rants, raves and randomness
Nowadays many Filipino women work. Being a stay-at-home mom is not something we can afford anymore. It just isn’t an option. But for those with options, many still opt to work. Our parents didn’t send us to school to become overqualified housewives, and everyone expects that we become productive citizens of this country. In addition, society also expects that we go forth and multiply – that is, get married and have kids, ideally in that order. Thus came the advent of women who have it all, the woman of they 21st century who must be both a career woman and a family woman. She must of course excel at both while being thin and beautiful. And some women do have it all. They have a family, a career, and a gym membership.
Now I have a son of my own and I wonder how they do it. They must either be superwomen, self-employed, rich, run their own businesses or have partners that took the backseat. Because on my own, it would be impossible to have it all. Not if you’re a woman.
See, a career man and a career woman are on two totally separate paths. One is paved and smooth, the other is rough and pothole-ridden. A career man can have kids while focusing on his career, without any disruptions to his life if he so chooses. A career woman, if she chooses to have kids, by virtue of biology, will have her life disrupted, her career and gym membership on hold. A career man gets a free pass on housework and childcare. A career woman doesn’t. In fact, if a career man put his career first and his family second, third or last, and it will be seen as a sacrifice he has to make; he is an upstanding man to be emulated. But if a career woman does the same, it will be seen as a sacrifice she can’t afford to make; it is a pity and unfortunate.
To be a 100% stay-at-home is to be subpar and single-dimensional, but to focus solely on your career is to be selfish. The feminist credo dictates that if a career woman puts her career on hold, then she isn’t committed enough; if she quits her job then she isn’t ambitious enough, and if she can’t have it all then she just isn’t good enough. And of course, she has to stay in shape and be beautiful.
But why the double standard?
Because society still views men as the breadwinner and the women as primary caregivers.
Society celebrates the man who brings home the bacon and frowns on the woman who cannot care for her offspring. And companies? Companies would rather promote a 100% single dimensional career man who prioritizes work over everythin else than a woman who has gaps on her resume. After all, caring for the future productive citizen of this country isn’t exactly something she can include in her work experience.
There is something wrong here. Why is there pressure for the women to have a career while being the primary caregiver while there is no pressure for men to up their share of housework or spend more time with their kids while being the breadwinner? And oh oh why is caring for a family undervalued in our society? Isn’t the family the foundation of society? Besides, what good is it for society to have leaders who fall short on personal responsibilities?
The fact is, the way society and companies are structured and organized make it extremely difficult for women to have it all.
Perhaps, companies can aim to become more women-friendly, say have mandatory paid maternity and paternity leaves, allow flexible work schedule and provide assistance in childcare ? Simple encouraging working remotely would be a big help. But when will this happen?
Perhaps this will happen if there are more women in leadership positions, because only a fellow woman would (should) understand. But, how do women get into leadership positions in the first place if they are quitting, or being penalized for prioritizing their families ? Catch-22.
Or perhaps, society should change just change its values.
**Image from hostted.com. Used without permission.