The rise of mentally disengaging from work

How quiet quitting impacts women in the workplace

Maintaining firm boundaries about your work scope and hours is an understandable backlash after years of chaotically working from home. Lunch breaks became a thing of the past, and phone calls and emails were answered all day and night.

In many ways, working women bore the brunt of the pandemic’s impacts.

Even in couples where both partners worked the same hours, women took on more household responsibilities. With the lines between home and work life increasingly blurred, women were working more hours and doing more domestic and childcare labour than ever before.

Some women found the new challenge of home-schooling, parenting, and working from home so overwhelming that they left their job or suffered serious burnout. Women were also more likely to be retrenched or lose their jobs during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the pandemic highlighted and perpetuated a long-standing gender bias that impedes a woman’s ability to enjoy meaningful work. Those who love their job are expected to sacrifice more than their male counterparts to prove their dedication.

Critics of quiet quitting insist that it lowers the bar and hinders overall company performance, preventing everyone from achieving as much success and excellence.

These objections are rooted in antiquated ideas of ‘trickle-down’ success and prosperity, which have been proven to be a myth. With increasing capitalistic work values, inequities and wealth distribution have only widened.

The idea that doing precisely what is expected of you is somehow immoral or lazy is ludicrous. If anything, we should fear the consequences of the current trend, where overachieving has become the new normal.

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Far from setting women back, working to rule may be the turning point we have been waiting for. Breaking down stereotypical, biased ideas of how much effort is ‘enough’ is long overdue, especially with so much discrepancy in how effort is assessed. Men are often seen as more professional and capable for no reason other than gender stereotypes.

Perhaps women are just exhausted from trying to be the perfect employee, even when they do more childcare, housework, mental load bearing, and emotional labour than men.

Will quiet quitting hinder women’s efforts to be equal to men in the workforce? Or will it lead to a global shakeup of how we view ‘success’, and finally stop expecting women to do it all?