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  • Writer's pictureWomEnpowered International

Event Report: WE Int. Coffee Conversations Vol. 6

The COVID-19 is now influencing the world and reshaping our lifestyles. WE Int. is interested in catching up with everyone. In such regard, on May 24th, WE Int. held the first staying-at-home coffee conversation online. Nine participants shared their own stories and offered their opinions in this lively and interesting conversation.

As we began the conversation, each of us shared stories about our self-isolation life, such as “a new hobby you started during the stay-home period” and“one way you do to stay positive”. Music, yoga, meditation, cooking and even hosting a podcast are what some of us are doing to make self-isolation more fun.

We then discussed about two topics:

How do you stay connected with friends and families?

We realized that even though we cannot meet in person, many of us have spent so much more time reconnecting with our families and friends than before. While the physical distance collapses, internet makes the virtual distance to everyone the same. Especially, the spreading of COVID-19 reminds us of the importance of caring about each other, so many of us begin to communicate with our families on a regular basis.

How does together staying at home change the division of labor in your family?

Data showed that under the lockdown, the number of female scholars submitting papers has declined sharply, while that of male scholars has not, the possible main reason being women scholars have to spend more time doing housework instead of research. During the coffee conversation, we realized that there is generally an imbalance of division of labor between males and females, no matter it is under the lockdown or before. For housewives, it is difficult to ask for help even if there is too much housework. It is no easy for female who is also working, neither. They usually have a stronger emotional labor for housework.

We also noticed that women tend to feel guilty about not doing housework or “helping out” when visiting relatives even when we were teenagers. This is a socially-constructed phenomenon that put burdens on everyone, as some suggested. Boys hesitate to do housework worrying it is “girly”, while girls are continually taught to keep it tidy at all times. One solution we proposed is to encourage males to actually involve in the housework and be aware of how tiring it is. It will also make them believe they have the ability to participate in it. Another solution is to keep track of the time housework every family member takes in a certain amount of time, and the data may help people realize the possible inequality exiting.

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