• Rowan Evans

Her Story: Is Lockdown a feminist issue?

Ask any working mother and they will tell you there is no such thing as having it all. Sure, you can DO it all, but that is almost always predicated on an extremely complicated juggle of childcare, support and compromise.

I have two small children and I work part time, so like many others like me, my life is a delicate balance that takes effort.

That balance was totally upended on the 24th of March, as it was for nearly every other working mother in the country.

Now, before I go on, I have to point out that I recognise how fortunate I am. I only work 3 days a week, I have a great employer and I can easily work remotely. I have a safe, secure home and I feel supported by my husband.

However, if you ask me, lockdown has set the feminist movement back decades. For women like me, who are not the breadwinner, and have small children, lock down has meant at least a partial shut down of their careers.

We had to work out fairly early on how we would juggle a one year old and a four year old while we both tried to work. And given my husband's industry and workload, the majority of that care almost immediately fell to me.

I accept this, and have just got on with it. But I can't lie and pretend that I didn't resent the fact that I had to let work project slide, and plough through zoom calls while building Duplo towers and rolling out Play Doh.

And a few weeks in I see I am not alone, from high profile influencers to business owners to a friend who is a COO of a major international bank, women in general are bearing the brunt of the domestic load and work is having to take a second place.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics bears testament to my hunch, with women reporting stress levels 24% higher than men during the corona virus crisis. This could be down to a range of socioeconomic factors, such as higher unemployment among women than men. But in short, it seems to be impacting women slightly more.

And it is hard. My company is largely made up of men, or younger women who are not mothers. So I do feel incredibly out of the ordinary when I have to move calls so as not to clash with bath time, or mute my microphone to drown out Mr Tumble.

Of course, this is hard for us all, in different ways. Same storm, different boats. Working men, fathers and those without kids will be having their own battles. Key workers and healthcare professionals will no doubt crave time at home with their families. While I am sure there are many women who are nailing the juggle and won't relate to this at all.

We will get through it, and life will return to normal. But perhaps if nothing else, this process should teach us all to appreciate the stay at home mothers that bit more....because if you ask me, its the hardest job in the world.