Updated: Apr 24, 2021
Balancing the demands of work and family is a concern for both women and men.
Given that women generally carry a disproportionate share of the responsibility for child and elderly care, the issue is particularly important to women workers.
For many women of color (WOC), the responsibility for childcare and elder care is vastly different compared with white women. In the United States of America, the majority of African American children and almost a third of Latino children are living in single-parent homes versus just under 20 percent of white children.
Most of these single-parent homes are led by women, especially WOC. WOC in professional settings tend to utilize kinship network systems (family and friends) for support when managing child or elderly care as opposed to family-friendly and flexibility workplace policies.
One bright spot, however, in the work to combat discrimination, is the moderating effect of ‘womanist attitudes’ (Velez et al, 2018). Womanism — also called intersectional feminism, Black feminism, or woman of color feminism—is a term generated primarily by and from the lived experiences, activism, and scholarship of WOC. Womanism reflects a critical consciousness that multiple forms of inequality coexist—making it untenable to prioritize combatting one form (e.g., sexism) over another (e.g., racism)—and that inequalities are structural and situated in interlocking systems of privilege and oppression (e.g., Crenshaw, 1989; Collins, 2000).
Womanist attitudes are not group-specific and can be meaningfully adopted by anyone as a critical consciousness and resistance of multiple interlocking forms of oppression (Bryant-Davis & Comas-Diaz, 2016; Henley, Meng, O’Brien, McCarthy, & Sockloskie, 1998; Moradi & Grzanka, 2017). In Remedios and Snyder’s (2018) study, their findings indicated that Womanist attitudes served as a type of barrier against discriminatory acts.
Specifically, feminist attitudes such as Womanism that acknowledge societal sexism are theorized to help women resist internalizing experiences of sexism and attributing them to personal failings, thereby buffering against the deleterious psychological outcomes of sexism (Landrine & Klonoff, 1997). Such findings suggest that any efforts to raise WOC critical consciousness should be explicitly intersectional in nature by recognizing that race, class, and gender are markers of power creating intersecting lines or axes used to reinforce power relations and forms of oppression.
The lived experiences of women, especially WOC, is differentiated by their preference for the support and personal networking of kinship network systems (family and friends) when faced with work and relationship priorities. The CEO of YouTM provides:
Peer group coaching opportunities for women to build and enhance their professional and social networks
Opportunities for women to gain critical perspectives to better manage complex relationships and relationship dynamics