We Want It All
It seems that we women still believe we can do everything. We feel that we can work the boardroom, bring home a big paycheck, be a loving wife, be the perfect Mom, and raise wonderful, compassionate, intelligent kids who go on to change the world. The problem is that it's just not happening.
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A recent study released last week by the Pew Research Center in Washington indicates that, more than ever before, women aspire to have a high paying profession. About two thirds (66%) of women ages 18 to 34 claimed that a high paying career was either the most important thing or a very important thing in their lives, up from 56% in 1997. The number of women from 35 to 64 years old who said the same thing also increased by about 62% in the same period.
At the same time 84% of women say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things or a very important thing in their lives, and an astounding 94% say the same about being a good parent. The bottom line is we want it all, and we believe we can balance a high powered career and an amazing family life.
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But We're Not Getting It
Unfortunately, regardless of what we want, what we're actually getting isn't satisfying us at all, and in the case of marriage it's less than we've ever had. In spite of our increased ambition, women's median salary still hovers at about 81% of our male counterparts, and only 1/3 of women ages 18 to 34 are now married, as opposed to nearly 3/4 of this same group in 1960.
In reading these statistics, I'm reminded of one of my favorite self-help/relationship authors so dear to me back in the early days of my own tumultuous dating career, Marianne Williamson. Her books saw me through some very tough times, and one of my most treasured was A Woman's Worth.
We're Trying To Be Men
In her book, Williamson speaks specifically about the underlying phenomenon that started in the 1960's of women trying to become more masculine. She noted that the feminine qualities - nurturing, caretaking, loving - are just not reinforced or positively confirmed, are even seen as weak, by our society and culture that instead consistently honors and rewards the masculine qualities of doing, achieving, competing, and acquiring.
Williamson writes "We came to see women – usually beginning with Mommy – as weak and ineffective…I see I was one of thousands of young girls who unconsciously decided that our mothers' lives were meaningless, while our fathers' lives were glamorous and important. The way to succeed, it seemed to us, was to grow up and be just like Daddy."
She wrote that in the early nineties, but the trend still continues today, some twenty years later.
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