Empowerment, Men and Women, Support for Change The Overfunctioning of the American Woman Written by: Kathy Caprino

Yesterday, Penelope Trunk, who writes a very thought-provoking blog – The Brazen Careerist — on careers and life trends today, mentioned my book Breakdown, Breakthrough (click here for yesterday’s post.)


She addressed a recent comment I made about women needing to stop over-functioning domestically, as they step up to greater financial responsibility for their households and emerge more predominant on the US workforce scene. 


Penelope’s thoughts were (as I understood them), that asking men to step up their role in the arena of domestic responsibility, (and clean the toilets, for instance) was just not going to happen, and we should let it go.   In fact, she indicated she thought it was “bad” to ask men to do more at home.


I truly appreciate Penelope’s insights – always fascinating and thought-provoking. But I must add to the numerous comments that were offered on her blog that my point is women need to shift away from our deep and rigid habit of “overfunctioning” – doing more than is necessary, more than is appropriate, and more than is healthy (at home, in our parenting, at work, etc.).  My research shows that women do indeed overfunction in many arenas, and it’s making us angry, stressed, and sick…and it’s holding us back in life. 


From my view, it’s time to reverse this detrimental pattern, as well as address gross gender inequities.   Women still do the lion share of domestic work, even when they work outside the home, and even when they are the primary breadwinners.  As a women’s advocate, a mom, wife, and small business owner, I know this no longer works.


But women’s overfunctioning domestically is not irreversible.  We (both men and women, and new generations) can change.  It’s certainly not impossible, and it’s not hopeless. I know…I have a marriage in which we both work our tails off as full-time business owners, yet we share the domestic responsibilities and raising our two children (not the toilets, but almost everything else!)  


I find it so interesting that women tend to resist this notion even more than men – that there needs to be more of an equal share in domestic responsibility.  Why do women fight this? 


What do you think?  Should men step it up at home, or not? 


3 thoughts on “The Overfunctioning of the American Woman”

  1. Men should not step up at home? Forget even trying? WHAT? Traditional roles have changed. Why must all the change be on the shoulders of the women? Do men not also benefit from their wives bringing in more money? Women have a responsibility to raise their sons in line with the principle that each member of the family does their fair share in the household. When they give up trying to get their husbands to participate more they also provide negative role models for their sons. I am with you Kathy.

  2. Thanks, Geri! “Fair share”…what a beautiful concept. It’s time to make happen. How? By speaking up and powering up. Appreciate your comment.

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