglect the home and get to work. Instead, this new ideology purported that after years of oppression women should be able to make whatever choices they want. Deciding not to work, having a plethora of children, being promiscuous or not, shaving or not and the list goes on.

Women should simply be empowered in their choices and all such empowerment is deemed feminist under the choice feminist banner.

It can be seen as arising out of criticisms levelled at feminism; that it is too radical, too exclusionary, and too judgemental (Ferguson 2010). Choice feminism, instead, does not really challenge society. It ensures that everyone can be included in feminism (we wouldn’t want to lose any allies!). It also guarantees that people cannot be judged since all choices are valid and, therefore, not open to moral indignation. Choice feminism is, thus, increasingly used by women in order to present their empowerment as feminist.

For example, Emily Ratajkowski recently published an article ‘Buying Myself Back’ and not too long ago ‘Baby Woman’. She claims that her empowerment is, quite simply, owning her body and presenting it however she wishes. This has been framed as feminist activism. I think this is dangerous.

Choice feminism has the ability to take feminism out of context.

It skims over the intricacies involved, especially within intersectional feminism. Kimberlé Crenshaw highlighted the important ways in which race, gender and socio-economi

c background intersect in the lived experience of women. This theory has since been broadened to include a wide range of different disadvantages people may face. Such intersections are highlighted when we contrast the way in which @emrata, as she is known on Instagram, is able to post empowering pictures compared to Nyome Nicholas-Williams.  

Nyome (@curvynyome) posed topless wearing black bicycle shorts only. This picture was frequently taken down by Instagram as it was deemed to ‘break their rules’. This resulted in the circulation of the ‘I want to see Nyome’ campaign.




In comparison, Emily can pose fully naked but for a flower over her vulva, among many other risqué photos, and yet these pictures are not removed.

Both images comply with the Instagram guidelines as neither show full nudity nor nipples. However, Instagram explained that it was a former policy on ‘boob squeezing’ that had caused Nyome’s photo to be taken down. In my opinion, Nyome’s photo does not include any more ‘boob squeezing’ than Emily’s. Instead, she is attempting to cover more of her bigger boobs. The rules, therefore, have been applied unevenly. I think it is worth looking at why this may be the case.

Emily has white privilege, pretty privilege, skinny privilege (to name a few). Her posture is also more open and alluring whereas Nyome’s is closed off which could be seen as intimidating. Nyome’s buzz cut hairstyle also presents as more androgynous. Therefore, it can be assumed that Emily fits better into the economy of the male gaze.


Thus, though it can be incredibly empowering to freely express your sexuality and make money from it, not everyone is given this choice.

It seems impossible, then, to say that Emily’s choices are feminist.

They still buy into the commodity of women, into the male gaze, and into what society deems to be beautiful. Such ‘choice feminism’ clearly hides important aspects of intersectionality. In this case being a black, plus-sized, less womanly (on societies’ standards) individual means her choices are lacking.

So what is the solution?

We need to delete choice feminism and actually create a feminist political stance.

This includes making judgements, creating change in society, and in some cases excluding those stuck in the status quo. This is okay.

We may not always get it right. Judging is a political skill and we all need practice. It is the skill of defining and explaining what actions and choices actually benefit the feminist movement. It is creating arguments for the case and hoping other people jump onboard. We may fail. If we do, we need others to hold us accountable. Therefore, we need to be open to the risks of being political, feminist activists. We need to find ‘pleasure in politics’, as Ferguson advocates, even when it feels incredibly uncomfortable.

It is time to embrace not just feelings of empowerment in our choices, but the uncomfortable feeling of being in the realm of risk.

Emily Ratajkowski’s articles:

Instagram Community Guidelines:[0]=Instagram%20Help&bc[1]=Privacy%20and%20Safety%20Center


Ferguson, M. L., (2010), ‘Choice Feminism and the Fear of Politics’, Perspectives on Politics, 8(1), pp.247-253

Hirschman, L. R., (2006), Get To Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World, New York: Viking

Crenshaw, K., (1989), ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine’, University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989(1), pp.139-168


5 children’s books for the gender conscious family

Maxime Perrott

Reading books together as a family is one of the most beneficial ways to reconnect with each other after a busy day. But also, to share stories that reflect the beliefs and values we want our children to be surrounded by.

Research has shown that children can be seen to ‘do gender’ at a young age. Where in a range of social contexts children establish and enforce gender boundaries in ways that reflect their ideas of gender difference (Messner 2000). Therefore, it is up to us to show them that a child’s gender should not, and need not, constrain them. So, all children are free to become and be whatever they want in life.

Here I have collected 5 of my favourite books that tackle the sometimes-complex concept of gender. Along with a summary of recent parent reviews from Amazon. These are books for all the family to enjoy. They are unified in the message that every child can really be anything, and express themselves, in any way they want.

  1. Gender Swapped Fairy Tales.

This is a beautiful and thoughtful book comprised of classic tales many

will be familiar with. With the gender identifiers switched. None of the original story lines have been tampered with and the moral endings remain the same, just the characters’ genders have been swapped.

The original illustrations are beautifully designed full of colour. This book is sure to captivate the whole family and can be read together for years to come.

What parents say:

From the 10 most recent reviews, 7 are positive. These are centred around how the small change of gender seems to really impact the story telling and how it has brought to parents’ attention that some of the most loved and well-known fairy tales have shaped our perceptions of gender. The less positive reviews commented on the awkward wording of the stories and how they are at times, inappropriate for very young children.

  1. Julian is a Mermaid.

I found this to be a charming picture book. It tells the story of young Julian who, after seeing three women dressed up on the subway one day, creates himself a fabulous mermaid costume.

A story full of heart, this is a book all about individuality and at its core a champion for self-confidence and love. And if you and your family enjoy this book there is also a sequel Julian at the Wedding.

What parents say:

This book has 5 stars and over 2,500 reviews on Amazon, so definitely a firm favourite with many parents. It is described as a ‘joy’. Reviewers commented on how it is beautifully written and illustrated, pointing out how Julian’s Nana is written as being calm and accepting.

  1. What are little girls made of?

This is a clever and funny book that comprises of revamped traditional nursery rhymes with a feminist twist. Full of witty illustrations these new and improved nursery rhymes champion the idea that girls can do whatever and be whatever they want, and most importantly are the heroes of any story!

This is a fun and easy to read book for the family to share together and especially for those with children aged between 3 and 5.

What parents say:

The 190 online reviews are largely positive and emphasis the empowering message of this book. It is routinely described as fun, refreshing and a must read for any family raising girls in this ‘new and modern world of gender equality.’


However, we still have a long road ahead for achieving true gender equality. Women are still routinely missing from top jobs in many industries, and although progress has been made in some areas, it remains too slow (Kaur 2020). And a recent survey carried out for the UN found that 97% of women have been sexually harassed in the UK (Advanced Pro Bono 2021).

Figures like these, show why it is so important to normalise the idea of gender equality from a young age and really encourage our young girls and boys to become whatever they want to be. But also, to be true to themselves, and not pre-defined gender norms. 

If these are topics that interest you, and you would like to learn more, please see the ‘Further Reading’ section at the end of this article


  1. Little Feminist Picture Book (Little People Big Dreams collection)

A great book honouring 25 amazing women throughout history. Featuring politicians, athletes, scientists, artists and more, I found this book inspiring and really champions the idea that any young girl can become whatever they want to be.

As part of the Little People Big Dreams book collection there are plenty more inspiring reads to collect. Although I recommend this as the starting book for the collection. Especially for families with pre-school aged children, as it comes in hardcover and the short biographies are easy and enjoyable to read as a family.

What parents say:

Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of this collection, comments are overwhelmingly positive about this book. With 9 out of ten of the most recent reviews scoring it 5 stars. Reviewers comment on how well received the book is by their children and the inspiring women that are included.


  1. Good night stories for rebel girls/Good night stories for boys who dare to be different.

Although technically two books, I just could not mention one without the other! These are award winning, bestseller books for a reason. I found these books full of inspiring women and men, who despite of constricting gender norms and difficult backgrounds have gone on to become amazing people and do amazing things.

I think these are wonderful books to empower young boys and girls. And no doubt they will start many meaningful conversations and be enjoyed by all the family.

What parents say:

These books have received 5 and 4.5 stars on Amazon, respectively. And with over 8,000 combined ratings, parents are unanimously positive about these books. Comments note the inspirational people included and the way their children enjoyed the books. Both books have been described as must-read books and really showcase the many different types of girls and boys who have gone done simply amazing things in life.


Advance Pro Bono. 2021. Prevalence and reporting of sexual harassment in UK public spaces: A report by the APPG for UN Women. London: APPG for UN Women.

Kaur, S. 2020. Sex and Power 2020. London: Fawcett Society.

Messner, M. A. 2000. Barbie Girls Versus Sea Monsters: Children Constructing Gender. Gender and Society 14(6), pp. 765 – 784.


Further Reading:

Gender Equality in the Workplace:

Article written by the guardian, titled ‘UK still “generations away” from equality in top jobs, study shows.’ This is available online:

UK still ‘generations away’ from equality in top jobs, study shows | Gender | The Guardian

Journal article discussing some of the reasons for inequality in the workplace:

Reskin. B. F. 1987. Bringing the men back in: Sex differentiation and the Devaluation of Women’s work. Gender and Society 2(1), pp. 58-81.

An ESRC funded report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies detailing the nature of the gender wage gap in the UK:

Dias, M. C. et al. 2016. The Gender Pay Gap. London: The Institute for Fiscal Studies.


Sexual Harassment of Women:

Article written by the Guardian: ‘Almost all young women in the UK have been sexually harassed, survey finds’ This is available online:

Almost all young women in the UK have been sexually harassed, survey finds | Sexual harassment | The Guardian

Journal article reviewing literature on workplace sexual harassment:

McDonald, P. 2012. Workplace Sexual Harassment 30 years on: A Review of the Literature. International Journal of Management Reviews 14, pp. 1 – 17.

“ Leave that damned crown in the garage”

Yuyang Zhang

Indra Nooyi was told by her mother to “leave that damned crown in the garage” and tend to her household responsibilities even though she was the director of one of the most important companies in the world (Friedersdorf, 2014).

— Professional womenWhere to go

A survey by Mercer found that in 2020, only 23% of women were in executive positions, while 47% worked as support staff (Catalyst, 2020). As support staff, women are exploited as there are no defined working hours or employee benefits, which can lead to job satisfaction. Aside from this, irrespective of their job profile, women end up going through some shared workplace experiences, such as patronizing behavior of men, male-oriented corporate culture of the suppressing of women’s opinions and lack of safety standards, making women more vulnerable to harassment (WHO 2011).



The 2020 pandemic has made it worse by including homeschooling and care for the elderly in the list of household chores. Mothers were more than three times more likely than fathers to do most of the housework and care during the pandemic (Huang, 2020). The data collected from interviewing 800 Italian households during April-July 2020 also revealed that the changing patterns of lifestyle did not influence men as much. Although both husbands and wives were doing work from home, the former mostly performed their professional responsibility. On the other hand, the women had to do the office work as well as the domestic work. As a result of this, women were left overburdened.

Source: Women in the workplace 2020, LeanIn. Org and McKinsey, 2020


— Work-Life balance: Double pressure

Professional women are under tremendous pressure to develop a career as powerful as men, whilst also trying to maintain an active participation in their personal lives. A study on Work-Life Balance in Working Women (Delina and Raya, 2013) pointed out that it is difficult for married working women to balance work and life. Compared with the 30-40 year-old age group, married professional women under the age of 30 have more problems with work-life imbalance, while married professional women over 40 have a relatively better work-life balance. In terms of spouse’s occupation, respondents with the most serious work-life balance were those whose spouse’s occupation was in business, followed by spouse’s occupational marketing.



In addition, balancing family and work becomes a huge challenge for single mothers, as most of them have no support at home. According to a 2018 study by the China Women’s Development Foundation of nearly 2 million single families in China, as many as 80% of single mothers cannot obtain enough payment from their ex-husbands for the upkeep of their children,and nearly 90% of single mothers act as the major role in raising a child after divorce. In September 2019, 76.1% single moms were employed, which declined to 67.4% employed single moms with children younger than 18 years of age – within the six months since the onset of the pandemic (Pew Research Center, 2020). The 9-point drop is a largest employment gap among all parent groups, single or partnered.

Source: Unpartnered mothers have seen bigger drop in the share at work than other groups of parents.


Whether it is family division of labor or professional competition, the difficulties and challenges faced by women are once again presented in the face of this epidemic, and they bear greater pressure than ever before. Although it has been advocated that all women enjoy the same equality as men’s. However, there are in fact many difficulties to be overcame in order to realize this claim. And women can achieve their real equality only if the deep-rooted opinion of gender responsibility has been transformed, where men would be more willing to invest their energy into the family and the society offer more comprehensive system to protect their rights.


— What can we do?

With changing times, especially in the post-coronavirus era, considering the amount of energy women spend switching between office work and home, businesses and organizations need to adopt policy measures to enable men and women to balance work, family and life. In addition, organizations should also provide companies with childcare services, such as setting up childcare centers near the workplace, in an attempt to help them get some respite from their stressful lives (Sandberg and Thomas, 2020).

Perhaps the road to breaking the working woman’s predicament will require more protracted struggles and efforts. However, in the pursuit of gender equality, as individuals, families and societies, we hope that the crown of women deserves to be seen by more people.

Further reading:

Delina, G. and Raya, R. P. (2013). A study on work-life balance in working women. International Journal of Commerce, Business and Management, 2(5), pp.274-282.

5 Reasons Why Climate Change is a Feminist Issue

Sophie Creswell

Climate change is the most pressing issue of the 21st century. The warming of the planet has increased the frequency and severity of natural disasters, meaning millions of people have been, and will be displaced. Marginalised groups such as race and ethnic minorities and those with low socioeconomic backgrounds experience the effects of climate change most intensely. As a marginalised group, women experience detrimental effects of climate change. It is therefore imperative to understand why climate change is a feminist issue.

  1. Women are more likely to have low socioeconomic power.

Climate change disproportionately affects people living in poverty. Vulnerable people living in the global south experience detrimental effects of climate change, often because they have low socioeconomic status. Women make up 70% of the world’s poor [1], making them vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Women are unlikely to be the head of the household and have limited control over finances. This means women are often unable to obtain resources which would help them to escape, survive or rebuild after a disaster. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, many of the jobs available were in the male dominated construction industry, leaving two thirds of women unemployed. This demonstrates how socioeconomic status contributes to the detrimental effects of climate change on women.


  1. Women are often primary caregivers.

Women are likely to be the primary caregivers for children, making them responsible for more than just their own welfare. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women plant, produce, and prepare 75% of household food [3], yet they prioritise children, leaving little food a

nd water for themselves. This leads to under nutrition.

Malnutrition is exacerbated by climate change. In Nigeria, Chad and Niger,

Lake Chad is a crucial water source for millions. However, 90% of the lake has dried due to global warming, causing women to search far and wide for water. Walking this far uses up to 85% of a woman’s daily energy intake [2], causing exhaustion and dehydration. Due to this, breastfeeding women cannot provide vital nutrients to their babies, or indeed for themselves. This shows the direct effects of climate change on women, and the future generation.

  1. The climate crisis increases gendered violence.

After a disaster, women are more vulnerable to gendered violence. Living in fraught conditions increases stress and the possibility of violence. Because women often lack control over finances, leaving an abusive household would risk financial ruin.

The introduction of international aid causes crowds of people to congregate. In these crowds, women are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, women were sexually exploited and harassed in food aid lines. Natural disasters destroy women’s shelters and occupy emergency services, meaning help is often unavailable.


  1. Climate induced migration is gendered.

Climate change destroys homes and livelihoods, forcing people to migrate. UN figures show that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women [2]. Currently, young women migrating from Nepal and Bangladesh to India are being sexually abused and trafficked. Women are approached by ‘agents’ who promise stable jobs when they arrive in the city. Instead, these agents are traffickers, forcing women to work as prostitutes. This highlights the urgency of the climate crisis. Conditions have become so desperate that women risk sexual abuse instead of staying in climate-damaged homes.

  1. Climate change destroys agriculture, a field dominated by women.

Women dominate 50 to 80% of the world’s food production, yet they own less than 10% of the land [3]. Women work time consuming and labour-intensive hours producing food, but economic income is unpredictable. Climate change is exacerbating this hardship. During extreme weather events, women work longer hours to ensure financial stability. As a result, women spend less time in education, lowering their chances at a fairer and more stable life.


So, what can we do?

Climate change is a visibly gendered process. Gender inequality is a widespread and detrimental disadvantage. We must utilise the information we have to stop climate change and support women. How do we do this? Women possess enormous potential to help the climate crisis, but gender oppression means this possibility goes unnoticed. Marginalised women need to be given a platform to speak out on the climate crisis. Women must be equally represented in positions of control. Placing more women in policy making and implementing positions will empower women, progressing the formulation of gender sensitive climate solutions.

Climate change must be viewed as an intersectional issue [4]. We must acknowledge how race, gender and social class intersect to form different levels of marginalisation. This will progress the development and implementation of gender, race, and socioeconomic-sensitive solutions to climate change.

Climate action that disregards half the population is not valid. Only gender-sensitive climate solutions are equitable and effective.


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