Episode 125: Saying No to Office Housework

I’m interested in breaking down the stereotype of what office housework is.
— Ruchika Tulshyan
Photo by DutchScenery/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by DutchScenery/iStock / Getty Images

Women, and particularly women of colour, get lumbered with most of the office housework. What counts as office housework? Ordering lunch, clearing up after a meeting, sending out meeting notes. But it's also the less obvious things, such as taking part in committees or mentoring, things that an organization needs to get done (or be seen to get done), and that women disproportionately take on. Meanwhile men perform more of what law professor Joan Williams calls the 'glamor' work, the more visible stuff that can lead to accolades and promotions.

In this show I speak with journalist Ruchika Tulshyan about what women can do to push back on these requests, while treading the ever-fine line between deference and standing up for themselves.

 Ruchika Tulshyan

Ruchika Tulshyan

Here's Ruchika's Harvard Business Review piece on how women can say no to office housework. And here's Joan C. Williams' piece on her research into office housework and what organizations can do to make sure their female employees don't end up doing it all.

You can also read a transcript of the show.