In the aftermath of the 2008 economic downturn, two of the hardest hit industries were manufacturing and construction. As a result, men became unemployed at a higher rate than women, and consequently, women—for the first time ever—became over fifty percent of the employment. This "mancession" gave rise to great debate over the place of women in the workforce and the important role that employment plays in shaping male identity. An intervening critique came in the form of the "momcession" discourse that focused on the impact of the recession on mothers, who were often responsible for caretaking, homemaking, and providing the primary income for the family. This paper explores the interplay between mancession and momcession, and what each discourse expresses about the right to employment, workplace privilege, and discrimination against caregivers in the workplace. The paper subsequently investigates claims of caretaker discrimination, brought by both men and women, and finds that men and women alike suffer from the illicit association of carework with feminine concern and the circumscription of carework to the home, exclusive of the working world.
Joan C. Williams & Allison Tait,
"Mancession" or "Momcession"?: Good Providers, a Bad Economy, and Gender Discrimination,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol86/iss2/14