Community Volunteer Work

I really didn’t want to do unpaid work.

When I started going to the local toy library in 2015, I was like, “Yeahhhhh, no way is anyone going to get me to volunteer for here! That’s what devalues women! They’re always working for free and are always expected to work for free! They’re always the ones doing the unpaid, unacknowledged community work and it SUCKS!”

When I started going to the local community centre for kids’ music & movement classes, I was like, “Yeahhhhh, no way is anyone … [etc]”

When I started going to the local kindergarten, I was like, “Yeahhhhh, no way is anyone … [etc]”

Then they asked for volunteers. And hardly anyone put their hands up. And it was just to occasionally update the kindergarten’s website, so … how could I not do it? It would be so easy. And they needed someone to compare some old documents with some new documents, which would take more time, but I could easily do it with a service like Diff Checker, so … how could I not do it?

And then I go to the monthly volunteers’ meetings and I hear about all this other stuff that needs doing. And I see they’re designing their surveys in an ineffectual way. And the website design is outdated. And the sign on the front of the building is all faded. And they have no project management system, they’re just managing all their tasks via email, even though their volunteer staff often changes year-to-year. And I’m like, aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

So now I’m doing unpaid work. On top of my unpaid work as a carer. Hilarious. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it feels good to help out, and the organisation needs help, and I can fit it in, and I still want to be a full-time carer until the kids are in primary school. But 2016-Me would be shaking their head at 2018-Me, saying, “What are you doing?! Don’t do unpaid work damnit!”





  1. Andy Chapman says:

    I think it’s great that you’re doing it Fox. Sometimes there just isn’t budget to do awesome things. There’s lots of volunteers in the gardens and woods here in Leeds of both genders. And if men in general don’t volunteer then shame on them. The world shouldn’t be all about money. Sometimes humanity just needs good people.

  2. pwangy says:

    Fox, I once had a design professor who believed that work when you do design work it either ought to be for free or for profit. When you do work for friends and (in this case community), just do it for free, the good you are doing is well worth it. Money will be around to make when you need to do that. <3

    • Fox says:

      Maybe, but I think it’s a big problem – many mums are working now, just like dads, but it is still mostly mums in all the volunteer roles. Out of 11 roles on the volunteer committee, there are 2 men. Out of 12 roles on the smaller sub-committees and “class rep” roles, there are 3 men. Unpaid work is still a woman’s thing. That’s my issue with it. That’s why I didn’t want to participate and be another woman doing unpaid work. :(

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