In case you missed it, last month The Atlantic published a piece on how civic organizations in America were built on the voluntary labor of women. As the demands on women's time increased, however, local communities suffered.
"Women have long formed collective organizations intended to improve American society. They volunteered their time, waged political campaigns, and advocated for the poor and elderly. They organized voters, patronized the arts, and protested the government. In the years since women’s liberation, this kind of civic engagement has dropped precipitously. The kind of community involvement that has replaced it, where it has been replaced at all, is a weak substitute: When women advocate, it’s often on behalf of their own kids or families. And when they get involved in causes, they tend to cut checks rather than gather in protest. The most vulnerable members of society have lost their best allies—women—partly because those women are too busy working.
That’s not to indulge in nostalgia for a period of American history when women primarily led clubs rather than companies. Women frequently organized to fight for rights they had been denied by men, and they often aspired to lead charitable organizations because they were prevented from pursuing other paths. But ironically, in winning fuller equality with men, some women lost a share of the meaning and purpose that comes from life outside of productive labor. This is not a story about women’s failures, or a polemic against their advancement. It’s a cautionary tale for men and women alike. The corner office isn’t always the pinnacle of leadership. Often, the most important leadership happens in local communities..." -- Emma Green at The Atlantic (read the rest here)