September 5, 2016 – Labor Day
By Kristen Johnson
Today we honor the labor force. According to the Department of Labor:
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Labor Day was started in some states in 1885, and was passed in all the states in 1894. The identity of the “founder” of Labor Day is in dispute, but both men who are considered to the the founder were members of labor unions. Thus, the idea that we should thank a union member on Labor Day for our fun picnic or BBQ. (I’m a union member, so I guess you can thank me.) 🙂
In spite of this glorious tribute to workers, the Huffington Post just published an article about a study done at Indiana University that finds, not shockingly, that women continue to do the lion’s share of household chores, and she does them simply because she is the woman. Oddly enough, that holds true regardless of whether or not the woman makes more money than the man of the house, and it also holds true for same-sex relationships based on how those couples define themselves based on being more masculine or feminine.
There was one small glimmer of hope for working-women – this trend is starting so shift just a bit. According to the US Department of Labor:
From 2003 to 2015, men’s participation in food prep and clean up on an average day increased from 35 percent to 43 percent, and the time spent doing these activities increased from 16 minutes to 21 minutes. During the same time span, the share of women doing housework on an average day decreased from 54 percent to 50 percent, and the time they spent doing housework declined from 58 minutes to 52 minutes. (Huffington Post). In spite of this hopeful trend, it’s still true that women do the lion’s share of housework. On an average day in 2015, 85 percent of women spent time doing things like housework, cooking, lawn care or financial management, while only 67 percent of men did so. Women spent an average of 2.6 hours on housework on the days they did housework, while men spent 2.1 hours. (Huffington Post)
So, today, let us take our day of rest for Labor Day. Enjoy the picnic or BBQ and the time off with friends and family. Be sure to thank a union member, or someone in a service field. Bur be sure to say a special thank you to the female worker, because chances are she’s the one preparing for and cleaning up after the BBQ.
Women can rest easy in knowing that God loves all of us, regardless of our gender:
1 John 4:16 (NRSV): 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
Serve all with love.
Photo courtesy of Stocksnap.io