Can working women have it all?

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It is a concrete fact that works for women is self-fulfilling. Earning money gives women power and freedom and an independent identity from a man or a family. In fact many families, a substantial percentage, depend on its survival on the female income.

 

The key question now would be can a working women have it all? A career and a home? Aren’t we being a bit unrealistic?

 

There are many books written by psychiatrists who have tackled this issue abroad. But Egypt seems to be obliviant of it. All to one conclusion, women are burned-out and emotionally drained by guilt, either for not-having children or for leaving their children “unattended’. Many trails of guilt trips follow. So the very reason, why a woman originally went out from her home has turned against her.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for women to work if they like to but the situation today needs to be assessed. Life is a big struggle; the simplest thing as going grocery shopping is not easy in the crowded streets of Cairo.

 

Many married women and mothers today feel the pressure of every-day life and there comes a point where they feel they can not cope any more. How many women do you know of in our society have been able to balance work and home, their personal fulfillment and sense of achievement on the work level and their homely heaven?

 

The problem needs a bit of historical analysis, I believe, when women entered the work place in droves some 30 years ago, they did it on men’s terms. Eager to have economic power and leave the house-wife apron behind, women became immigrants in a foreign land molding them to fit in the existing work place and accept its values. These values were building around a work force of men. Even though , the demographics has changed making more room for women , it is still “a place built for men with full time house wives at home to take care of them “.

 

Many women can not quit work for so many reasons, but at the same time, they are not able to maintain that balance between their personal and career lives. A pursuit of this ideal leaves women stressed, frustrated and ultimately burned out.

Away from women’s rights, think about it a big bulk of this society is in this state of mind. What will be their way of letting out steam? Their kids? Husbands? Causing endless struggles …..It is vicious loop.

 

I believe that what we need is a second revolution to take place for work to really work for women. Women should come forward and be open about their concerns at work – thus making it more acceptable for men to make their wants known too. For their part, companies should put the state of their working employees in their agendas. They should start thinking on flexible working hour’s schemes, day-care centers and the likes to help women continue to give to the establishment.

 

Husbands must start doing more at home and to the family life as well. There is no such a things as integrating women equally into the economy as it exists, not until the men are as equal inside the house as women are outside.

 

A big part of this change must lay on the media to educate the people and change the culture.

 

There is an interesting book* that I have read that looks at another side of the problem “mothers’ guilt trip’. The book explains why working women who have children feel guilty for leaving their kids at home. This is very true and it is a culture –based attitude of long time ago when conservatives always point fingers at working mothers for any problematic children or bad incidents that occur. When in reality the working mother is truly unable to balance her life. Solving the mothers puzzle will require her to relinquish some of her personal responsibilities for nurturing the young and to demand others – fathers or extended family, help, the work place ….to take on more.

 

Our society must start to be more sensitive to women’s’ needs and we must peak out and not take it lying down. Work must not be judged by how many hours you spend in the office but how much you accomplish. Men must take more family responsibilities. Women have made great strides in the past years but still the ideal society is still miles away.

 

*When women work by Joan K. Peters

Dahlia Zayed is a Marketing Consultant specialized in consumer insights in Middle East & Africa. She can be reached at: marketersofegypt@yahoo.co.uk

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