Gracy Olmstead and I had a conversation about the gaps in mainstream feminism for Mere Orthodoxy. I run a substack community, Other Feminisms, for sustained conversation on these topics.
Gracy: My husband has struggled to get paternity leave, and experienced a lot of pushback when striving to carve out time to care for our children and me. I hadn’t thought of that being a result of women not being taken seriously, but I see what you mean.
Leah: All these ways of disregarding workers as human beings fall most heavily on women. Men have an easier time than women pretending not to be human beings. It still takes a toll on them, but they can fake it for longer and get away with it. Women can’t pretend for as long.
A fully humane society respects interdependence and dependence, and considers what workplaces need to look like to take care of parents who have children—as well as people who have friends. Interdependence and dependence is not just about taking care of family. Consider if we could tell an employer, “My roommate is sick, and I’m taking time off to take care of them.” Or, “My friend I care about, who lives alone, has the flu. I’m taking off work today, and I’m going to make them soup and run their laundry.”