I am quite surprised that I have not heard anyone suggest that we could solve our unemployment problems and perhaps make marriage more popular if women would just leave the job market. Someone mentioned this suggestion in an editorial he wrote to the local newspaper, but it was done tongue-in-cheek. This may be a sign that, although women’s rights are being challenged in the area of women’s health, no one can conceive of a modern job market that doesn’t include women. Wow, if that is so we have come a long way baby! And even though we are accepted in the work place apparently many feel we should not be allowed to make decisions about contraception and/or abortion. Let’s hope we are through with this anomaly soon.
I keep expecting one of those reactionary Republicans to throw out the banishment of women from the workplace as a suggestion at one of their many debates or campaign speeches, but I have not even heard anyone hint at this. My mother has no such compunctions. She makes it clear that she believes that women who have children should stay home. Of course, my mother was born in 1917, when a woman who was single and had a child was not nearly as acceptable a phenomenon as it is today. She never thinks about single moms and how they would survive if women found it difficult or impossible to find a job. Maybe she believes that if women had to stay home with their children there would not be many single moms. Whatever else she believes, she feels genuinely upset that women have babies and then leave them all day to go back to work. If we as a nation had a more comprehensive approach to child care, moms and dads and children would probably all benefit.
Perhaps no one has brought up chasing women out of the workplace because it is almost impossible to live in middle class America without two salaries. With so many people unemployed this aspect of our economy has really become apparent to many American families. Drastic adjustments in lifestyle have had to be made by many who lost a wage earner, or even two, to downsizing, or who have had to rearrange their budgets to accommodate jobs with lower pay and fewer hours. Obviously two wage earners will continue to be necessary in American households for some time. This may be why women have not taken more heat in this regard.
I also would love to believe that men enjoy dealing with women who have more satisfying and productive lives and who get to use their talent and their intelligence in both the work place and the home. Although marriages have had to go through some adjustments, perhaps to become more team- oriented and less traditional, dealing with a marriage and a family as partners is something that makes marriages that work in this fashion much more satisfying and supportive.