Updated: Sep 23, 2021
How often have you heard that the best time for a woman to advance her career, or upgrade her education is before she gets married or has children? It is said, a woman's life drastically changes the moment she gets married or has children.While it is true that a woman’s life does change with marriage and children, her career and dreams don’t have to change.
It is very predictable how most most successful female characters are portrayed on Television.If a woman is very successful ,her personal life will be very complicated.A husband either divorces her because she isn’t being a good wife, or her children hate her because she is an absent parent who puts her work first. However, we rarely see successful men on Television being portrayed in that way. If he is a successful man, then he has a happy and loving family at home.
For some reason, a successful career woman can’t balance her career and her family but a man can. This seems to be insinuating that, as a woman, you can’t have it all, either you have to sacrifice one thing. You are forced to choose between two of the most important things in your life, a family or a career.
I wonder how this is so because without having to reference celebrities like Selena Williams, or Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, we are surrounded by several successful women who are happily married and wonderful mother s to their children. For instance, our mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends.
If a woman’s career does come to an end when she marries, then something somewhere is wrong and it has nothing to do with her. Either she isn’t getting full support at home or the workplace. This brings us to the discourse about equality at work and gender roles at household level. When a woman marries, she takes up the role of the caretaker, and the housekeeper who takes care of everyone even if it means giving up her dreams or career.
Some workplaces have very toxic environments and policies which do not accommodate mothers and married women. Such workplaces need to create supportive work environments which recognize that employees have lives outside the workplace.It should be normal for companies or organizations to implement structures and policies which provide the necessary support to it's employees.
For instance,providing a babysitting area that can allow mothers to work knowing their children are safe and well taken care of,giving breastfeeding women break time where they can breastfeed and return to their duties.These actions might seem small,but they can make very big changes for the employees as well as the company.
Let us normalize the idea that women can have successful careers while being parents or spouses. And while we are at it, let's also come up with reforms and structures which will support career women who have children and families.
Women should not have to worry about lying that they don't have children for fear of being sidelined at work. They must not feel the need to put their wishes of starting a family on hold. Women with kids and families need not be considered liabilities to companies. Women don't have to give up their dreams when they become parents or mothers.