Yes I have been fiercely ambitious during my life but the opportunity cost of business success can be a personal one. I can’t help thinking that women who want it all have either been fed a lifestyle myth (by delighted men and miserable women) or they’ll realise what they’ve missed when it’s too late to do anything about it.
I am not sure why want it all women seem to need total control of their lives. We’re forever reading about female career role models, Supermums, domestic goddesses and celebrity sex symbols. How do they do all this and why am I expected to follow suit? I’m weary enough surviving from morning to night as is, let alone with ‘perfection’ waving at me from a ‘must have’ horizon…
I think feminism has gone too far here and taken a wrong turning even; surely life is intended to be a balanced partnership, not a battle of the sexes? And what cost a career if, by the time you’ve got to the top and look round for a partner to share your spoils with, all the best husbands have been bagged. I can’t imagine anyone choosing to bring up a child on your own… it’s difficult enough when there’s two of you.
Why this topic? I’ve just read some new research from esure’s privately owned insurance provider Sheilas Wheels (no longer part of HBOS/Lloyds). They do mischief PR surveys to draw attention to their female insurance products; this one suggests that nearly one in three women in their sample now bring home a higher salary than their partner and that one in five women are now the main or sole earners in their household.
Apparently 44 per cent of men in the UK would happily stay at home to look after the family and household to let their partners bring home the bacon. Perhaps they think that’s a cushier number? They’d be wrong of course but not so daft perhaps if their female partner works AND organises everything for them to do.
How sad that 12 per cent of this female sample consider a big salary to be the most important aspect and one in five (19 per cent) said that being passionate about their job is top of their list. A ripple effect from The Apprentice TV show perhaps? This research also found that over one million career-hungry women would choose success in the workplace over a relationship.
A more realistic finding, in my FOXY motoring-related experience, is that one in eight (12 per cent) women have returned to work because of the recession and a third (30 per cent) have increased their working hours to help boost the family income.
This reminds me of recent Boston Consulting Group research where women admitted to being stressed, short of time and overburdened. They wanted time saving services and to do business with organisations they could trust; ones who treated them as equals of course but recognised their female needs and differences.
Fortunately we all know that women come in different shapes, sizes and combinations throughout their lives – community mums, career executives, voluntary altruists and soloists of all ages. No matter what it can be tough being a female because we are likely to berate ourselves for not doing more or better.
But the truth is that women are the nurturing/caring gender by nature and men are the born forager/providers; no harm in trying to adjust the balance a bit on occasion but we can’t odds our natural genes no matter how hard some try.
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For details of female friendly UK garages that recognise what busy women want, see FOXY Choice.