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April 27, 2024 27 mins

In part two of this classic, we talk about all of the pressures and responsibilities impacting women's happiness, the happiness gender gap, and the importance of parity in government.

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey, this is Annie and Samantha.

Speaker 2 (00:06):
I welcome to Stuff'll never told you a production of
iHeartRadio and Samantha, you were not here for the last classic,
but you know what I brought back.

Speaker 1 (00:24):
What did you bring back?

Speaker 2 (00:26):
Are Women in Happiness series that we did, which was
a four part series. They were all Monday minis, but
I brought it back because they recently the Happiness and
Index came out and there was a lot of news
about it. The US dropped out of the top twenty
for like the first time ever. Surprise, I know, and

(00:47):
they were like, yeah, it's election here. But anyway, so
I thought we would just continue to bring these back,
especially because you and I were just discussing the internet
has become such a grim place and we do talk
about some some reasons why happiness is a struggle for
women sometimes, but we also talk about some good things
in these So this is part two of our Women

(01:11):
and Happiness series.

Speaker 1 (01:13):
Please enjoy. Hey, this is Anny and Samantha. I don't
come to step. I never told your production of iHeart Radio.

Speaker 3 (01:33):
And welcome to us going on rants about some of
the articles we found on women happiness. So yeah, this
is part two.

Speaker 2 (01:40):
It is a Part two, and I feel like we
could have a part three, Part four. We're really hoping
to hear from you listeners.

Speaker 3 (01:45):
Yes we do want to part three with your opinions.

Speaker 2 (01:49):
Yes, yes, we're due for a listener mail segment, so
send those our way. Check out part one if you
haven't already, because apparently people have a lot of thoughts
on women and the happiness and it's not great.

Speaker 3 (02:03):
It's not great. So picking back up, Yeah, we did
recently just read a couple of articles. One was specifically
about the fact that feminism was killing happiness, essentially from
twenty one article written from a conservative perspective and about
why you know, happiness can be found through utilizing our bodies,

(02:25):
so does at the end of the article. And then
we also talked about the fact that Dolan, who we
did talk about this report, previously said the single women,
single childish women maybe one of the higher happier population, which, yeah,
we talked about all of that. But continuing on with
a couple more articles, and one's actually a comic I

(02:48):
believe Aubrey Hirsch who spotlighted this article but then also
did the illustrations and the writing for this comic. So
if you want to go look at it. You should again.
It's written by Aubrey Hirsch in the Vox women are
increasingly unhappy. This comic explains why or women happy chords
gender gap okay, and it's part of the happiness issue

(03:12):
of the highlight of Vox.

Speaker 1 (03:14):
Okay. So here we go.

Speaker 3 (03:15):
So hopefully I do this justice because it is a comic,
you're supposed to be reading it, and she gets it
from different reports. So it starts with a science that
says Women's Strike for peace and equality. American women have
made progress since nineteen seventy. Women today are better educated
and better paid than we were in nineteen seventy. So
it has a little graph continues on. We have more

(03:36):
support in our work at home as well as more
opportunities outside of the home. We've made real gains toward
equal rights and reproductive freedom. And yet in the decades
between nineteen seventy and two thousand and five, women's self
reported happiness scores have declined, both in the absolute and
relative to men's scores. There isn't any more recent data

(03:58):
on the phenomenon, but a studies have shown trends in
women's psychology that help answer the troubling question. If women
have made so many substantive gains in the last fifty years,
why are we less happy? One culprit might be the
women's changing expectations. As our opportunities in life and work increased,

(04:19):
so did our opportunities to compare ourselves not just to
other women, but to the men around us. Our expanding
awareness of our persisting limitations might cause us to report
feeling less happy. The growing complexity of women's lives may
also be a factor. In nineteen seventy, a woman who

(04:40):
was primarily a homemaker might judge her happiness based solely
on her family life, whereas a woman fifty years later
might be considering circumstances at home and at work. All
of this is good news, since it suggests that it's
our frame of reference for happiness that may have shifted
and the bar has been raised. But another explanation for

(05:03):
the persistence of the male female happiness gap is that
men may have reaped more than their share of benefits
from the women's movement. Marriage economists Betsy Stevenson and Justin
Wolfers speculate that while men enjoy the spoils of sexual revolution,
they are far less impacted by the decline of traditional

(05:24):
families and rising economic inequality, and although men's contributions have increased,
women still do, on average, more than twice the housework
that men do, according to the leading family researcher Scott Coltrane.
Because women's increasing participation in the workforce has not been

(05:44):
met with a proportionally decreasing responsibilities at home, many women
are now forced to work with sociologist Arlie Russell Huschild
and en Machan called the second shift that cuts into
our leisure time. This exposed to some of the work
we still need to do until we can enjoy real
equality in every sphere, women's happiness is bound to lag

(06:08):
behind men's. And then if you go loy she has
a little hierarchy of knees for women. Essentially at the bottom,
it's bodily autonomy, second of safety, then justice, then education,
then work, then at the top home. That's interesting. I've
never seen this, especially now that we're finally close enough
to see what we're missing. So that was the end

(06:30):
of it. Again, this is twenty nineteen, and we talked
about this in reference to the pandemic, and I found
that interesting, and that again that hierarchy pyramid that they
had created specifically for women's happiness. That was interesting. I've
never seen that.

Speaker 2 (06:44):
Yeah, and I think again, if you haven't listened to
part one, go listen to it. But I think that's
a really good point that is made in this comic,
is that it's also maybe the bar is shifting because
as women moved in to the workplace, we were like, wait,
so now I'm doing this job, but also still expected

(07:05):
to do this thing from before, which is like the
housecare and the childcare and all this stuff. And I
we talked about it in a recent book club, but
that the idea of men really reaping the benefits from
the women's movement in terms of like the sexual revolution
where they don't have to raise the children if that,
if that happens, and that kind of being the impetus

(07:27):
for why abortion became such a big hot button issue.
I think that's a really good point to make too,
because obviously it is important, it is kind of like
our whole thing, but there are still these societal inequalities
where men are benefiting of Oh, your work now, and

(07:51):
also you'll still do the house so I can take
care of the kids.

Speaker 3 (07:54):
Fantastic but you're going to cook dinner, yes, right, right,
well have it. And I found it interesting because we
talked about this in a previous episode when we were

(08:17):
talking about the fact that the feminist movement was based
on women going to work and leaving the home, but
that is behind the women who do want to stay
at home and having to shift both narratives and not
being able to be a part of that movement because
I'm like, no, no, you need to get out right. But
it was also very like, oh, this is very classist
as well as racist to not think about all of

(08:39):
these other underlying needs here. But this is kind of
that same conversation of like the bar has been changed.
What we have now focused on as important leaves behind
what needs to be addressed as well, but we don't
want to focus on it because that's too much of
an old school idea for us to look at, and
that includes who does work at the home, how do

(09:00):
you share it, and how do you become equal not
just out in the work place, which is what we
could typically focus on because you know, money and paychecks
are measurable.

Speaker 1 (09:13):
Right right. And I think also just the.

Speaker 2 (09:20):
It's unfortunately been very effective the kind of anti feminism narrative,
and a lot of these things that we talked about.
Even though any like strategic incompetence where it's the four
a lot of women, the bar is just of success
is just higher, and expectations is just higher. That is

(09:40):
something we feel ourselves because we were raised that way,
but it's also put on us. And so I think
that's a part of this too, is that whole like
you can have it all, you can do it all,
and then we'll give you like the most passing of
smattering praise and then not give you any raises or anything,
but like.

Speaker 1 (09:56):
Oh, wow, you were able to do all of that.
I can't believe it. How do you do it anyway?

Speaker 3 (10:01):
And because you've done it, we expect it exactly. It
will be disappointed if you can't keep doing it exactly
or won't keep doing it.

Speaker 2 (10:07):
And if you have children, it's so hard. It's just
very effective to use children against women in that argument
of well, the children are going to suffer if you
don't step up, or if you don't do those things
in that way.

Speaker 3 (10:22):
Or you're not fit for the workplace, if you care
too much about your.

Speaker 2 (10:25):
Children exactly, because then you don't care as much about
your work rights.

Speaker 3 (10:31):
Oh you're just a woman thinking about babies. But yeah,
I also really do like the idea, as you were saying,
is that mindset? And they do talk about that at
the beginning, about the fact that we put pressure on ourselves,
but we don't necessarily, it's that society puts pressure on us.
I'm sorry to the first article that we talked about
in part one where they're like, oh, they just want

(10:52):
to blame the patriarchy. But if a system existed in
order to keep maintain power for one specific gender, one
specific race, then yeah, they're still to blame and we
should call it out. So stop shaming that, and that
is that conversation? Is that because we have to? I mean,
god dang it. The fact that we're talking about a

(11:14):
Supreme Court justice nominee, Katanji Brown Jackson, and the fact
that she's so overly qualified. Literally the people who oppose her,
Lindsey Graham said, she's amazing, She's qualified. I'm gonna vote no.
That tells you right there, right there, what kind of
system is set up? And it's not just a mindset,
because she has completely proven ourselves repeatedly with these obnoxious

(11:39):
questions that have nothing to do with being a judge
or Supreme Court justice. But yet, yeah, she's deemed as
not qualified by a certain group of people who want
to maintain a status quo.

Speaker 2 (11:52):
Yeah, And I think that that is part of what
we're talking about here, because again, these were articles that
sort of popped up early the Google search when it's
like women in happiness and like one of the first
ones is like feminism is ringing happiness, and the other
one is like, oh, single women are more happy, and
then this one is like happiness is going down, but

(12:12):
here's why. And I think that that's I believe I
said this in the last one too, is it's worth
seeing these and Justine, we're seeing that, we're seeing this
very qualified woman being told like that doesn't matter essentially,
And so we've talked about this in so many episodes
because I think of gaming too, where it's like will
that will let women come in and play with us,

(12:35):
but only if they play second string, they play by
our rules. They're still for us to look at. There's
still like we are in control of this, you're just
for us, and it's so cute. You want to play
in this like sandbox with us. But if you rock
anything in this boat, you're out.

Speaker 3 (12:53):
We're gonna yell at you to go make a sandwich. Which,
by the way, every time I've seen a TikTok video
of women gamers coming in and just destroying these dudes
who were like, oh, she's coming in. Oh yeah, you
know you hear the I guess it's a uh twitch
streamers who play with each other. I don't know games, y'all.

(13:13):
Things I don't understand. But at one point, you know,
you hear the duzzaying oh here she comes, blah blah blah,
and she may not say anything. Typically the women don't
say anything. They just come in. You see a picture
of her face smiling because she knows she's about to
rip them. And then when she starts, they're like, oh man,
what is she doing? What are you doing, and like

(13:35):
yelling at her, and then she'll say something along the
long along the lines of oh I thought you said
the one could do that. I'm here to help you out,
and they're like, go make us a sandwich, and then
essentially running away from her after she like beats their ass.
But yeah, that's that constantly need and like, seriously, that
one phrase is continually said, ye, go make us a sandwich.

(13:56):
Is that a key phrase that I don't know about.
Is that supposed to be like a trigger but thing
that where the boys come in pile on.

Speaker 1 (14:03):
I don't know.

Speaker 2 (14:03):
I mean because I remember when I was at Georgia
Tech and there was like a.

Speaker 1 (14:10):
Hilly Quinton rally.

Speaker 2 (14:12):
Somebody people came and showed up and said that, like,
go back to the kitchen, go make a sandwich. So
I think that's a very like just trying to reduce
women and make them kind of the subservient position.

Speaker 3 (14:27):
I mean, couldn't it be like, go make us a
pot roast?

Speaker 2 (14:29):
Oh, it's much more difficult. It guess it depends on
the sandwich. But I do think I do think that
that that kind of constant like you can't escape these things, right,
If I, like go to play a video game, then
it's always like a reminder to me that I'm.

Speaker 1 (14:50):
Viewed this way.

Speaker 2 (14:51):
And I think that's also a piece of this puzzle
of like why women aren't as happy, because it's just
a constant deluge of sexist nonsense that you have to
like have the strength to combat it when even internally
you might be dealing with imposter syndrome.

Speaker 1 (15:11):
Or whatever it is, right in the face of all
of this on Sense.

Speaker 3 (15:15):
And again we talked about imposter syndrome and the fact
that this imposter syndrome, it's not necessarily just that we
think that we can't do it, that it's been ingrained
into our minds and repeatedly told that we can't do it.
So it's not just us pretending that we can't. It's
because we've been told. So we need to lay it
the responsibility where it needs to be laid. But you know, something,

(15:36):
on top of what we've been researching in this and
as we're reading these articles, of course with that, it
showed us a lot of articles about where people are happy.
And there was one article and it wasn't just about women,
but about just being happy.

Speaker 2 (16:04):
So we wanted to end with this article, which is
titled want to make your country Happier?

Speaker 1 (16:11):
Elect Women. This came out in twenty twenty one and.

Speaker 2 (16:15):
It was by Rhann Eisler and Robin Baker and I
hope I'm pronouncing that correctly, and it was in Miss magazine.
So here's some quotes from that. Happiness is often perceived
as an elusive feeling, a fleeting moment in a person's life.
National happiness might sound absurd, but a recent study by
the United Nations reveals that happiness can actually be a

(16:35):
public policy with highly successful results. The twenty twenty one
World Happiness Report shows that high levels of government spending
on human infrastructure, the services and systems that improve people's
quality of life, are the key to happiness. The top
ranked countries of the World Happiness Report share this high
level of public investment in human infrastructure. Finlam came in
first for the fourth year in a row, followed by Denmark, Switzerland,

(16:58):
Iceland and the Netherlands. They have very healthy market economies
precisely because they invest heavily in caring for people starting
at birth. These countries are not socialists, they simply have
more women in leadership positions. Finland, for example, passed the
Parliament Act to give women the right to vote and
run for parliamentary elections in nineteen oh six, much earlier
than the US, and today women are about half of

(17:19):
Finland's national legislature. However, neither the World Happiness Report nor
policy makers acknowledge the connection between the two. Human infrastructure
is supported by women and leading government positions. This correlation
can be explained by another still generally ignored fact that
care work, such as caring for children and the elderly,
has been devalued under a hidden gendered system of values

(17:40):
that has gone along with the ranking of men masculinity
over women femininity. Women in leadership positions understand this historic
pattern and that its solution lies in providing more choices
to families for access to public services that help nurture
human development and balance the gender division of labor. Therefore,
the presence of women in government leads to more caring
policies that so human infrastructure for all, from high quality

(18:02):
early education to universal health care. However, the participation of
women in a government's policy making requires a pre existing
high status of women in general. International studies show that
the status of women is a powerful predictor of a
nation's general equality of life and economic success. Already, in
nineteen ninety five, based on statistical data from eighty nine nations,

(18:23):
the Center for Partnership Studies published report titled Women, Men,
and the Global Quality of Life demonstrating this exact correlation.
Since then, other studies such as the World Value Survey
and the World Economic Forums Gender Gap reports have also
confirmed the correlation between the country's standards of living and
economy and the status of women. The rise of women's
status empowers women to run for government. Nonetheless, little attention

(18:46):
has been given to the economic success of the nations
with the lowest gender gap, such as Finland, Norway, Denmark
and Sweden. In reality, a higher valuing of the stereotypical
feminine caring, caregiving and nonviolence is not only good for women,
also good for men and children of both genders, as
well as for business.

Speaker 3 (19:04):
Okay, I'm not gonna lie. I had a moment as
like having to hold it in when we talked about
care work, and I'm like yes, as I shouted again.
But this is obviously a stark contrast from the first
article that we read at the beginning of this two parter,
when it does talk about the fact that from birth
to death you expect us to take care of women

(19:24):
and children, and this is like, oh, yeah, seriously, that
makes us happy, Yeah, from birth to death. And I
will say this is also this magazine is a little
as biased in that it is left leaning like us.
So I'm not going to say because the other one
I did say is conservative. This is definitely left leaning
as well as the fact. Though, unlike the other report
where I had to try to click on the research

(19:45):
that they penned for US that went to another conservative
article without the actual I could not get to the
Pew research unless I just type it in by myself.
This one actually does highlight the actual Like you click
on it, it takes you to that actual statistics and studies.
So something to be said about that. But I love

(20:06):
everything about this article. It is an implication of where
the US is. And if you read the whole article,
the bottom talks about the current administration and what they
are doing or how they're trying to fix it. We're
not talking about that. We're just talking about the study
that they're talking about. Finland has been the number one
happiest country. Of course, there's a whole other conversation about

(20:27):
the intersectionality of it all and who is able to
thrive in those areas. Absolutely, and we can come back
to that, and we should come back to that. But
the overall fact that, yes, helping women and having women
in leadership actually makes everyone happy.

Speaker 1 (20:43):
Yeah, that just makes so much sense to me.

Speaker 2 (20:46):
I mean, because you know, we've interactd the population and
they do have these historically different areas that they've been
living in and in terms of like raising children and
being the ones responsible for that largely and the like
undervalued care work which we were talking about is I mean,
that's huge. If you have somebody come in, it'd be like, oh,

(21:07):
this is important and we need this and that's going
to help our economy and it's going to help happiness
and that's going to just uplift all of these sections
of our country.

Speaker 1 (21:18):
To me, that just makes sense, right.

Speaker 3 (21:22):
And here's the other part to this, Because that first
article got me heated, and the fact that it was
one of the first things I could find, I was like, ah,
we talk about the unity and this is not going
to about you know, and the article make sure to
say these countries are not socialists, because we know the
word socialism has really sparked a lot of anger and
along political lines. But when it comes to like the

(21:44):
biblical essence of community that has been disbanded in the
conservative ideas from what I've gathered, that whole conversation when
she says the you know and intentionally dstopian portrait thought
during the Obama administration, which is hilarious, was meant to
let us know that government is here to supply our
every need from birth to death without placing any kind

(22:06):
of demands on our behavior. So obviously it was like,
you need to take responsibility from birth to death. La
da da. You don't need help. It's obvious what's being
said in saying that you need to be able to
take care of your own and take care of your responsibilities.
We're not going to help you. Just deal with it,
even though the Crisis Pregnancy Center really you said they

(22:27):
do help, but they don't. You just said it starts
you on a path. But they also say, you know,
you need to take responsibility and not expect any kind
of demands. Blah blah blah. And then we have this
article showing an example where they say they have a
very healthy market precisely because they invest heavily in caring

(22:47):
for people starting at birth right, which is a stark
contrast in what she is saying. But we have an
example here of what is working. And we know that
this country was based on very conservative religious eye ideas
like what she just said.

Speaker 2 (23:02):
Yeah, and I think it's interesting that we've talked before
about in this country, specifically.

Speaker 1 (23:11):
How we really.

Speaker 2 (23:14):
We really hold up like capitalist ideas and work and
making money and you do it on your own, you
pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, and we've made
that into like a like an ideology this is what
you want, and that we also kind of have really
centered masculinity and masculine traits and behaviors. And I've talked

(23:35):
recently about like, you know that glorification and asked, I
think that's at play here.

Speaker 1 (23:40):
But then also there's just kind of related.

Speaker 2 (23:44):
There's just this narrative that I don't know, it's clear
that we're rich people and capitalism of such a hold
on this country where we're like, yeah, it's more important
that we give these like tax breaks and sub disease
to rich people who help people get elected, and everyone
else is just like making less and less and getting

(24:05):
less and less and getting worse off, and the gap
is getting bigger. And so the happiness part is I mean,
I know I've said it before, but my mom told
me once money doesn't buy happiness, but it makes it easier.
So if we had the support from birth where it's
not it's just you know, being able to afford childcare
or like anything like that, that gives you the space

(24:26):
to build a healthier society that is happier.

Speaker 3 (24:29):
And some of that is also being able to afford
giving to your children. And I don't mean to spoil them,
That's not what I'm talking about, because yes, those rich
people who give the kids like cars at age three
as a whole different conversation. But what I'm talking about
is like my family and my parents who couldn't give

(24:49):
me the teeth that I needed, you know what I
mean as a child, and feeling bad about that and
coming back and be like, I'm so sorry we couldn't
provide that for you, you know, giving me a car
so that I could do activities that I was able
to earn it. But like we're teaching our children that
the only way you can do this is to drive
yourself into the ground for a capitalistic idea at earning
minimum wage at this age and then trying to prioritize

(25:13):
money over education, prioritize money over love, and like all
of these things is a whole different conversation. And can
we do it? Yeah, we have, We've done it. Could
it be a different story if we didn't have to?
And are we saying all women in leadership is great. No,
we have prime examples of like why did you do this?
What did you? We're talking about qualified women and qualified

(25:37):
men whose support Again, though it's harder to find underqualified women.
We can there's always exceptions to the rule, but it's
harder to find underqualified women than it is to find
underqualified men.

Speaker 1 (25:52):
Just sort of a numbers game.

Speaker 2 (25:53):
But yeah, right, yeah, yeah again, it just makes sense
to me. It makes sense to me. Oh, I'm feeling conflicted.
These happiness episodes have got me.

Speaker 3 (26:11):
All's to negative. No, the kind of negative.

Speaker 2 (26:17):
It is like a back and fourth it is, it is,
And I think there's a lot of just examining we
need to do of the narratives we've been fed.

Speaker 1 (26:24):
Our whole lives, exactly of what happiness even is.

Speaker 2 (26:29):
Yes, well, speaking of listeners again, we need those happiness
stories from you. Any thoughts, any people we should be
talking about, any movements we should be talking about anything
at all, Please let us know. You can email us
stuffan your mom Stuff at iHeartMedia dot com. You can
find us on Twitter at mom Stuff podcast or on
Instagram at stuff I Never Told You. Thanks as always
to our super producer, Christina, Thank you and thanks to

(26:51):
you for listening stuff I never told you aspecture of
iHeart Radio. For more podcast on iHeartRadio, vis if you
heart Radio, Apple Podcasts or Regulus, and to your favorite
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