Obituaries, Women’s History Month, & the art of women’s work

Women's History Month
Women's History Month...a thought


Obituaries, Women’s History Month & the art of women’s work

For a month last year, I started noting the number of female obituary columns to male  in the New York Times .  I soon realized that my guess  was correct.  A greater number of men were listed each day than women.  I did no research about why this was the status quo.  I did think, however, that there were many unsung heroines out there.  The women who do  the “women’s work” so the men can do the “real stuff”; the women who tell the men, yes you can, when they feel in their gut, no I can’t; and the women who give their sons unconditional love that makes it possible for them to thrive in this world.  (And of course, women do  things for women too. )

It must just be that we don’t get the value of what women do, we can not monetize it, quantify it in a world that spins on numbers and production.  What would we say, gave 4 hugs today, pitched in with extra information at work 3 times, and bought my man two of his favorite goodies at the store?

I remember when I was first married, I wanted to be Martha Stewart.  That was until I found out how hard it was to work and then do all the wonderful things women at home do.  Somehow, some marketer convinced my generation that we could have it all:  a successful job, family, and a signature dish to serve the stars.  I bought in and it took me way too long to buy out.  I can’t do it all and I’m glad I no longer want to, and these days I strive for balance.

We need to commend women for the balance they bring to the world and not just in the obituaries, but  for the history they quietly weave every day.  But who knows:  a few extra obits in the yearly average might  be a place to start.

For some interesting resources on women’s history, see:


2 Replies to “Obituaries, Women’s History Month, & the art of women’s work”

  1. That’s an important thing to notice. There are examples all over the place. We haven’t had a woman president yet. Marlon Brando and Paul Newman (whom I adore) received more attention than their female counterparts, Gena Rowlands and Joanne Woodward. When we talk about the people in the top 1 %, we always seem to identify the men rather than the women. If the men are married, presumably their wives share in their wealth. There are also fewer female executives than male executives. Etc.


  2. thanks for the many examples … also I am now more intrigued by Lord Byron so you will have to fill me in on more of your work on him. Spring and longer days are on the horizon, hark I see people in my future. I really miss the writing group!!


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