Clap your hands! Stomp your feet! Well, apparently not too many women are clapping and stomping these days. Recently, there have been many articles and reports on how women’s happiness has declined in the last few decades. Quite honestly, it’s depressing just to read these articles.
Many theories have been tossed around; some related to the failure of feminism. These theories suggest that the more a woman’s sphere of existence expands and diversifies, the more she has to be unhappy about. In other words, increased opportunities for women raise the level of expectations and these expectations are not fulfilled causing unhappiness. I don’t see how feminism has failed. What I do see is how society has fallen short of supporting women.
What has become apparent with the release of Maria Shriver’s report, “A Women’s Nation Changes Everything”, is that women have not made significant progress in many key areas. For instance, women still earn 73 cents to every man’s dollar. Women pay more for health insurance. Old gender stereotypes do still exist to some degree and this forces women into lower paying professions. And most importantly, no matter how many hours women work, we still do most of the care-taking and housekeeping at home.
Is this all changing? Yes. In fact, many more men are now sharing the load at home. But until there is more progress toward gender equality, I don’t think you will see many women jumping up and down with joy.
How do you feel about this issue? I would love to hear your comments.
Andrea Learned says
I see the point of both the A Woman’s Nation study – and Marcus Buckingham’s HuffingtonPost series (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcus-buckingham/whats-happening-to-womens_b_289511.html ) but I wonder if how the information is presented has been getting in the way. Getting mad (or anxious) about how unhappy we are seems counterproductive. Instead – what is at the root of these issues -and why does it continue? How DO we engage more people, men and women, on these imbalances and get them pumped to help culture move more quickly for change? Noticing the little ways things have gotten better, and how those things came about, may give us clues for moving forward. Could we make Gail Collins’ new book required community reading?
Casey Dawes says
I think one of the important things that women need to do is start acknowledging to themselves that these things are important. When working with women business owners, I see them “squeezing in” picking up kids from school, making doctor’s appointments and getting the cat to the vet. We need to plan these things into our days and make sure they get the priority they need — and we need to keep saying it over and over again until someone hears. Tough to do in this economy, I know, but it’s the only way things change….persistence.
Wise Woman Shining
Pixie Stevenson says
I think the belief that “gender equality” will make women happy is an illusion. Women are unhappy for the same reason that men are unhappy – they attach their happiness to sources outside of themselves.