A few (male) bloggers have recently been asking why there are so few female bloggers talking about aid and development. Tom Murphy, who ran an online poll of popular aid bloggers, noted: “the contest continued to tilt towards men. I really have little idea as to why.” Duncan Green responded with a few suggestions. Some are definitely a bit off the cuff, including the following statement: “Men have more time on their hands – blogging with a beer late at night, when women are doing something more useful (you know, quilting and stuff).”
I get that he’s trying to be pithy, but, at heart, this is actually a serious issue that needs addressing in both the developed and developing world, that somehow just gets glossed over in his blog. On the fitting date of International Women’s Day here are my thoughts.
I’d posit there are fewer female aid and development bloggers because we have less time to blog because we’re still shouldering most of the domestic burden. It doesn’t take much research to dig out some facts. According to this study by Scott Sernau (2006) Worlds Apart: Social Inequalities, women spend twice as much time as men doing housework or caring for family members leaving us with a “leisure gap” – ie the men have time to go and drink beer and we carry on doing the laundry. According to the study this is a “cross-cultural and almost worldwide phenomenon”, so this likely applies to a female blogger in Kenya as much as it does to me.
Talking of me, I’m writing this at 9:51 pm this evening. The kids are finally asleep and my husband – who works late – drifts in once their tucked up in bed. After a full day’s work I don’t often feel that I have much energy or creativity left to blog. And when the kids are awake and we’re together on the weekend I feel guilty (rightly or wrongly) about not spending our time together. I have no idea I’m alone on this, so I’d love to here from other mum and dad bloggers on that.
For those lucky souls able to blog freely within work hours, are the poll statistics also saying something about who’s being encouraged by development agencies or think tanks to represent them in the first place?