Essay Paper on Men and Women
Men and women, moreover, will not cease to be men and women in the process. One of the most significant findings of the family studies reported here is that dual-career and similar patterns do not imply masculine women or feminine men, any more than they need imply any disadvantage to children. Past views on this have been biased by the fact not only that those women who fought their way through the barriers of discrimination to reach top positions had often to be exceptionally tough–especially in the generation which made the first breakthrough–but also that so many of the women who reached these positions hitherto have been single. Women and men who remain single after usual marriage age tend, as will be shown, to diverge from the attitudes of their own sex towards those of the other. The present studies have paid special attention to married men and women, and in their case no necessary or even probable correlation appears between a wife having a career and the feminization of men or the masculinization of women.
Given the fact that women are working more in addition to (rather than instead of) getting married and having a family, the issue of reconciling work and family life becomes increasingly acute. Participation by women in responsible jobs in contemporary society requires an organization of effort, and commitment to work that can be characterized as a ‘career-orientation’, rather than an orientation that allows for working without expectations of development and/or advancement. The probability of a career-orientation as distinct from other orientations to work and to family life is higher for a population of graduate women than for one that is randomly selected, although even here, as already indicated, there is a range of orientations among both women and men. In addition, it is expected that most of the patterns and processes that have been found for graduate women hold as well for a wide range of highly qualified women as they attempt to reconcile work and family life. Among the different types of families, there is one which is characterized by both the woman and the man having a high degree of commitment and aspiration in the world of work: both seek to exercise their competences as fully as possible in their occupations and to perform highly productive or responsible jobs. Such a family we term the ‘dual-career family’, in contrast to the conventional pattern where the husband is the breadwinner and the wife is the mother-housewife. The concept of the dual-career family does not necessarily require that both members work full-time. Depending on their situation and the nature of their occupations, the amount of paid work put in at any given time may vary. The crucial element in distinguishing the dual-career family from other forms of family structure is the high commitment of both husband and wife to work on an egalitarian basis and a life-plan which involves a relatively full participation and advancement in work. There has been a definite change in the recent history of women’s increased participation in work. In the previous traditional situation the model pattern was for the woman to be committed to the housewife role while her husband filled the provider role. The more recent trend is for many women to work before having children and then to drop out and re-enter at a later date, perhaps on a parttime basis, increasing perhaps to more full-time participation after the children are grown.
In the rapidly developing world man’s role tends to change. I should emphasize once again that the most important appeal is for an increase in the opportunities for male involvement in child care and the family; I would not recommend or mandate this as a universally desirable goal. So long as a significant number–no matter how small a minority–of men might take advantage of the opportunity to become more involved in their families, and thus enhance their own satisfaction, the general welfare is enhanced, because changes that increase the opportunities available to all men should not reduce the life satisfaction of those who choose not to take advantage of these opportunities. Policies and practices that implicitly or explicitly restrict male involvement in child care significantly limit the freedom of choice that is the goal of any democratic society…
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