An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Women Juggling between Careers and Family!

On my flight to San Diego, I was reading today’s Houston Chronicle’s Editorial page. It had a very interesting article by a columnist named Froma Harrop about the dilemma that women of today are facing. It hasn’t been very long since the women have joined the workforce in big numbers. I have seen the phenomenon far more pronounced in India than in the US. I clearly remember that our Consulting Group in Delhi had almost 60% ladies and we, men, were a minority. In other places too that I worked, the numbers though not that large were fairly substantial compared to what I see in the US.

The trade off that women face is a very simple one – specially for one who is a professional by education – that of Career Satisfaction vs Family Life. Froma gives the example of a friend who – after her education – chose to be a “stay-at-home-Mom-in-a-suburb”. She expressed her frustration but she met her friend who had been fairly successful and at 40 she was doing very well in her career but she was miserable because she had no family and longed for a family and kids!

She posited the situation as “She’s miserable because all her assumptions have gone wrong” and “I am a cliche”. Did feminist liberty that her friend chose early in her career help her in the long term?

The author contends, and I think very fairly, that those who try to juggle both end up as wrecks working 16 hours days. I have seen my Mother suffer due to that situation!

What is the way out for women? More and more women are joining the higher education courses and will eventually have aspirations which will be tough if not impossible to fulfill!! Is the world changing? I can see a similar struggle that my wife goes through – being an educated lawyer with a Masters from a top Law School in the US, but with the family needs she finds it hard to her skills.

Would love to hear from women who can give their thoughts on what is it like to deal with the Misery of career-but-no-family vs the Frustration of Family-but-no-career.

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2 Comments
  1. Anurag says

    Being the son of the first generation working mum I have also seen the agony my mum had trying to balance between house and work. I guess what is important is that the man need to become a “house husband”.

    Those of us who are brought up in the traditional environment where the lady is supposed to do the house hold chores find it tough to share the load of the house with the working wife of today.

    On the side of the female I would say she needs to balance her views between career and family. Take a concious decision before having a family. Some females manage well work for 10-15yrs take a break to raise a family. Thne back to work. Possible in the western society almost impossible in India and some asian societies.

  2. Anurag says

    Being the son of the first generation working mum I have also seen the agony my mum had trying to balance between house and work. I guess what is important is that the man need to become a “house husband”.

    Those of us who are brought up in the traditional environment where the lady is supposed to do the house hold chores find it tough to share the load of the house with the working wife of today.

    On the side of the female I would say she needs to balance her views between career and family. Take a concious decision before having a family. Some females manage well work for 10-15yrs take a break to raise a family. Thne back to work. Possible in the western society almost impossible in India and some asian societies.

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