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Christian Counseling - Women in America 2009

From a Christian viewpoint, women have likely been struggling for equality since Eve took a bite. In America, women have "come a long way baby." But, for some, is it too little and too long in coming? It seems there is less inequality in the workplace and at home for women, but they less happy in life.

Consider the recent statistics and comments quoted by a panel on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 program entitled "Women in the Workplace," which aired on October 19th:

1. By the end of this year, women will make up one-half of the work force.
2. Sex-segregated jobs are widespread--women's top three are Secretary/Admin. Assist., Nurse and Teacher.
3. Women earn $.77 for every $1.00 a man earns--the gap starts right out of college and continues throughout life.
4. In 2008, women's earnings fell twice that of men--2% compared to 1%, according to a Time Poll.
5. Suze Orman, a panel member, who hosts her own TV show on money matters, said women accept less money and demand less of employers (more timid about asking for a raise) than men, thus increasing corporate earnings, implying also an increase in corporations' desire to hire women.
6. Arianna Huffington, a panel member and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post, said men bully more than women at the office, but there is no gender bias in their victims. However, women who bully do so 71% of the time with other women. She believed this was the result of gossiping, backstabbing and insecurity leading to competition.
7. Fay Wattleton, a final panel member and President of The Center for Advancement of Women, said there is not enough change on the domestic front, as career women still do more of the home chores than men.
8. The panel appeared to have agreed, American women have gained power, but are less happy. Why? Because they are stressed--driven by guilt and a caretaking role to "do it all."

An October 26, 2009 article in Time magazine, What Women Want Now by Nancy Gibbs, supported the eighth point above. She wrote, "...tracked by numerous surveys,...women have gained more freedom, more education and more economic power, (and) have become less happy." Why? To answer, she quotes a few proposed reasons offered by Justin Wolfers (Univ. of Penn. economist and co-author of The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness): "women are more honest about what ails them," they now "wrestle with the same pressures and conflicts" that cause male unhappiness, and "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."

Whether you are a male or a female, what is your experience and beliefs regarding these issues? Women, are you, your mother and your female friends happier in life, or less? Why do you think that is?

2 comments (Add your own)

1. frankmancusophd wrote:
Thank you for being the first to comment on our blog. We heard others have been waiting for someone to begin.
Yes, being a recovering perfectionist myself, I can understand to some degree the self and other imposed pressure to be a super-person--woman, man, worker, mother, etc. And what a price to pay, personally and relationally, for it can lead to fatigue, higher spousal expectations, guilt and even depression.
It may be a hard concept to understand, but it is far more difficult to accept--"in Christ," we are perfect to God. Perhaps it is good enough, that to God we are super.

10/30/2009 @ 11:59 PM

2. Anonymous wrote:
Because we have been schooled to be caregivers (esp baby boomers, but as baby boomers we've schooled our daughters in much the same manner) and because we've also taken a large role in providing financially for our families, we believe we must be super-women. I believe that many of us enjoy both roles, but the stress of the combined, plus resentment towards our male partners who participate at home to a much lesser degree, causes the unhappness. We have not learned to set boundaries for ourselves, or for our mates.

10/30/2009 @ 3:23 PM

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