| August 20th, 2007

* on the notion of "a suitable job for women"

I came up with the idea of writing something on the notion: if certain jobs are more suitable than others for women, from a yahoo open question which asked which of the following 3 jobs was suitable for women- physician, nurse and politician. The question also asked which of these can a women perform better than a man. What intrigued me was that although many of the answers to the question protested vehemently against stereotyping jobs for men and women, I am sure most of us (if not all) will agree that such stereotypes not just exist in every society, but are also widely accepted and followed by both men and women in every region of the world.

Although the scenario is slowly changing, still the number of women scientists, surgeons, politicians, members of the armed forces, government officials, construction workers, mining laborers, drivers etc. are relatively less than men. Whereas women are considered ideal for jobs as nurses, maids, waitresses, beauticians, performance artists, singers and dancers, garment workers involved in sewing and stitching and so on. Again wage disparity also exists in similar jobs for men and women in many sectors all around the world.

It can be easily argued that because of their nurturing and caring nature and also their understanding and appreciation of beauty and style they are considered more suitable for certain jobs than others. Likewise, lack of physical strength and disinterest in extended hours of work or night time work they are considered inappropriate for certain jobs. Moreover since the popularization of the ‘stay at home mother’ concept and the newly represented value of a women’s reproductive role, double and triple day concepts, it has become inevitable for most employers to be sensitive towards gender needs. This often makes them reluctant to hire women for jobs which require constant and undisturbed dedication.

So in that case do we really want to oppose such stereotypes? I for one, prefer certain kind of time schedules and certain kind of work as I find it easier to give enough time at home with that kind of a job. I had decided that I couldn’t do certain jobs as it required too much time and a level of commitment which I could provide, but I just didn’t want to.

There are exceptions ofcourse. Many women are successfully heading big corporate offices, and many men find satisfaction in doing jobs with flexible timings and which require continuous exercise of their caring and nurturing side. But exceptions cannot be examples. What does the Adhunik woman think about such notions?

 

11 Responses to “* on the notion of "a suitable job for women"”

  1. […] YouTube On the notion of “a suitable job for women” » This Summary is from an article posted at adhunika blog on Monday, August 20, 2007 On the notion of “a suitable job for women” I came up with the idea of writing something on the notion: if certain jobs are more suitable than others for women, from a yahoo open question which asked which of the following 3 jobs was suitable for women- physician, nurse and politician. The question Summary Provided by Technorati.comView Original Article at adhunika blog » 10 Most Recent News Articles About Yahoo […]

  2. sharmin says:

    Good point Nazia.

    These days the work places are getting more aware of particular need of their employees and their work-life balance. If given opportunities both men and women may come out of their stereo type roles and will be willing to try different jobs.

    After we had our daughter both my husband and I come home much earlier from work than we did before. If our job(it is a very male dominated workplace) didn’t have this flexibility we would have to give up one, job or the family. I am glad that we didn’t have to choose one or the other.

    Right now I am reading this book “The female advantage-Wome’s way of leadership”. Though more males are top bosses of corporate world, this book talks about some studies showing that women’s way of leadership is sometimes more effective than that of stereo typical men.

    Now-a-days big companies (may be not yet in Bangladesh, but I sense that its coming soon) are more sensitive about ppl’s family need because they found that this way they are able to retain some of their more valuable assets-the employees.

    I think when ppl do the job that matches with their natural abilites, that is where they do well. So given that men and women has some basic differnces usually some jobs suites better for men than women and vice versa.

    BTW, though I am a woman I will do a terrible job as a beautician or an interior designer:). That’s not my thing at all.

  3. Oneza says:

    More important is what job fits you, your personality and interest the best as a human being, not as a man or woman. If you are lazy and don’t want to work hard, no job is suitable for you. Why a man can’t be a beautician ot fashion designer? There are many successful ones. I think we are going through a period of diffusing the job line bentween genders.

    However, we can’t ignore the fact that some jobs require more physical strength, and may not be suitable for women especially when they are pregnant. But in general when there is no such constraints? I think they both will do great. Let’s not forget that every single job requires quite a bit of training and skills; no matter how below it is in the job ladder, each job bears immense importance to the society.

  4. Sharmin says:

    Talking about hard work, in many societies women are the ones work in the field, they walk miles to fetch drinking water and when they come home they cook and feed the whole family before they can go to bed for a few hours of sleep.

    When there isn’t too much of an option, women are ready to do very physically involved hard work like those in the construction sites.

    We can say it is not only just about hard work, if the work environment is unfriendly, then women (as well as men) are less likely to work there when they have a choice of working elsewhere (or stay home).

    -Sharmin

  5. Oneza says:

    Sharmin, although not as intense as you have mentioned, I think it is the case in many societies where women have to work, come home and take care of the kids and other household works.

    In the societies where women work in the field, walk miles for drinking water, cook and feed the whole family … I agree with you that this is not a job by choice. This is a threshold of living where they have no other options.

    Given all the options, it is the preference, interest and personal life context that makes one job more suitable than the other.

  6. Nazia says:

    I would be interested to know, with the growing sense of gender sensitivity at work place what r the employers thinking about hiring women in roles which require greater commitment, extended time and undisturbed devotion towards work. Many in Dhaka argue that women eventually prove to be less efficient because of their multiple roles. Not that men don’t have multiple roles to play in society, but it is believed that a woman’s role at home require more time and nurturing than men. And thus many think it might become hard for a women to manage both spheres and its best to appoint a man for a demanding position in a corporate office than a women.

    In many western societies, it is accepted for women to be single at any age. Whereas in Bangladesh it is not the norm. Does this fact effect in more women being in leadership positions in western societies than in societies which probably value a woman’s role in family more than at work place?

  7. sharmin says:

    Nazia,

    I know its very common for us to say “western society accepts this and that but BD society doesnt”. It is very true, however if you use a broader vision you will notice the state the western society today is just few years ahead of us.
    Know that there was a time in western society, they were just like we are today. Few brave men and women worked very hard to take it to the point it is today (I am not saying everything is good as is) in terms of professional environment.

    I think one major concern for working moms is taking care of the children while they are at work. Till today we don’t have quality daycares in BD, perhaps that is something enterpreneur women will start thinking about. Note that in the US even many mom leaves their job because quality daycares are expensive. I haven’t met any single american women who are single because of their career. Its the other way around:).

    So you see its not all that easy choice anywhere in the world.

    -Sharmin

  8. Nazia says:

    No one should have to make a choice between one’s work & one’s family, regardless of the person being a man or a woman. There is also no denying the fact that a woman’s role in the household demand more time and nurturing than men’s. What would be discriminatory is when the employers start doubting a women’s efficiency due to her multiple roles.

    Unlike Sharmin apu, I know several women both here in Bangladesh and abroad who r becoming more and more disinterested in making a family as they think it might hamper their career growth. Most my professors in Canada were either divorced or separated. Many others in leading roles at corporations complain of not being able to spend enough time with their children due to their job. Most kids who r overspending, getting into habits of substance abuse and so on come frm family backgrounds where the parents try to make up for their lack of family time together through buying the kids whtever they want.

    Unfortunately a growing number of Bangladeshi women I c around me r also becoming disinterested in marriage and having children so that they can at least reach a certain level in their career before wht they think will be a halt in career by having to raise kids and maintain a family alongside.

    We certainly don’t lack committed mothers in any society, regardless of which country. But what I’d like to know is if women r delaying their desires of starting a family due to the employers pressure or doubt about a working mother’s efficiency at work.

  9. Sharmin says:

    Nazia,

    Reagarding your comment “Most my professors in Canada were either divorced or separated. “, do you know the cause of this? I hope it is not because of their career.

    This article might give you some idea of how big this issue is even in the western world:

    http://www.forbes.com/home/2006/08/23/Marriage-Careers-Divorce_cx_mn_land.html

    Point: Don’t Marry Career Women
    By Michael Noer
    How do women, careers and marriage mix? Not well, say social scientists.

    Guys: a word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career.

  10. Nazia says:

    I think we used this article smwhere b4 at adhunika too haven’t we?

    It needs to be acknowledged that causes for divorce or singlehood cannot entirely be accredited to a women’s job! But often the type of job a women is involved in may have an affect on what others think of her as a mother or a wife. This is probably the primary reason we must re-consider the reasons behind stereotyping suitable jobs for women.

  11. Sabrin says:

    I think this article was very interesting to read, especially since I have just entered the corporate world and have already begun to see the disparities between being a male professional vs being a female professional. I feel that often times the main discrepancy that exists is the attitudes that males vs females bring to the work environment. Women often define themselves by their work or are more emotionally attached to their acheivements while men often take a more dominating and competitive approach to their work, focusing more on getting the job done than achieving personal fulfillment.

    It is true that women often require their work environments to be more flexible to their needs in terms of childcare and maternity leave. But nowadays we see that companies often also have paternity leave to make the work life balance more flexible for men as well. Instead of stereotyping suitable jobs for women, I feel that it is more important to acknowledge what needs and flexibilities women require from their careers and work towards attaining them. For instance, due to the growth of working mothers, and/or woman leaving corporate positions to have children, my company has started implementing new recruiting policies and programs geared specifically to them, promoting better childcare facilities and flexible work hours.

    Although it seems that such is the norm for Western companies, why shouldn’t the same occur in places like Bangladesh? There is an exponentially increasing number of working women in Bangladesh, who often have more family responsibilities than the average woman in the Western world. However, there is still a dearth in work life balance policies, such as childcare or flexibility, amongst companies operating in Bangladesh. I feel the reason for this is that there hasn’t been enough of a voiced demand. Women have more rights than before and instead of succumbing to the definition of what are the right and most flexible career options for women, it is imoportant to break out of the stereotypes and mold the career options that we CHOOSE to be flexible enough for our lives in order to have a strong career and a well developed home life as well.

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Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more

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