Traditionally, the main responsibility of men was to be a ‘good provider’ while that of the woman was to be a housekeeper, nurturer and the ‘primary parent’. However, today, the clear-cut roles of men and women are becoming less defined and both the partners are beginning to take on the traditional roles of the other. Since the past few decades, women have been on the work scene and even rub shoulders with men in many white-collared jobs.
Putting it Together: Family and Work combining the multiple responsibilities of spouse, parent, and worker (paid or unpaid) has often been described as the ‘Balancing Act’ for women. So what are the costs, benefits and implications of this balancing act?
Benefits of the Balancing Act:
- The Balancing act has proved beneficial in more than one way, with regards to the women themselves as well as their families. Women who can balance between work and family develop good ‘juggling’ skills and coping strategies.
- Research also indicates that working women have been found to suffer fewer psychological problems as compared to homemakers. Besides, higher job quality is related to lower psychological distress in women. One of the main reasons for the same could be that success in one area / role enables a person to keep a perspective about other activities.
- Husbands of working women can spend more time with the children and show their children a nurturing side – an aspect of personality that has traditionally been less visible in men.
- Division of labour in a family with a working woman is less traditional. For example the husband can prepare a meal or do the laundry when his wife is late from work or on an outstation assignment.
- The feeling of being a ‘provider’ adds to the morale and the woman’s power in the family especially in the financial decision-making.
What Are the Child’s Gains?
- School age children of employed women perform more household responsibilities especially while their mothers are at work. These could take the form of making their own refreshments; doing their laundry and preparing their next day’s school uniform etc.
- They may also grow up to become more independent as compared to children of non-working women. For example, it teaches the child to learn to make their own decisions when the mother is absent from the house.
- Research also indicates that daughters of working women tend to develop a more positive attitude towards being female and look up to their mothers as role models. They show a preference towards a working life as compared to being home makers.