Women in the Workforce
Posted on January 10, 2012 by Gail Danneman
As mentioned in an earlier post, the number of working women is increasing. Women currently hold more masters degrees than the male population. I read an interesting article in Bloomberg Businessweek that examined another angle of this topic. The article addressed how business women that wish to have a strong career are still able to raise a family and have a relationship with a spouse.
A couple of different families were profiled in this article and discussed how their families are able to function with a career driven woman in the family. In most cases, the man stays at home and cares for the children. The article made it appear that all the men were okay with being stay-at-home dads rather than pursuing their own career. The men all appeared to be very supportive of their wives’ choice to have a very strong career.
In a perfect world, the man or woman of a family would decide who will work and who will stay at home with children. But, realistically, this article does not describe the average American family. Many more women are entering the workforce today not just because of the desire to have a career, but to also earn an extra income. There are a lot of families that do not have the luxury to have one parent stay at home and one work. And there are also women that do not want to stay at home all day. They would rather have a job that gets them out of the house and interacting with other people.
While I did enjoy reading this article, I found myself with a lot of unanswered questions. As a female, I asked myself, “If I am career driven and want to develop a strong career, does this mean I have to choose between my family or the job? If I have a career does that mean my fiancé will not be able to?” The article entitled “The Perfect Husband” certainly made me feel this way. I would never expect my fiancé to give up his career so that I could have my own. While the article depicted “fairy-tale” style husbands who willingly allowed their wives to have the job, the bottom line is that this is not always the case. With other forms of support, both the woman and man can have satisfying careers and still have time to spend with children.
Both of my parents worked full-time when I grew up. My mom and dad were able to obtain their MBAs together with three children under the age of 6. My mom ran a successful private practice as a dietitian and my dad worked as a computer engineer. The private practice offered my mom flexibility in scheduling patients and allowed her to attend my brothers and my sporting events and other activities. My mom could have easily been a stay-at-home mom, but that was not what she ever wanted. Her career has always played a significant role in her life and just a question about her private practice reveals her passion for what she does.
As we continue in this phase in society where women will continue to populate the workforce, it is important to consider how families will be affected and how organizations can provide needed support. How can organizations help families cope and deal with both parents working? Is there a resource or support system that can be established? Organizations win when they invest in