Triple Duty for Cuban Women

Irina Echarry

Photo: Byron Motley

HAVANA TIMES — All over the world, and in our country as well, the double workday of women is often invisible. Only those who are scholars of gender studies focus on it, yet sometimes things even escape them.

Several gender and masculinity workshops are held throughout the year; however none of these reach everyday women and men.

One sole example of any given day confirms that the situation of women — on an emotional and personal level — is more complex than might be reflected in certain statistics on gender abuse and violence.

I can give the following example for specialists to analyze and understand many things about the relationship between couples in Cuba: apathy, male sexual dominance, but especially the double and even a triple workday of women.

What happened was that I heard a conversation a few days ago on Monte Street. The female clerks were idly standing around near closing time and were commenting about their endless workdays.

“When I leave I’m going to have to pick up the kid and then run by the clinic before going home.”

“Fortunately I have the beans already made, but I don’t know what else I’m going to have to throw together…”

“I’ll fry up some eggs tonight, and tomorrow I’ll come up with something else. Before going to bed I’ll need to wash Rosita’s blouse, since she always gets home with her clothes all messed up.”


“I don’t know how much longer my legs are going to hold up. Then, tonight I’m going to have to…”

Then all of them chimed in as if in a chorus:

“…battle with daddy… because daddy’s going to want some ‘rickety-rickety,’ but by then I won’t.”



2 thoughts on “Triple Duty for Cuban Women

  • The prime injustice with the double and triple workdays of women is that women are not compensated monetarily by society for this very necessar work. I mean, the raising of children is society’s most important job. Why then doesn’t society give motherhood a paid professional status, during that quarter-century period when she is having, raising and otherwise educating the coming generation?

    Our US cooperative socialist movement is proposing a maximum program that includes refocusing part of the vast resources wasted on the war machine, public debt interest, bureaucracy and all sorts of waste under monopoly capitalism, to salaries for mothers–as the usual heads of parental teams. This would mean statutory salaries to underwrite childcare expenses and compensate the parental head for her extra labor.

    With the paid professionalization of motherhood, cooperative bank credit for a home or automobile purchase, etc., could be obtained, just as it could be obtained on the basis any other steady job in the economy.

    But, of course, we are talking here about a form of socialism that goes beyond the Cuban state monopoly form!

  • Your assessment of women is not limited to Cuba. This is a 21st century issue women all over the world face most days. In fact, I am sure my San Francisco wife would tell the same story. Hehehe, I am sure she would.

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