Loads of discussion going on online about whether or not us women can “have it all.” Whether we can parent, keep a home and climb the corporate/career ladder is the talk of the internet these days.
According to Elizabeth Wurtzel and her recent article in The Atlantic, women can’t have it all because real “feminists don’t depend on men. Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own.” In other words, or my take on Wurtzel’s opinion is, you can’t have it all unless you are a true feminist and you can’t be a true feminist if you choose to marry and depend on a man.
This logic causes my head to spin with thoughts that are probably as skewed as those Wurtzel expresses in her article. Women earn, on average 20% less than men. If you decide to attach yourself to a man, have children with that man aren’t you going to be somewhat financially dependent on that man regardless of how far up the career ladder you manage to get? The fact that woman are lower wage earners puts us in that position automatically.
The only reasonable response I can come up with to her article is…seriously? If she thinks women’s choices, when they differ from her choices are not feminist then she has a very limited view of women and feminism.
Next we have another article in The Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter explaining to us why we can’t have it all. This one is more rational and levelheaded and one I can somewhat agree with. Slaughter says, “I still strongly believe that women can “have it all” (and that men can too). I believe that we can “have it all at the same time.” But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured.
One issue I have with both articles is that they treat women equally and us women are not equal. Some women choose to never marry, some choose to marry have children and become a SAHM and then there are those who choose to marry, have children and build a rewarding career.
The choice we make and how fulfilling that choice is should define whether a woman “has it all” or not. Granted, if you choose to marry, have children and build a career you will find it hard, if not impossible to “have it all.”
But, does not being able to have it all have anything to do with a war on women? Or, do us women struggle due to a lack of support where we should be expecting support? Women can’t have it all if society continues to expect them to DO it all.
According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, married fathers spend, on average 6.5 hours a week taking part in primary child care activities with his children. The married mother spends, on average 12.9 hours. If you are divorced only 22% of divorced fathers see their children more than once a week.
Given those statistics, is it reasonable for us to expect women to ever have it all? Maybe the reason women can’t have it all is the disparity between the roles mothers and fathers take on when furthering the best interest of a family.
How often does a father choose to abandon a career for the sake of his family?
How many fathers are responsible for planning birthday parties, parent/teacher meetings, doctor’s appointments and on and on while also maintaining a full time career?
If it weren’t for societies patriarchal expectations of mothers could us women at least have more than we have now?