We live in a patriarchal and misogynistic society. There is not an ounce of doubt about it. And it’s also true that we are trying very hard to fight it. We are trying extremely hard to bring a change. But a mammoth change like that can never happen without a very small yet the most important change in our culture. It’s the change in our linguistic choices! The words we choose, the language we speak in, and the tone we adopt matters a lot. So much so that it creates as well as can potentially destroy a certain societal discourse, be it patriarchy or racism or anything for that matter. While the linguistic compass that we need to install demands A WHOLE LOT OF changes in our vocabulary, there is one that I wish to point today on the occasion of Mother’s Day.
It is the use of this word called “Working Mom” or even a “Career woman” for that matter. The very use of this/these word/words create a virtual divide between men and women and their choice to work. It is as if women aren’t supposed to have a career. And by choosing to have one, they are identifying as something else.
Image Credit: Movie – English Vinglish
Every man and every woman and every other Gender has a choice to work or not to work. Few women choose to not work, so does few men. Similarly, few women/mothers choose to work and so does few men/fathers. But we never go about saying “Career Men” or “Working Fathers”. Have you ever wondered why?
A working woman is just that, a woman who has chosen to have a professional life. There is absolutely no need to get personal and associate her role of a mother with it. She very well knows, understands, and executes the two roles she plays in her life. One, on a professional playground and another on the personal! None of us, I repeat, NONE OF US have any right to call her a “working mom” and remind her of it. It’s demeaning, it’s disrespectful, and it’s absolutely unwarranted.
In fact, the linguistic compass of a workspace should demand all entire workspace vocabulary to be gender neutral. You have co-workers, not a co-working mom! You have a boss, not a lady boss. Women, as a part of the disadvantaged Gender in the current discourse, already have to face a lot of other issues in a workspace. By using such terminologies, we are only reminding those women of existing stereotypes and prejudices.
Our society associates the word “mom” with crazy virtual responsibilities and holds the title unrealistically high in the line of expectations. Responsibilities and expectations that obscure and overpower everything else in a woman’s life! It is time that we not only change this outdated and biased definition of the word “mom”, but also stop using it without any context.
The Way Forward
Image Credit: TV Series – Delhi Crime
We live in a world where both “Parents” share all possible responsibilities and duties related to their child or children. The division ensures that Gender plays no role in the parenting style of a mother or of a father. So, the mention of Gender in workspace is absolutely inconsequential and weird, if you ask me. If at all, the fact that somebody is working and is also a parent has to be highlighted or said aloud, use the word “Working Parent”. That’s not so difficult, is it?
Happy Mother’s Day!