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The Working Mom

Over the past several decades, women have entered the workforce in fields that were once off limits to them, within everything from business to medicine to culinary arts. With this influx of women has come new discourse of “The Working Mom”, a wonder woman who is successful both at work and at home. There are blogs, books, and almost the entirety of Pinterest dedicated to tips and tricks on how to juggle motherhood and work. Contemporary mothers have added their own career dreams to their existing societal expectations as a wife and mother. However, mothers have not been able to simply waltz into the workplace. Their entry into positions of prestige have been prefaced by countless of generations of women working, oftentimes out of necessity. This exhibit aims to show the journey of laboring mothers leading up to the contemporary; how mothers have had to fight for everything from bodily autonomy to sufficient maternity leave to the ability to control whether they want to be mothers or not. For all the organizing, protesting, and striking, mothers are still heavily discriminated against in the workplace, and the relationship between parenting and career remain a complex and intricate dynamic for women to handle. However, as women have become more and more aware of their capabilities, passed down from countless generations prior, they have carved a space for themselves where they want to belong. Hopefully, they will continue to do so.

 

-Gia Cummings

Duke University, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2021