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Gender Inclusion, Parity, and Consideration


You cannot have gender parity or gender inclusion without formal caregiver support.


Establishing this pillar is necessary to obliterate any misconception that gender parity will be achieved without or before caregiver support is prioritized or formalized as they cannot exist separately. The majority of caregiving responsibilities falls on birthing people and women and removes them from the workplace and work opportunities, including auditions, interviews, and career development. [statistic source] Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities are impacted significantly by the intersection of gender and race, with the caregiver community as no exception."Black Trans Women & Black Trans Femmes's quality of life is tied to both cultural attitudes and institutional policies." - TransgenderLawCenter.org

For transgender and nonbinary birthing people and parents, accessing traditionally gendered caregiver support can be exclusive, alienating, and sometimes even impossible. Intentional and formal caregiver support should include language that affirms caregivers of all gender identities and expansive understanding of unique family formation.

Often, when discussing gender and caregiving in the theatre, the topic centers on cis-women, usually white, and the (real) burdens of invisible labor. However, these conversations are often mis-prioritized, and this mis-prioritization may directly be partially responsible for the incredibly slow non-progress of caregiver support.


Phrases like "it's about mothers!" are akin to "it's about feminism!" where, without intentional action and investment in the racial implications and makeups of these movements, white supremacy simply has a new progressive mask behind which to flourish.


Note: if you do identify as a woman and a mother and are experiencing discomfort at this point, please breathe into the space as someone who is supported and included here. This conversation will actually improve the support for you. You are not being made invisible in conversations that prioritize "marginalized genders," but it is worth asking, does "mother"-exclusive language make other marginalized genders invisible?


How do we re-center the conversation of caregiving, fully acknowledging its gender realities, while still creating support that is intersectional, impactful, and progressively effective?


At the PAAL 2020 Summit, Moss Froom - a non-binary doula and consultant - presented a session exclusively for PAAL on parenting and caregiving beyond the binary. With helpful language, perspective, and education, this video is the first step in gender inclusion - not the afterthought.



Now with this understanding and knowledge of trans and non binary inclusion as foundational, we can engage with stories, pieces, and conversations on women and mothers as just part of marginalized genders, and the singularly or primary defining members of it.

 

"Theatre, our storytelling nature, is like church: theatre isn't the building or the space, it's the people. I will fight for the rights and dignity of other people. I will always fight for devising and maintaining “creative playgrounds” conducive for other people to make theatre. I have never felt that someone has fought the same for stage managers, nor—until very recently—for mothers."



"From artists to administrators to production staff who are parents, the struggle is career-threatening, it is exhausting, and for theatre mothers, it is intrinsically tied to gender equity in our leadership and in our programming."



"If you expect to find a chapter in our report on how parents in the field see their career being affected by childcare responsibilities, you would come away empty. We encountered reluctance among participants to talk about this issue. “Women are trained, at least in my field, to shut up when they have children, because it is a liability. You won’t get the job!” was the explanation of one of our female interviewees. If we cannot gather stories or data on a particular issue, the issue remains hidden. Those who need to have it addressed are kept away from the conversation, because access to the table has been closed off; and those who may have resources to share, may not know how to reach the ones who became hidden and are in need of support."



"If Cat did indeed get to answer questions about what she needs to function fully in the theatre field as a parent artist, she might, under the current circumstances, become the victim of an unintended consequence. Would she create the perception that she is unavailable for the type of work the theatre offers if she opens up about particular needs, the need for an extra room on location, a predictable schedule, a break to pick up a child or to breastfeed a baby? Would she still be taken seriously as a dedicated participant in the field? Would she be asked to explain why she “wants it all”?"



"We chose to be artists because of what this path contributes to us each personally and to the world collectively. We became mothers perhaps out of a similar supposition. Why does this industry, one that claims to be focused on telling the stories of humanity, neglect the very essence of humanity present in the unseen work of mothers?"



"Why are we shocked and horrified when Lady M pleads “unsex me”—when most of us do this on a daily basis? We hold our tongues, or stop short of rocking the boat, or carefully, thoughtfully exert our authority, pull punches, or do what is not in our better nature, when we actually wish we were on even ground."



"Where is the culture that says ‘Women who have children are now masters of something’? The culture where motherhood means something more—not less?"



"Motherhood specifically must be redefined and represented in order to successfully improve gender equity in the theatre: motherhood is a valid lifestyle, quality of leadership, and creative asset for theatre contributors."


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"I have to fight for creative, collaborative recognition as a woman. I have to fight for it as a mother. And I also have to fight for it as a person of color. As a black stage manager and mother, the

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