Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for March 8th, 2018

A Woman’s Work Is…Everything? A Collaboration with a Purpose Post

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Dedicated to Women Worldwide

Folks, it’s International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018, to be exact), and as such, the Collaboration with a Purpose group wanted to celebrate women. I thought long and hard about it, and decided I was going to talk about what women’s work is — and I decided it must be everything, as all the strong women in my life have shown.

The first two strong women in my life were my mother and grandmother. Mom was one of the first trained computer technicians in the United States, while my grandmother was a traditional housewife — though she took care of all the bills, as my grandfather was a telephone lineman and wasn’t home. She cooked, cleaned, shopped, read books, listened to radio and TV, believed in bettering herself…and my mother also did all of that, plus learned how to be a computer technician.

My Aunt Laurice raised my father and their other siblings after their mother died when he was eleven, and she was about sixteen. She was the oldest one. She knew she had to do it, and that’s what she did…though it wasn’t easy, and there were stops in orphanages (yes, orphanages) along the way. (Their father wasn’t in good shape after his wife’s passing, and the only way to keep the family together was the orphanage. So they all decamped there, and Aunt Laurice took care of them as best she could.) She also was a kindergarten teacher, sang in women’s choirs (the last one being Opus 2000, formerly the Sweet Adelines), was active in her church, raised a huge family of her own, and as her husband (my uncle) started to decline as a senior citizen, took care of him devotedly until the end of her life.

My best female friends also do a great deal. One has been looking for work for quite some time (a full-time job in and of itself, if you ask me), and yet she drives her husband, son, and friends around, cooks and shops for the family, cleans the house, even shovels snow when she must. Another works three jobs: her main, forty-hour-a-week affair, her secondary, which is around thirty hours, and is an Army Reservist. And takes care of two kids, several cats, and maintains an old and creaky house as she’s a do-it-yourself person. And the third helped her family catalogue her beloved mother’s personal effects after she passed last year, then stayed to help the family while she continued to write and plot her books and take care of her health (as dealing with all that is a stressor of the first water).

So, rather than saying women’s work is everything, I’d like to ask the corollary: What isn’t women’s work?

I mean, my sister is an electrical engineer. And she’s damned good at it.

One of my blogger-friends, Tajwarr Fatma (who got me involved in the Collaboration with a Purpose group in the first place), just finished up medical school. In India.

One of my other good friends is married to a doctor. From Malaysia.

And the other various bloggers in the Collaboration with a Purpose group hold all sorts of jobs, present all sorts of views, and do many, many different things in a day.

As for me? I’m a writer, editor, musician, thinker, composer, and I try to help my family and friends in whatever way I can.

If all these different things I talked about don’t give you the idea that women’s work is everything, I don’t know what will. But in case you didn’t get the point, the next time you look at the women in your life, pay attention to what they do. And how they do it. Then the next time you can, tell them how much you appreciate them.

Because that’s what matters.

Now, go take a look at my fellow bloggers’ takes on the subject…(links will be added as they post):

Divyang Shah

Mylene Orillo

Tajwarr Fatma

Sonyo Estavillo

Jane Love (who again made two great pics for us, for International Women’s Day; Brava, Jane!)

Nicolle K. (updated post: Go read this now!)

Ipuna Black

Swati Kadam

Sadaf Siddiqi


Written by Barb Caffrey

March 8, 2018 at 8:00 am