The connection between women in the work force, voting, and self-reliance
It’s not uncommon to hear women talk about “wanting it all”.
We want babies, families, careers, and world adventure, and it usually happens all at the same time. I personally think that having babies while building a career can be adventure enough, but it’s just not what many women dream about as little girls.
With just 26% of this generation of women being married today compared to 48% of Baby Boomers or 65% of the members of the Silent Generation, it’s no wonder today’s women MUST think of herself as being independent and self-sufficient. This according to aspenideas.com.
It still surprises me to think that I was already born when President Lyndon Johnson signed into law The Voting Rights Act in 1965, allowing women to vote.
The reality is that there is a clear connection between the women in the work force, women voting, and self-reliance. The message I received as a young girl is very different than what we share with our daughters today.
Some of the differences are subtle and some are not.
Here are just three:
1. “Marry a good man and you’ll be happy and secure”
I clearly recall my mother telling me that as long as I married a good man, my life would be secure and happy.
As the youngest of 3 girls in a Hispanic home, the message was clear that as long as I married a “good man”, all would go well for my children and me. The idea that my goal was to find a knight in shining armor was pretty much the message.
Today, my message to my 14-year old daughter is quite different. I still want her to find her knight, except now she is taught that her security comes from her self-reliance, preparedness for life, and education.2. “Service to others over career choice”
While the message to serve others is still important and holds true, making sure one’s career choice could support the lifestyle you want was clearly not the focus.
I think the old idea that a woman could just “find” something to do that was personally rewarding by helping others was enough. Being available to others was always on the top of the list and took priority over doing something with her time that would actually bring her personal joy and fulfillment.
It was usually about everyone else and the woman was the last one on the list. The order of priority was usually children first, men second, and then came self.
3. “Leave your parents’ home as a married woman.”
It is sad to think that the only way many of us could leave the security of our parents’ home with any sense of dignity and grace was once we got married.
The concern of what friends and neighbors would think was oh, so important. The message was clear that if a young lady left home as a single woman, she better have plans of becoming a nun. Leaving unmarried was clearly not the ideal or tradition in my home.
Fortunately, these restrictions, ideals and limitations for women have changed over the years. Women’s rights and the power that comes with voting has changed many family ideals and the way society views women altogether.
Our desire to “want it all” has not changed over the years either; we just have come to realize that while we do want it all, we just can’t have it all at the same time.