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#MakingWorkVisible for International Women's Day 2020

Every International Women's Day, we ask women across Scotland to share their days with us, to highlight the unpaid, undervalued, and invisible work done by women in Scotland.

This includes the low-paid (and falsely-named 'unskilled') work which is dominated by women, the unpaid care work happening in houses across the country, household chores which are unevenly distributed (even if men think they are equally shared), and all of the mental labour which women are - say it with me now - "just naturally better at".

While the irony of asking women to live-tweet their days, thus adding to their to-do list, isn't lost on us, it's important to take the time to reflect on the gendered nature of what we see as 'work'. Not to call out partners who aren't pulling their weight (although that can be a pleasing side-effect), or to humblebrag about how much work we are doing, but because work which is vital to the wellbeing of all of us - volunteering, kinship care, marking celebrations, raising children - is still widely done by women.

This year, tweets highlighted the work that goes in to caring - the practical tasks and admin, the emotional cost of supporting a loved one, the additional strain which fears over coronavirus cause; the mental work which has to happen on a Sunday to make sure everyone goes to work or school with clean clothes, completed homework, and a packed lunch; the effort which goes into being social, into hosting friends, remembering birthdays, and keeping track of who's going where. Check out the #MakingWorkVisible hashtag to see more.

We also commissioned blogs this year, to enable people to delve further into issues around work. From diaries to artwork to academic pieces, the blogs represent a snapshot of the undervalued work done by women in Scotland: While my mind is constantly on my unpaid job as a mother, as well as my actual job, I often feel that I am failing in both areas of my life.

  • Dr Ariane Critchley explored the cost of co-production and how including the voices of service users in policy, research & design can actually result in more unpaid and invisible work. Read Ariane's blog here.
  • “Hey, I'm a nice guy. I pull my weight. It's just that my wife is naturally better at remembering those details.” For our second blog, Sophia Collins shared three scenes of the invisible emotional, domestic, and reproductive labour done by women: Read Sophia's blog here.
  • Our next blog was from Ailsa Clarke, and highlighted the varied and often unsung work which goes into caring, while also exploring some of the often negative connotations of caring. Read her blog here.
  • "When people are asked what they work, full time or part time, I never know how to answer that." For our next blog, Lynsey Calderwood took us through a typical day as a full time worker, and full time mum. Read her blog here.
  • "Under the new immigration rules proposed by the British Government, I would not be allowed to live in the United Kingdom if I had not been born here." In this blog, Molly Drummond exposed the lie at the heart of 'unskilled' work. Read her blog here.
  • If art imitates life, then one thng it certainly reflects is the invisibility of women's worlWhen family members get ill, or have operations, the additional care burden often falls on women - highlighted in this blog from Caroline MacKinnon which featured cooking, chauffeuring, shopping, admin, laundry, cleaning, activism, planning, and paid work. Read her blog here.
  • Next up we had artist Lauren McLaughlin, founder of the Spilt Milk Gallery, on the power of art to shine a light on undervalued work, and why it’s time for women to pick up a hammer... Read her blog here.
  • Vikki Stephen wrote us a blog about her 'personal experiences of being a solo mother in 2020, feeling stressed out and invisible, and being absolutely skint despite all of her hard graft.' We're sure it will have resonated with lots of you! Read it here.
  • We had a creative piece with 'Zuze's Day' written by Tariro Mapako, reflecting on her experiences of the unpaid work done by women in Zimbabwe. Read Tariro's blog here.
  • This beautifully personal piece by Jo Rowe-Tan documented her struggle to find work in Scotland, and her experiences of being in a new country while coping with lack of money, and a growing belly. Read it here.
  • As Marilyn French said "there are always the damned dishes". Equality in domestic labour still seems a far-off goal, and this blog from JW highlighted just how quickly views about 'women's work' can come to light when circumstances change. Read her blog here.
  • Our final #MakingWorkVisible blog of the day saw Celeste Majcher talking about her life with five little ones, and the work done by mothers - whatever their circumstances. Read her blog here.

 

We hope you enjoyed your International Women's Day, whatever you were doing.

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