The battle over whether or not women should work and remain working even after their children are born has been debated for nearly a century. At one time restricted from work, then encouraged to work and then restricted again, women discovered there was more to life than sacrificing any hopes of making a change in society in preference for the family and the home. To feel truly fulfilled, they discovered, they needed to have a chance at participating in the rest of the world without necessarily sacrificing their homes and families to do so. Since then, though, the American family has been seen to deteriorate, with increasing levels of divorce and single-family homes existing in poverty. Children are running wild through the streets, forming youth gangs, families and increasingly participating in violent behavior. Is this the result of women returning to work or something else? Today I will discuss the relative merits or disadvantages of women going to work.
We will write a custom Research Paper on Should Women Go to Work? specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The traditional family is changing
- Women were encouraged to work by the country in support of World War II and, in many cases, have found it necessary or preferable to work as a means of supporting their families (Gennari, 2008).
- Women are healthier when they are taking an active part in life by both working and raising their families (Hirshman, 2006).
- Part of the stress of the working mom family is based on a comparison with other families, but that comparison is changing “The rise of divorce in the late 20th century will be a primary influence on the family in the century to come … 50 percent of marriages will end in court” (Wallis, 1996).
Transition: Because these changes in the family occurred in conjunction with women returning to work, many tend to suggest that working women are contributing to the decline of society.
Arguments against working women are losing strength
- As a result of so many women going to work, the traditional family structure is in severe decline and may not survive into the next century (Wallis, 1996).
- Equal rights for women has given them a chance for equal rights to pain and hardship while reducing men’s sense of responsibility to the family “The number of families headed by single women now stands as 12 percent overall and 46 percent among blacks” (Chavez, 1998).
- The necessity for women to work outside the home is a misperception.
According to Chavez (1998), women would not need to work outside the home if the social expectations for the middle class were not set so high.
Transition: Clearly, many feel that there is a choice for women regarding whether or not they will work when their children are young. Whether it is an option or not, even with all expenses reduced to the minimum, it is still the founding principle of this country that everyone is guaranteed the freedom to pursue happiness which, for some women, is found in career fulfillment.
Women should have the right to choose
- Women have entered the workforce on men’s terms, meaning little adjustment has been made to accommodate the needs of the family. “Many young women agonize about how to combine work and family but view the question of how to raise children as a personal dilemma, to which they need to find an individual solution” (Rosen, 2008).
- Men, in recognition of the dual-income contribution of their wives, have begun taking on more of the household duties, dividing the responsibilities of the family more equitably.
- When faced with a choice between family or work, many more women are choosing work rather than giving up their individuality and dreams. “I feel terrified of the patchwork situation women are forced to rely upon. Many young women are deciding not to have children or waiting until they are well established in their careers” (Rosen, 2008).
- Studies indicate that children attending high-quality child care do not suffer from instability or neglect like earlier studies indicated, but can sometimes make up for issues in the home. “Not only do we know that children who receive high-quality care appear more socially competent with peers than those in low-quality care, the research indicates that high-quality child care may provide benefits to children that they do not receive in the typical home setting” (Droege, 1998).
While it is true that there remain several problems to solve in today’s society, these are not necessarily solely the result of women returning to the workplace. Studies have shown that women are healthier and happier when they can pursue their careers outside of the home. Research has also indicated that children can receive a tremendous amount of benefit from the child care environment. The breakdown in society is not the result of women going to work, but is instead the result of the work environment failing to change in consideration of the changing needs of the family.
- Chavez, Linda. “Women’s Increased Participation in the Workforce Has Harmed Society.” Opposing Viewpoints: Working Women. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Howard Community College.
- Droege, Kristin. “Day Care Can Benefit Children.” Opposing Viewpoints: The Family. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. Opposing Viewpoints Critical Thinking. Gale. Howard Community College.
- Gennari, Sydney. “Women in the Job Market in World War II.” Thinkquest. (2008).
- Rosen, Ruth. “Working Women Are Caught in a Work/Life Time Bind.” Opposing Viewpoints: Working Women. Ed. Christina Fisanick. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2008. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Howard Community College.
- Walis, Claudia. “The Traditional Family Will Be Less Prevalent.” Opposing Viewpoints: America Beyond 2001. Ed. Oliver W. Markley and Walter R. McCuan. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Howard Community College.