Why Women Need to Work
Although women are still assigned responsibility for the family relationships, many women’s satisfaction does not correlate highly with care giving.
A study of pleasure, i.e., finding life enjoyable, and mastery, i.e., feeling important and worthwhile, found women need to understand and develop both aspects of well-being, pleasure and mastery, to feel good about themselves.
Another study, by Baruch, Barnett, and Rivers, found the following significant points regarding women’s lives:
1. Women who work hard at a challenging job are doing something positive for their mental health.
2. Marriage and children do not guarantee well-being for a woman. Being without a man or children does not cause misery or depression.
3. Doing and achieving are at least as important to the lives of women as are relationships and feelings. If that side of a woman’s life is neglected, her self-esteem is endangered.
Several studies have shown that married men are happier than married women.
Jessie Bernard in the book The Future of Marriage writes, “Not surprisingly, marriage benefits husbands more than wives.”
Developing self-interests of and close relationships help to balance woman’s life. A woman needs her own time, space, and her own life. To be totally dependent on a male and/or her family for fulfillment is risky.
Today’s woman is encouraged by some to be independent and career-oriented. While it is true that more women are developing careers, it is also true that many have a long way to go to catch up with men.
Most women say they would like a career along with successful relationships and happy families. However, for many females, timing is a problem.
The phase of life devoted to forming relationships and establishing families is also the period of life when career-oriented individuals devote almost exclusive attention to developing their careers. Since many women in the workforce also carry the primary responsibility for children, this responsibility is often a time-and-energy restriction to career development.
Because in many circles, women are expected to be home makers, they find it difficult to take the time necessary to acquire job skills. Some women feel this is selfish.
However, without adequate work skills, a woman must be cared for financially. This fosters a child-like dependency on the “caregiver.”
Women without their own assets are in danger of losing their financial support from separation, divorce, death, or their partners’ loss of employment. They are also in danger of losing the financial support of their children.
Therefore, job skills, far from being selfish, are extra insurance, both for her children and herself. In fact, in today’s times, many people consider it selfish to have children without the job skills necessary to support them.
Whether in or out of the job market, women often suffer feelings of guilt. If a woman stays at home, she thinks, “I should be contributing financially.”
If she works, she worries, “I should be at home with my children.”