10 Sep 2010

Pressure Points (Part 1)

Throughout our human history, women have faced all sorts of pressures, mainly as home-makers (cook, maid, seamstress, gardener, nurse and jack-of-all-trades), as wives and mothers raising their children. On top of this and increasingly their responsibilities got extended to wage-earners, whereby working long hours on farms, in factories, or as housemaids for the local bourgeoisie or nobility.

In today's Western society, women of working age still face intense pressure to achieve and succeed. On the whole, the challenges are pretty much the same as those of yesteryear, with the same expectations: to aim for/ achieve financial stability/ independence, while at the same time run a home, maintain marital harmony and bring up children. The average modern woman will probably be more career-minded than her elders, due to the fact there is a higher proportion of them gaining a university education and a degree. In the space of the last 20 years, Britain has seen its university student numbers double.

Today's young woman will also probably be more reluctant to compromise. Appearance will be her ultimate vanity, her priority, financed mostly on credit. After childbirth, she'll be happy to get a nanny and go back to the workplace fast, rather than become a stay-at-home mum. She'll also want to have fun with the girls, go out clubbing like a single girl well into her thirties and forties (if not beyond!), while hubby minds the kids - or while hubby goes out too, with his mates.

Not your average cruise: The Sea Cloud

She'll expect holidays, not necessarily the type of holiday her parents would have got her acquainted with as a child (stuck at home for two weeks with a couple of day trips to the seaside, camping down south, or packed off to Butlins or Center Parcs). The young women I know are well-travelled: they will fly off to Vegas, Cozumel or Phuket and these destinations won't even be described as trips of a lifetime! By the way, these are your average girls next door with a degree and an entry office job...

Certain women in the workplace will fight it tooth and nail to get noticed, snatch that promotion and/ or get perks. If jumping on the career bandwaggon means taking advantage of feminine lures, shifting loyalties, taking privileges, being selfish, sneaky and catty, spreading false rumours, incriminating/ walking all over co-workers, and taking undue credit, then my personal observations are proving me just that: some of these women will be ready to do what it takes to advance their career, even if what it takes means anything dubious and morally questionable. (to be continued)

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