A Metafilter thread about emotional labour—the work we do to manage feelings, relationships, and social capital—went viral in 2015, with many contributors noting that emotional labour is usually uncompensated and often gendered. More women end up in the so-called caring professions, which generally don’t pay as well, leading to the wage gap. Emotional labour done at home is not paid for at all and again often falls on women.
The gap in compensation is exacerbated by the fact that emotional labour is an added mental burden, leaving less capacity for the creativity and innovation that yield the tangible results that can help women advance in their careers.
There’s no reason to perpetuate the inequity in emotional labour. Women aren’t inherently more caring, although they may be better at emotional labour because they’ve had a lifetime of conditioning and training. Until we can spread the mental burden out equally or begin to compensate for emotional labour’s true value, we may have a hard time completely closing the wage gap.