Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our role is what we want to be

I hate to hear people, whose traditional beliefs, vocally destine women to give up their careers, accept much lower paying jobs and professional responsibilities and eventually limit their ambitions to the household just because we are...women. You say this is old news and the new millennium went as much as tolerate and encourage women to be independent, resourceful and basically kick-ass. But at the back of society's head, women could only think of their careers and profession at a given time before they start giving it up for family. But those who have found a good balance between family and work either have their guilt for breakfast or suffer intermittent setbacks brought to them by their double-edged situations. If the family falls apart due to domestic concerns, it's all the woman's fault since she wasn't always present to immediately attend to it and the responsibility is programmed to be hers alone. Children's concerns in school and basic necessities fall unto the women's shoulders and the women are known to effectively juggle. Apparently, we are not complaining. For as long as the women could manage the precarious balance, then she still could still make that decision and counter the traditional whispers and private disdains of society that women should soon realize that there's really no point conquering the man's world when at the end she'll have to go back by being a housewife, a wife or a philanthropist. For women, the top choice presented by society becomes imminent that we should have a family and then put the family first above everything else and and all others fall into the extra-curriculars at the bottom of the priority list.

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely have nothing against powerful women giving up their careers to get married or take care of the family for as long as it's their choice and and they genuinely find happiness and fulfillment in it. I have friends who are educated, accomplished and very much ambitious individuals until they have met the love of their lives and decide to marry. Upon marrying, their priorities have changed and naturally career took the back seat. From corporate books they went to interior decorating books; and from a hectic and stressful schedule in the office, their stress now involves shopping, cooking, gardening and philanthropic works. Some of my friends were surprised with the new fulfillment that they are feeling and I'm happy as long as they are happy. God knows shopping and cooking stress me out and it's not my area of competence.

I also have friends in college that ultimately wanted to be housewives as soon as they graduate. I just smirked and told them to think twice. At that time, I thought they might not know what they're missing. I encouraged them to at least work for a couple of months just to see how it felt like. Some of them, true enough, married their college boyfriends and are now happy mothers, while some tasted and loved work too much that they ditched the idea of marriage or their boyfriends entirely. Here we are again faced with women exercising their choice.

While some women who have families to run also have corporations or departments to manage. These women achieve a precarious balance that could easily topple them to insanity. They choose to be ambitious with work and liberal minded when it comes to raising a family. The drive to earn for the household may be majority's primary goal, but what about those who work for fulfillment? I know women who have rich husbands to ultimately support the family's needs. Yet these rich wives still work and thrive to compete in the man's world while others start businesses. They know they have capabilities and they have personal goals to achieve. Money is not a question.

But I have a couple of colleagues who are very accomplished women in dire need to find their Kings. They have started to feel that all of their achievements are worthless if they're not a wife or a mother. Maybe society makes them feel incomplete that even constant questions from relatives would make them reconsider the life of an accomplished CEO versus an accomplished mother. Since women's roles are generally more reverred to being the wife and mother, career ultimately fades into the limelight. They would go as far as drop their hot career for a worthy husband. That is fine. That is a choice and it's wonderful that women could exercise it.

But we could not erase the fact that women still suffer the double-edged sword. Powerful career women would always expect society to look down upon them for dividing their time with work and family. Careerwomen might feel and surrender to the pressures of traditional families and husbands. Some would eventually break down by society's invisible deadline for being career oriented by turning it into society's expectations on becoming family oriented. It's either that or privately suffer the setbacks and sorrowful glances to come your way. Others who tried the balance could not take the guilt and ultimately give up the career since women are predominantly destined to be a wife and a devoted mother.

I see in this world, women would always have a set of choices presented, but let's face it, I know some who make choices based on society's demands and not their own. I don't care whatever choice the woman makes as long as it's her own and as long as she is genuinely happy. The double edged sword would always be there, but it won't kill us. Women would have to learn to make the right choices and correct people to respect women's choices in life whether it may be something expected or not. Our role is what we want to be.

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