Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Thoughts on Women and Work

The March 2011 Q and A program really got me thinking today.  Not that I haven't thought of it all before.....

During the program, one of the panelists seemed somewhat anti-feminist; at least when you look at it through a narrow definition of feminism.

While the other panelists talked about equal pay and equal opportunity, Janet Albrechston brought up the point that not all women want a big part in the job world. A lot of them want to stay home and be housewives and/or mothers.

Not all women are trying to climb the corporate ladder or become Prime Minister.

Later the panelists and Tony Jones talked about the definition of feminism.

Albrechston said, But feminism should be a broad church and I think one of the problems and why it's not attracting as many new recruits as it should is because it is not a broad church.

To me, feminism is about choice.

It's about allowing and helping women to be the woman they want to be.

Some might aspire to be CEO of a company.

Another might want to work at a daycare centre.

Some might want to be nurses.

Some might want to be doctors.

Some might want to raise children.

Others might want to dedicate their life to gardening and housework.

Women should be welcomed to burn their bras.

They should also be welcomed to wear their bras.

I think it's confusing, though.

There are so many mixed messages.

For me....

I always knew that if I had children, I'd want to be a stay at home mom.

I also had interest in being some type of writer.

I hoped to be successful, but the message I got from my parents was that this was highly unlikely.

So

I needed a back up plan.

I needed to go to college.

I needed an alternate career.

I think the unspoken thing was that I went to college, in pursuit of a career path, not just in case the writing thing didn't work out; I went in case the marriage thing didn't work out.
 
I needed a degree in case the writing didn't work out, and in case I didn't meet a man who could help support me.

I guess it's kind of like insurance.  And like insurance it's very expensive.

If I had to do it over, I think I'd go the job route instead of the career route.

I'd find a job to pay the bills so I could write in the meantime.  Then if I didn't meet a partner in the next few years, maybe then I'd rethink things, go to college, and get a career.

Now that I think it over, though, I was still pursuing a career after I met Tim and while things were very serious between us.

I paid a shitload of money for a Masters Degree in teaching.

It's a bit ridiculous since teachers don't make a shitload of money. Not even close.

So maybe the career path thing wasn't about holding myself up financially. 

Why was I pursuing teaching when I pretty much had in mind that I was going to marry this man and have his babies?  AND that I wanted to stay home and raise those babies?

For some, it's a financial issue.  Definitely.  I'm aware of that.  Both partners need to work so bills can be paid.

That wasn't the case for us. And even if it were, as I said, preschool teachers don't make much money. 

In a way, I think it's this narrow-minded definition of feminism that pushed me down a rather silly path.

It's the idea that to be a whole and worthy human being, I needed a career.

I couldn't just be an aspiring novelist who works as a receptionist while waiting (and hoping) for an agent and sperm producer to enter the story.  

I'm guessing my post will seem very anti-feminist to people.

I don't feel it is, though.

I respect people who want different things than I wanted. Some people want a university degree and a career.  Some women want to have children and they want to keep that career. I respect that, although I know it's very difficult to balance both. 

I'm trying to figure out my point here.

Maybe it's simply the fact that we don't all need to dream of a traditional ladder climbing career that involves getting a university degree.

Ah!  And then there's the fact that some men might not want this either.  Some might want to stay at home and take care of the babies.  What's nice is if they end up partnering up with someone who wants to pursue a career, and who will have to be away from home a lot of the time.  

Well.....

Yeah.

I often say I don't have regrets. 

That idea is more on a metaphysical level.

I believe things happen for a reason.

And if I changed the past, I'd lose a lot of wonderful things in my life.  

But if I could change the past and not lose what I love about my life today.....

I'd skip going to college right after high school.

I'd travel. I'd get one of those work visa things. 

I would have odd jobs in various places around the world.

Who am I kidding?

Let's change it to having odd jobs all around Australia.

I'd work at jobs.

I'd come home and write.

If I didn't get published or meet a man interested in marrying me after a few years; then I'd get some more formal education and start building up my plan B life.  

What about you?

Did you go to university in pursuit of a career?

Did you really want that career; or was it more of an insurance?

Are you in that career now, or has your life taken a different turn?