i was having a conversation a couple of months ago regarding the amount of work involved in getting a child into university, especially if they are studying away from home. there are the varies universities to be checked out, application forms to be filled out, student loan forms, checking out hostels, hostel applications. then there's all the work leading up to the day - getting all the shopping done, ensuring your child is connected with friends who live there, organising bank accounts, taking them up & settling them in.
the group of women i was talking were unanimous in their agreement that all of these things were a mother's job. their main reason was that there was no way that men would be capable of doing all these tasks correctly, of taking care of all the details.
needless to say, i was gobsmacked. i said: these males can hold jobs, run their own business and take care of any number of things. why wouldn't they be able to do any or all of the tasks listed above. but the women were adamant that this was all women's work that men just couldn't do. only one gave an alternative explanation - that her husband worked such long hours that if she left this sort of thing to him as well, she'd hardly get to see him at all. therefore, she felt it to be her responsibility.
just in case you're wondering, these were all women born and brought up in new zealand, caucasion and all 40 or over. i dont' know if that means anything. but there i was, the only ethnic woman, being the odd one out again and fighting another losing battle! i found it funny the way normal stereotypes were turned on their head.
the more pertinent question, though, was why these women had such low expectations of their menfolk? and why such little faith in their abilities? is this a common thing? are there hordes of women out there who think men incapable of doing things like this? and if there are, then what makes them think this way?
could it be the way so much of male behaviour is infantilised these days? or traditional values around what is women's work and what is men's work? i'd be interested to hear any other explanations.