Re: male/female work issues
From: Kay Argyle (argylemines.utah.edu)
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 10:56:37 -0700 (MST)
When we were holding a lot of work parties involving heavy physical labor
(digging trenches, laying sod, shoveling sand or manure or compost,
rototilling, heaving bags of damp rotted leaves in and out of the pickup,
dragging 6" logs over to the chipper/shredder and feeding them in), I
started taking a somewhat sardonic amusement at how often the people who
showed up were ALL female.  

There were some "reasons" for it of course; our community gender ratio was
slightly skewed towards women, and the landscape committee was mostly
female -- frequently the committee members calling the work party (and
supervising it) were women, thereby providing a role model for landscaping
being a "female" job, never mind the degree of physical strength and
stamina it took.  But still!   I wondered how much it reflected a greater
level of commitment to the community from the women.

I did notice that more men showed up when we rented a backhoe or bobcat --
boys' toys.

Given that the community is presently three-quarters female, it would be
surprising if most of our committees were *not* mostly female.  Even so the
distribution partially reflects traditional gender role interests. 
Households with two parents are usually represented on the parents
committee by the mom, and we've got more single moms than single dads. 
Landscaping is all female now.  The dining committee is mostly female (but
our most enthusiastic cook is a guy).  The social committee is female.  The
common house committee is mostly female.  The process committee (which has
a fair amount of power) is about half-and-half.  The wiring (computer)
committee is male.  

Since committees form in response to enough people being interested in a
subject, if we had more guys likely we'd have more guy-type committees.

On the other hand, the management committee (the only one with legal
status, and the only one elected rather than self-appointed) is all female.

Kay
Wasatch Commons
Salt Lake City

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