Beyond Blue

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Time Magazine: The State of the American Woman

posted by Beyond Blue

The State of the American Woman.jpg
Image by of Kris Timken/Corbis

 

“Time Magazine” just published the results of a landmark survey gauging where America stands on the battle of the sexes. The results show that women are much more powerful than they were 40 years ago. In the 60s, one-third of all workers were woman. Now half are. Almost 40 percent of women are the primary breadwinners or are contributing substantial income for the household budget. And according to a Mediamark Research & Intelligence survey, women make 75 percent of the buying decisions in the home. You know the telemarketer who asked for the decision-maker of the house? Apparently it’s the wife.

Women’s power extends to the academic world, as well. Author Nancy Gibbs explains in “Time” that half of Ivy League presidents are women, and the female dropout rate has been cut in half since the 70s. Also, the ratio of 60-40 of men and women on college campuses has reversed. Moreover, half of all law and medical degrees go to women.

But they are stressed, anxious, and not as happy.

Why?

According to the poll results, both men and women say that the government and businesses haven’t adjusted to the revolution and need to do more to help families manage it all. For example, 54 percent of women and 49 percent of men say businesses need to be more flexible with work hours and schedules; they also agreed that companies need to give more paid time off, better or more day-care options, and longer school days or longer school years.

But are women really less happy than they were back in the day we wore pearls with our aprons and greeting Dad at the door when he arrived home from work, the turkey roasting in the oven?

Gibbs writes, “It may be that women have become more honest with the same pressures and conflicts that once accounted for greater male unhappiness. Or that modern life in a global economy is simply more stressful for everyone but especially for women, who are working longer hours while playing quarterback at home.”

I think she nailed it there. It’s comparable to therapy. Before you sit yourself on that couch, you think have a few problems, but you’re not sure what they are. Then the therapist starts prodding you, and yikes! You got yourselves a lot of bloody problems.

From my perspective, I do think I have a more fulfilling life in that I have to use my head for more things than figuring out why the Bendaroos we ordered from the infomercial sucks in comparison to what they promised us. But my job does bring a considerable amount of stress. So I’m happier in one sense, and much more anxious and stress in another. Like Gibbs says, I am probably experiencing the male stress–the pressure transforming ideas and brain power into cash to buy dinner–than many women just simply didn’t experience 30 or 40 years ago.

This is the part in a post that I usually say something that makes you feel better. Like, oh but it’s going to get easier next month.

I don’t have any answers. But I’m glad someone at least asked the question because now I know I’m not alone in feeling like I’m one lousy juggler.

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  • Kathy Hanzek

    HI Yes it is indeed a tough job at times juggling home life, with work and all of it’s responsibilities. It’s takes alot of joy, and positive thinking to move forward in our daily journey of life, helping our families and friends alike find their niche in life or passion they desire to help their fellow neighbor’s. It’s always helpful to know we have support as women at home, with our spouse or significant other to help us if they really want to! Just hope the men out there really understand what women go thru daily to juggle all our responsibilities of family life. Keep up the great work, BE Happy and Thankful! Kathyh.

  • Kate

    Sometimes it’s like juggling rocks blindfolded….or legos…or checkbooks…or…

  • Kim

    I often have debates on this issue of ‘women’s lib’ and the ‘women’s movement’. I think women should be WOMEN and men should be MEN. Meaning God made us to be better at certain tasks than the other sex. I want my guy to go to work and make money, chop the wood and put the gas in the car. I want to be able to stay home and clean the house, do yardwork, take care of the kids, pets. laundry, etc. then when he comes home from work or when the weekend arrives, that time can be utilized TOGETHER. Why do women (and men) feel that women now need to work full time and then go home and still do EVERYTHING else? And we wonder why we are depressed, stressed and obsessed? If women are expected to now bring in the money then men should take half the burden at home. But they don;t because they relaly could care less if it gets done or not…honestly! I vote for the days when women wanted and enjoyed taking care of their families and were not so self-involved that they have to go WORK to feel improtant. If so, don’t have a family – just focus on YOURSELF!

  • skylark

    The women’s movement of the l960′s – 70′s has succeeded in diminishing if not totally denigating the foundational role of women and the family in a healthy society. Children are being born to parents too busy and tired to raise them thus turning them over to professional caretakers to nourish, educate and love them…what results is what this TIME study articulates…an unhappy and amoral society that turns more and more to government to assuage their needs and even their wants…a less self-reliant and less confident society depending more and more on bigger and bigger more costly government that requires all its citizens to work longer hours into the calendar year to pay for this Great Society. What a bleak future if we continue to buy into this philosophy perpetrated by the feminists. No wonder the gender confusion grows as we become more confused by the blind leading the blind!

  • http://offto.net/GetRight/ Carl

    I think women are far less happy now than they were 40 years ago because along with more earnings and more choice comes more indecision, more emotional angst and less of a sense of order.
    Women today seem to think that being “strong” encompasses being more masculine, having more tattoos and piercings and not having to depend on a man for anything other than sex – and the media fuels much of this.
    As a result of women needing men less, men are feeling less fulfilled in their marriages and relationships, resulting a greater incidence of infidelity. Think about it…when was the last time you ran across a couple that had been married forever and raised their children in the same household, sent them off to college and were still married to see their grandkids born?
    Anyone who thinks that women today are better women than the women of 40 years ago is only kidding themselves! Women today are unhappier, less certain about their sexuality and are far more prone to seek therapy.
    If that entails “happiness”, then I’d rather be unhappy!

  • Kacey

    Skylark, I agree with you and couldn’t have said it any better myself. The group of individuals who compromised family values of our generation, are the same radicals and rebels who followed the women’s movement in the 60′s and 70′s. Their ideals will continue to ruin the American Family in the future. Politicians and service leaders do not listen to wants, needs and concerns of the working class. They have no idea what we need or want. Nor do they care. This group is selfish and self-severing making all of us believe there actions are for the common good. They believe they are inspiring Americans for a better way of life, only to take away our freedoms. They have done nothing to build the character, integrety, morals or values of our country or build up the foundation of American Family. They continue to tear it down as they tore the values of the family qs was done in the past. Anyone who is not offended by our leaders lack of concern for the well being of our American Families should be.

  • Liz

    It’s so easy to slam concepts by saying all come from “liberals,” “radicals,” “rebels,” etc. It’s not about the “Women’s Movement.” It’s about fulfillment with balance. I work with women executives and I am one as well. Everyone of the women I know loves the challenges, growth and stimulation that her job entails. Many have husbands who stay at home with the kids and it works out beautifully. Many have husbands who share the home workload (picking up kids at school, staying at home when they’re sick, cooking, etc.)…and many hire outside help. The women go to their kids activities at school and support them in other ways. It’s about dialogue with their spouses. Whether a woman “works” at home by being a stay-at-home mother or a working mother, if she’s fulfilled she can make it work without negative impacts on her children. In fact, eveyone can benefit.

  • Jeffery

    I greatly take offense to the comments made about men not doing their share around the house!!! I have had it up to here with all the male bashing that goes on. I raised my daughter on my own after going through hell to get custody of her even with the fact that her mother was a Rx drug addict. I am now remarried and I do more than my share of the work around the house along with taking care of our children. Let me throw this out there, with all these women out in the workplace why is it during dating that the man most often pays for the date? Why does he pay hundreds and thousands of dollars for an engagement ring for her. When it comes to the wedding it is all about the woman. Having children, it is said that the father can be involved with the pregnancy by “supporting” his wife. Although the couple is having a child most of the time the shower is thrown for just the mother. Here are some more facts that also really upset me. Although breast cancer is serious and needs attention, it is not the only kind of cancer out there. Now during breast cancer awareness month everywhere you look you see pink. Now I have read that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer (men can get it too) while 1 in 6 men will get prostate cancer yet during prostate cancer awareness month, in Sept., I only saw one thing about it at the checkout counter of a local grocery store. You go to any formal event and all the men basically look the same while if 2 women have the same dress on it is a disaster. I am so tired of all the restricted choices men have in fashion. Finally, looking at the above statistics how can a man still feel important and needed when women are now doing what men used to do for the household and family and when does take on the child rearing role being a stay at home dad he rarely gets any credit because like all of you had said that it is the woman who balances a career while taking care of the house and children.

  • Thomas

    I just hope that at some point, there will not be anything left to prove for woman. That at some point, they will have enough power and be certain enough of their power, that they can relax into it. I hope at some point men will be allowed to openly express pride in being a man, and even state what strengths they think they have (as women have become free to do) without it being a sexist commnent. I hope at some point, favoring other woman in opportunities at work will no longer be seen as enlightened and will not longer be needed to be proactive — it will simply be seen as unfair. I hope at some point it will not endear woman to a product on tv to protray men as the idiot in every advertisement. I hope at some point there will be a model for men other than the big stupid sports guy — a model that allows men as a demographic group to pin their identiy on being such things as wise, kind, productive,decent, artistic, conscientious, loyal, etc. I hope that our society’s future aspirations for men will inspire more like Beethoven, Shakespeare, Jefferson, and Soloman, instead of only having a place in the communal conception that we are suited to be killers, laborers, or providers. I hope at some point women will be certain that they have enough power, and that then they can relax and deploy it with greater empathy and wisdom towards men, with an eye towards everyone being raised up. I hope that some day the goodness women know in their husbands and sons, and the hopes they have for them, can somehow be expanded so they realize there must be many men like the ones they respect and love. Until such a time, we men will have to sit back until women have had their fill. There is no fighting it. Lay still, men, and eventually the kicking must stop. More power to women, I say, more more more, until perhaps someday they will lead with broader wisdom.

  • Thomas

    I just re-read my post. What a rant. Sorry. Liz’s post above was the wise one…

  • Deana

    I believe in the women’s movement…we have come along way, although the government has too! At one time a household making $70,000 was considered awesome and workable…now it just isn’t enough…at least here in Illinois. With the success of the women’s movement, came the very serious fact that we are no longer to secure a family on one income…I don’t blame the movement to be paid equally, but because of two income families we are now seeing a rapid decline in the family unit…and I don’t believe that children should be put in school all year long to ease our schedules…I do believe that companies should be more liberal with time issues especially with all the single parents out there. Unfortunately, the greed in this world keeps growing and we are all becoming slaves to it. American women are strong and yes maybe we have admitted to some stresses that our ancestors were more stoic about. But really, we have ALOT more to be stressed out about.

  • Your Name

    Hmmmm…I need to read the Time article but judging this author’s summation (and her obvious delight at how we women have progressed so far in such a short time)clearly shows that she missed the boat on this one. Do all these wonderful facts and figures encompass ALL women or just white women? And define “work”….does this mean productive or reproductive work? Perhaps a few courses in Women’s Studies would be of great benefit here…

  • Ms. Allen

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE ENCOURAGING WORDS. I KNOW HOW POWERFUL WE ARE AS WOMEN,BECUASE I COME FROM A CHAIN OF POWERFUL WOMEN & MEN. WE ARE JUST STARTING TO REMEBER AND THE REAL SAD THING IS THAT MEN ARE NOT BEING BROUGHT UP LIKE THEY USE TO BE AND THAT IS WHERE WE MUST TAKE A STAND OR CONTIUNE TO FALL FOR ANYTHING!!! DO WE CARE ENOUGH ABOUT ARE SELVES, DO THE NEEDED WORK IT TAKES ON OUR OWN SELVES, SO WHEN THE REAL MAN SHOWS UP WE KNOW HOW HE IS OR WILL BE CONTIUNE TO BABY SET GROWN MEN THAT ARE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO REPLACE THEIR MOTHERS???? WE HAVE THE POWER LADYS LET REMEMBER THAT & HAVE THE COURAGE TO CREATE THAT FAMILY THAT OUR CHILDREN YET TO COME WILL LOVE AND RESPECT… STAY PRAYERFUL, BE POSITIVE AND KEEP IT MOVING….

  • Elizabeth

    Don’t feel bad, Thomas. I’m sure lots of men echo the frustration expressed in your rant. Unfortunately, when things have been out of balance in one direction, they have to tip the other way for awhile before everything settles in the right place.
    We have become a culture that in many ways does not appreciate men, and that’s not right either.
    Hang in there. We’re all getting wiser!

  • Your Name

    At what cost does this “success” come? First, women/mothers leaving the home to work has taken a huge toll on kids. The rate of juvenile crime, pregnancy, and school drop outs has shot through the roof over the last 40 years. Standardized test scores have plummeted in the mean time.
    What “other” hidden costs has this so called revolution led to? As a Firefighter, we now have women in our ranks. Why? Because some federal judge ordered my department to hire them – even though they FAILED the physical ability portion of the entrance exam. This not only jeopardizes my life, because I’m forced to work with inept people, it also jeopardizes the lives of the public this unqualified individual is supposed to be protecting.
    You can’t have it all… You can’t have a decent family/kids if the parents are not home most of the time. Our society has proven this over the last 40 years. You can’t have a quality work force when you lower the standards (or get rid of them all together) to accommodate unqualified individuals. This is just common sense.
    So the next time you hear of somebody touting the “women’s movement,” ask them what it has cost society!

  • Jo Anna

    “No Name” Fire Dept. person…i agree that an unqualified person should not be placed into a position because of a non-qualified reason. My husband deals with it all the time at his job at a state hospital – both males & females who are not qualified – he has no choice, he has to hire them or lose his job. It is stupid & unsafe.
    That said, we cannot generalize the work arena & say its women’s faults…affirmative action & the like covers categories of men too. We also cannot say that it is women’s fault that society has gone to “he!! in handbasket” w/ crime, etc.
    Statistically speaking, I ask you these questions: Who is working full-time, taking care of the kids & taking care of the home today? Not very many men. And who is typically absent from the home/family being a positive & successful role model today? Not very many women. And who is committing the most crime? Not very many women. Who is having the most affairs & committing sexual crimes & watching porn & tearing apart families? Not very many women. Though women are catching up, men are still leading the ranks in substance abuse. Who are the dirty politicians & creepy, hypocritical religious leaders? Not very many women.
    Women have stepped up in society while men have fallen WAY SHORT. Your fire department, though very important, is a very small piece of the larger societal picture.

  • http://offto.net/GetRight/ Carl

    There is a HUGE difference between being strong and being masculine – it seems to me as though women today are more intent on being masculine rather than being strong. It’s scary when you walk down the street and see very little in the way of femininity. Every woman looks like a cyborg listening to their iPods – you’d better not get in their way, either! LOL
    Sad…

  • shut-eye doll

    There are some cultures in the world, where the middle class woman “housewife,” was so powerful, and yes, the decision maker, not only in consumer decisions, but also in major decisions such as child-rearing. One would be surprised to hear that actually took place and is still silently taking place to some extent, in these cultures, in a country considered backward, and abusive of women!!
    Unfortunately, women in these very same countries, and I’m embarrassed to say I’m one of them, have wrestled the right to use their brains to generate revenue. The result? These women are now multi-tasking to glory, trying to be super-wives, super-moms, and doing their 24×7 jobs, while preparing dinner, and helping a child with homework. Stress, of course. Freedom, and feeling of liberation? Maybe yes, maybe no…each case is different. Worth monitoring!

  • Ms. Flood

    What about all the grandparents that are raising the grandchildren? Whose problem has this become? When grandparents are suppose to visit with the grandchildren, but now they are in a position were they are raising them? Tell me how this situation has become more realistic over the past fifteen or twenty years? Either both parents are unavailable because of a domestic problem or they are both in jail! Some women lose custody of their children because they don’t have any other housing to go to other than at the same residence where the domestic violence took place. If they put the child or children in a violent atmosphere, then she is charged with reckless endangerment of a minor. The child or children are taken away and put in foster care for a period of time. Hopefully the mother or father can change their residence so that the children can return to them, but only when it is proven that the children will be safe in the new residence. We can only hope that situations will change.

  • pamalu

    Wow, reading all these posts makes me realize there is more than one side to the story. MEN too, have their issues with stress in today’s chaotic world.
    I think it’s important to take a step back sometimes and look at the whole scenario. At certain periods in your life it might be better to be home with your children (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the mom in all cases). Let’s look at what kind of a world we are creating before jumping on a bandwagon just because we “can.” At the same time, it’s good to have choices and women today have more options than perhaps women of 50 years ago. Let’s ALL be all that we can be, but not forget the children in the process. Think about what is best for your own situation at this point in your life, and proceed from there.

  • My Name

    Must disagree with Kim near the top. Some women might be working outside the home to feel important, but, believe me, many go to work because hubby isn’t earning enough for the daily bread. It’s easy to generalize, but where does this stop? Before we know it, we’ll be saying that women don’t need to go to school because it’s the men who have to work. An education, knowledge and the possibility of employment and career advancement do provide a measure of freedom for women and should not be taken away. It’s how women actually USE these freedoms which may or may not determine their stress levels. You can throw in motivation and level of personal gain in there as well. Every single woman has to decide things in such a way that life suits her, and not the other way around. Since when have we fooled ourselves thinking that our lives are only meant for others? Please, please, we live first of all for ourselves. That is a fundamental truth and no one should spend their lives denying it.

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