I’m thrilled to bring you a piece by E. Cain, a new contributor here at Gender Focus. She’s a student and activist from Toronto, Ontario, who graduated from McGill University with a degree in Political Science and Women’s studies and is currently pursing a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about women’s rights and dreams of the day when there will finally be gender parity all levels of the Canadian government.
Arianna Huffington, publisher of the Huffington Post, and Cindi Leive, editor of Glamour Magazine are declaring sleep the feminist issue of 2010.
These women focus their attention on workaholics, women who feel they don’t belong in the ‘boys club’ so they attempt to work harder and longer than the next guy (in the process depriving themselves of sleep). Using the mantra ‘sleep more, do more’, Huffington and Leive challenged the women of America to join them on a one-month sleep challenge.
I’m sorry but let’s be real. There are many more reasons why women are tired.
Huffington and Leive are speaking to a small demographic of privileged women who can afford to take a nap. This is not the case for the majority of women. Personally, having been raised in a single-parent home, I saw how difficult it was for my mother to balance a demanding career, raise two children, and take care of all the responsibilities in the home by herself. She didn’t have time to take a nap; she was too busy working in order to feed and provide for her family.
Paying attention to sleep is certainly a useful feminist tool. It enables us to understand just how much work women are over-burdened with as mothers, wives, primary child care providers, workers, etc.
But, if sleep is to become the next feminist issue in Canada, then we must challenge the government to implement a national child care program and reinstate legislation on pay equity. We must also continue to challenge men to step up and take an equal role in the private sphere.
Until fundamental changes occur within society, women will always be tired and taking a nap will remain out of reach for most.