Kelley Griesmer recently found herself chatting with a male colleague who found himself struggling to find balance amid the pandemic.
With his kids home from school it was hard to start working until midday, and he worried that coworkers would be questioning his commitment to his job as he dealt with distractions at home.
“And I said, ‘You realize that’s how working mothers have felt every day of their lives,’” Griesmer recalled. “… That’s a quintessentially female identity moment, where you feel guilty about work, you feel guilty about your child, you feel guilty about the fact that there’s dust on the floor.
“I think there’s a lot of men that are starting to understand that experience a little better.”
To be sure, Griesmer thinks that growing understanding goes both ways, as we’re all building empathy through the coronavirus crisis. And she doesn’t fault people who might not have thought about the vital role childcare plays in keeping the economy humming until the moment it went away.
But she hopes that realizations like her colleagues will provide footing for systemic changes going forward.
“We don’t like what’s happening to us, but we can rebuild our society differently,” Griesmer said.
Check out the latest episode of our Crisis Management podcast to hear more from Griesmer and the issues at the heart of the so-called “shecession,” and what she thinks is needed to solve them.