Mrs. F, REGISTERED NURSE,
A UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL IN ONTARIO
Mrs. F has run a gastro-intestinal clinic for thirty years, as well as working night shifts as an RN. She was granted two months of maternity leave. Wanting to breastfeed her daughter, she brought her daughter to the hospital daily, having a cot installed in the corner of the clinic. In between tending patients, Mrs. J would remove herself to the back of the clinic and feed her daughter. This persisted until her daughter was six months old and weaned.
Mrs. K, Lead Assessor
Mrs.K, Lead Assessor and Owner,
an Environmental Assessment Company
As the owner of her own small environmental analysis firm, Mrs. K has a more flexible work arrangement than her husband. However, as she also holds the most responsibility in her firm, she is not always able to stay home and care for her children when they are sick. On these occasions, she has little recourse but to bring them with her to work.
Mrs. A, Sr Telecommunication Eng.
Employed by a Large Financial Institution
Mrs. A was asked regularly by her employer to attend meetings while on her year of parental leave. Happy to keep current with the ongoing projects, Mrs. A was also conscious and
concerned about the needs of her babies. Seeing it as completely natural, she had no qualms about bringing her children with her and breastfeeding in the meetings, even while she herself presented.
2012, 28.25"x20.5", Chromira prints
Even today, in the year 2012, women need to work a double-day in order to manage each of their responsibilities. The 1996 Canadian Census, which was the last long census undertaken before the Harper government shortened it for the sake of privacy, showed that women work a comparable number of paid hours to men, but an additional 4.4 hours of unpaid labour. Unpaid labour was estimated to be worth 319 billion dollars to the Canadian economy, which equated to 41% of the Canadian GDP. Nevertheless, this huge effort is made invisible in three ways: physically hidden behind closed doors, ideologically smothered through the biological theory of “mother’s work being a labour of love”, and economically devalued by our governments and private sectors.
These staged photographs play at illustrating the difficulties that continue to face women who chose to balance career, home life, partnership and family. Shot on location with real people, each photograph is an illustration of a real situation experienced by the mother (and father) in it. The slick commercial aesthetic connotes the ideological tactics deployed by the government through the media. As a collective, the photographs try to highlight the imbalance that continues to exist in our modern, egalitarian society, between the enduringly gendered roles of women and men.