All work and no play: Indigenous women “pulling the weight” in home life

Catherine Elizabeth McKinley, Jessica Liddell, Jennifer Lilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The invisible labor of household management, including child care, housework, and financial responsibilities, is a contemporary form of historical oppression adding strain and contributing to mothers’ role overload, depression, distress, and health impairments. The purpose of this article is to use the Framework of Historical Oppression, Resilience, and Transcendence to understand the experiences of gender dynamics in home life responsibilities among two Southeastern tribes. Reconstructive analysis from a critical ethnography with 436 participants revealed the following themes: (1) moms “mostly pulling the weight”; (2) women and child care: “We do it all,” and men—“If they’re there, they’re there”; (3) financial imbalances; and (4) women’s resilience and resistance. Despite experiencing the resilience of gender egalitarianism prior to colonization, women persistently experience the effects of the historical oppression of patriarchal colonialism through being overburdened and undervalued in home life. Decolonization is needed to reestablish gender egalitarianism to redress this patriarchal oppression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-311
Number of pages34
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


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