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Letter to the Editor: Childcare Is Not Just a Woman's Issue

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000515702.36462.43
Letter to the Editor

Editor:

I read the article, “The Unspoken Reason EP-Moms Can Work” by Dara Kass, MD, with a deep sigh. (EMN 2017;39[2]:9; http://bit.ly/2kl6hWG.) Really, after all these years, this is as far as we have come? I know Dr. Kass meant well, thanking those who help take care of our children and homes, but let's say it all together now: Child care is not a woman's issue. It is a parent's issue, and even more importantly, it is a societal issue. Only when we make it so will we make any headway on expanding affordable child care options.

The article perpetuates the myth that mothers are responsible for providing child care. Fathers “help out,” or worse, “babysit” their own children. Women, it seems, are also responsible for cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and performing other time-consuming home management tasks of low value. This expectation assumes that working, for women, is optional, and if they want careers and a family, they must be punished by working twice as hard and then feeling guilty if everything is not done to perfection.

In the many years I have been counseling medical students, only one male medical student asked me if emergency medicine is a good field if you are planning on having children, while hundreds of female medical students have asked me the same thing. How is that possible? It is possible because there is the assumption that for every male physician who becomes a father, there will be a woman to take care of all the messy details of life. Now it seems it is also the mother's job to openly give thanks to the people who assist parents. Will women's work never end?

Please reprint your article, but this time title it, “The Unspoken Reason EP-Dads Can Work,” and include a picture of a father waving wistfully goodbye to his baby.

Lucy Hammerberg, MD

Bannockburn, IL

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