I was recently in a conversation when someone brought up the topic of gender in caregiving. I never really paid attention to this matter, beyond realizing that I was a stereotypical oldest daughter caregiver. Stopping to consider the topic as I drove home, I have to say I find it frustratingly limiting and find it creates a predisposed bias toward the expectation that certain roles will be filled by the female of the family. Gender discrimination is like race or religious discrimination. We are all people and those who choose to see things through any filtered lens (be it gender, race or religion) are limiting themselves from seeing the full spectrum of our shared humanity. Why can't it be that family caregivers are able to be just that, family caregivers with each member actively participating in the care of the ailing member? It is a curious exercise to consider where you and your own family fall within the unassuming bias of gender when it comes to assuming which sibling will give day-to-day care vs. which will manage finances. Do labor divisions need to exist at all? I may have been guilty of this bias myself when I, for too long, did not even consider that my brothers could help me. Why was mine the job that needed to be walked away from order to give full time care? Why was I the adult child put in charge of our parents care? In retrospect, it may have been simply expected of me. It all moved to fast to even think about at the time.
My question to you today is... when you stop and think, are there any tasks that could be more evenly distributed within your family when you remove the labels of male and female and pull back from assumed expectations?