Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gender Equality...?

Has anything really changed since 1950? and more importantly, do we want it to?

Back in the golden age of yesteryear the gender roles were clearly defined. Men go to work, and provide for the family. The woman stays home to tend the house and children. These lines had been drawn since the dawn of man, but in our generation, women seem to think that subscribing to their traditional roles and wives and mothers somehow belittles their worth or their ambitions outside of the home. Have we, the fairer sex, convinced ourselves that our worth is best measured by our career or educational accomplishments? And furthermore, what has this done to the state of matrimony?

I have never considered myself a feminist, so those who are inclined to burn their bras and blame men for their problems had better stop reading right now. I believe in the yin and the yang of the universe, that each thing has an equal yet opposite counterpart. We believe this to be true in science and yet not in discussing social equality. Everyone has to be on the same playing field. We have gone so far as to completely ignore biological biases in gender, race or ethnicity. We are all different, men, women, different races, people from different parts of the world are all genetically designed differently. But back to my main point which is, if we assume that everyone is created with a unique set of skills, then why would it surprise anyone that women are best suited to the home?

Let us take out the antiquated presumption that women HAVE to stay home from this discussion and just talk about the present state of things. In a world where a woman is encouraged to seek employment outside of the home, are they happier? Do marriages work better with a career driven woman?

Some would argue that they are. There is definitely a sense of fulfillment you get from working and making your own money. But, I would argue that there are some unforeseen consequences.The first of which is a power struggle in the relationship between the traditional provider, the husband, and the career focused wife. When the woman makes more money, do the power roles shift? Does the man feel less like the provider and protector of his family? And does a wife feel the added burden of juggling both the home duties and the money making? I am the first to admit that I don't have the answers. My home/work situation is extremely unique because I am an entrepreneur who works mainly from home AND I am also not a domestic goddess by any means. But the question is worth thinking about. Were things easier when we all knew where we stood and what was expected of us? Are marriage and gender roles being re-written as more and more women forgo children and marriage for the money and prestige of high paying jobs? What will marriages look like in 50 more years? Will women continue to fight for equality to the point of eradicating chivalry and courting lest it be construed as sexist? And the most interesting question is, is this good for us as a species?

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