While working full time is a privilege for most of the woman around the world, it is not a necessity. The reasons and the nature of work for men and women are different. Here I present my case why there are fewer women in top circles of the work force.
The scenarios below show how women enjoy a sort of freedom which men never have.
Her income does not pay bills. Mostly goes into saving accounts. No stress about earning.
Men = -1 Women = +1 (Freedom women)
Choice to get a less paid, more rewarding job in a low paying sector. Choice to leave job.
Men = -1, Women = +1 (Freedom women)
NO Expectation to provide support, money to external family or friends in need. Societal pressure.
Men = -1, Woman = +1 (Freedom women)
There are quite a few benefits of having an option not to earn to feed the ever rising consumption and demands (read diamond jewellery and Vacation in Hawaii). The freedom to not work is what women have. They work and earn to feel liberated, to have an option to live independently, to spend money as they like. On the other hand, men have to work to provide. They have no choice about leaving their jobs or even take a break when things are tough. They do not have an option to try out different career paths. Money matters (for earners). They do not have an option to spend money as they like. If an earning woman buys a 10k USD worth bag for herself, it is cool. Whereas, if an earning man spends the same amount in casino, it is a crime. Why did he not invest this sum in mutual funds?! Does he not care about the future of his family?!!
However, the reason why such gender bias exist is because of:
The expectation to make it large in life, earn a lot of money, climb the success ladder, where success is defined as achievement in career. This expectation is only from men.
Men = -1, Women = -1 (No freedom)
Feminists keep stressing on the importance of having women at work. I was listening to this powerful video by Sheryl Sandberg and I realized a key reason for this problem “why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions” is the pressure/stress which men have to reach at the top.
The problem why women are not on the top is the other side of the problem why men at the top are so stressed and unsatisfied. The answer lies in one word: EXPECTATIONS. It is no surprise that expectations motivate you and shape your future. We all read in ‘To Sir With Love’ how the power in a mentor’s expectations completely redefines a student’s future. However, in this case the problem is too much expectations and not the lack of it.
The problem is not simply that the world does not expect women to perform best at work or reach the highest step in the success ladder. The problem is that, this and more is expected from every male. His individuality, his choices, his skills, his temperament, his freedom, does not matter. You are a man if you earn well, you do pretty well at your work, or, you are a loser.
And even those women who are pretty good at their jobs, who can provide for the entire family, who enjoy their jobs more than their house chores; even these women would not accept their men to be sitting at home, doing nothing. These women would rather choose to sympathize with their husbands on corporate politics and competitive work environment, rather than ask him to take a back seat, chill at home, while they take the front seat. “You don’t like your job. Its is okay quit it. Let me earn for both of us. You do what you want to do. ” How many times have you heard a woman say these words?
Reaching at the top isn’t easy. It requires a lot of sacrifices. It means not having time to spend with your kids, your parents. It means not able to pursue your hobbies. It means not catching up with friends. It means not having the time to learn new skills.
It is overrated. It is risky. It is difficult. It is not for everyone. And yet every man is forced to reach the top. No matter how unhappy the process makes him.
The first step in resolving women’s inequality issue lies in first tackling men’s inequality problem. It lies with people who are not able to imagine all husbands earning less than their wives. Men leaving their jobs to explore things they like to do, while their wives provide. Such attitudes have led to the main problem: a dearth of good leaders from any gender or race. When the pressure from men is released, both men and women can compete together for the top roles based on their “interest”, “aptitude”, “personality”, “skill set”. Based on their merits. Women can only successfully compete in the highly competitive environment at the top, if their men/partners truly believe in them and stand with them strong in this pursuit. Same is the case for men. Expectations from women will rise only when they fall off from men. Which will be a win-win situation for both.
If we want equality, let us be ready to be equally responsible for the duties. How many of us working women out there contribute to more than 50% of the household expenses? If you are a true feminist and actually believe in equality, the time has come to step up and start taking care of it 100%. Let your man take a breather. And only then will you find yourself living with a true feminist man!