Like any young person, I have dreams of becoming a successful power-player in society. Whether it is as an educator, or my ultimate dream of becoming the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, I know I will have to overcome some obstacles. But will they equate to the same hurdles that my male counterparts will have to face?
A group of friends and I were discussing the reasons why many high-powered jobs are more represented by men than women.
The one reason everyone agreed on was not that women are less qualified, but that when the time comes to start a family, it is more acceptable for women to allow their careers to slip to handle the rigorous job of raising a family, while men are still expected to grind on the job well after the third or fourth child. Because after all, many people in society still view a motherless and non-married women at the age of 40 as a sad and pathetic person who is lacking something – even if she is a CEO of a company or partner in a law firm.
Why is that?
When a girl is young, society tells her she must hit the three milestones of graduating from college, getting married and having kids all before the age of 35 in order to be looked upon as a “successful woman.” But it’s acceptable for her male counterpart to graduate from college, become successful in his career, and then, if the timing is right, get married and have kids.
Not only is it now a common expectation from society for women to hold down a successful full-time job that will render her independence whether she is single or married, but a woman is also required to make sure the household is running smoothly, which is also a full-time job in itself.
Just think about.
Would a law firm be more interested in hiring a well-qualified woman who is six moths pregnant or a well-qualified man whose wife is six months pregnant?
The answer: the man.
The firm would probably think the man would work harder because he is about to start a family. But when it comes to the woman, the firm’s first thought would be, “Let’s not hire her. She will need to be on leave soon, forcing us to hire someone new in a year.”
The double standard that still exists in the workplace may not allow women to have it all- the high-powered job, the super-successful spouse, and the smoothly ran house where the children are raised by the parents and not a caregiver. Something has to give.
So for all you college women out there about the enter the job force highly qualified and ready to make your mark on society, just make sure to always have your cape handy because you will be expected to transform into Wonder Woman.
Katrelle Simmons is a junior English education student from Orlando. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.