The article discusses the role and impact of working women on society and its culture. Since married women in our society are viewed as occupying a social position defined by their husband’s occupation, those characteristics, and processes that lead to a woman’s later position in the stratification system are likely to be different from those relevant to men. The author vividly portrays positive and negative consequences of work outside the home and their impact on culture and values.
The main problem identified by the author is social changes and social problems faced by societies “where women work outside their homes” (159). Differences in the basis for assigning a position to men and women are intimately associated with definitions of what is appropriate male and female behavior, and girls and boys are treated differently and are expected to behave differently from a very early age.
It will not be possible to consider all aspects of differential socialization by sex, but some attention will be given to differences that are associated with adult placement in the stratification system. The author presents two sets of arguments, for and against work for women outside their homes. On the one hand, work helps women to obtain independence and become equal to men, earn for living and develop themselves. On the other hand, religion states that the role of women is to stay at home and keep a family. The author underlines that women and men are different both mentally and physically. They cannot perform the same jobs such as “working with heavy machinery and bricklaying” (160). In a society that is as aware of differences like this one and in which there are massive differences in the distribution of jobs in the stratification system, identity is certainly relevant to the topic at hand. There are some jobs assigned for women only: “nursing, raising children and housework” (160). An adequate treatment of that problem, however, would require a much more extended discussion than is possible here. One of the difficult issues in such a discussion would be the distinction between men and women. These differences are caused by emotional and intelligence differences: “women are much better suited for the patience and kindness involved in raising children” (160).
Special attention is given to the role of religion and previous views on women’s position in society. “God made men to take care of women” (160). The main problem caused by women working outside the home is that they take jobs from men. Unemployment and low wages are a direct result of women being involved in the labor market. In its turn, it leads to increased crime rates and negative impacts on children, high divorce rates, and declining morality. The author concludes that “having women work outside the home is morally wrong” (161)
The article presents problems from a religious point of view only. It is possible to say that it is subjective because the author omits historical and social facts which led women to work outside their homes. Historically, the woman was placed at a legal and social disadvantage and usually not educated to develop her true talents. But these did flower when circumstances permitted and were demonstrated in female work and whenever men and women had marriages that rose above household partnership to intellectual companionship and joint spiritual pursuits. Religion, the Bible, and Koran stipulate that women should work at home, but this position and perception of women was caused by the low social position of women in society and their secondary roles. Women were seen as unimportant citizens unable to work and develop their selves. Throughout the ages, there have always been women who showed what women were capable of, but now, in the mid-nineteenth century, women had the possibility of removing the traditional barriers that had always held most women back. Work outside the home allows women to receive education and develop unique skills, obtain a leadership position and earn for living.
Educated women would have a beneficial influence on public opinion. And, finally, marriages will be happier when each of two persons, instead of being nothing, is something. The author is biased against women stating that they are suited for nursing and homework only. Women leaders and female presidents are an example of good skills and high level of professionalism possessed by many women. Human beings are affected by their environment, but they are also uniquely affected by social conditions. The fact that women are supported by men has distorted how women have developed. Therefore, women have developed exaggerated secondary sex characteristics. Historically, males have become more important for society than females have because they have interests in industry, commerce, science, manufacture. Women have had to concentrate on their sexual role and role as consumers. Only recently the rise of a group of working women who earn a wage begun to change this aspect of society, which has had centuries to pit the instinct of self-preservation against the instinct of race preservation.
The main limitation and weakness of the arguments are that women take jobs of the men and unemployment leads to crimes. Industrial development has created new opportunities for women and new jobs for them. Industrialization itself influences society in this direction: an industrial society promotes peace without any sacrifice because it needs it. I disagree with the following statement: “As women become more and more a part of the men’s world, their association with men results in immoral acts” (161). Not all men are immoral and not all women commit crimes. on the contrary, homework permits the dominance of men and stipulates secondary roles of women because of their financial dependence and poor education.
So when, as a result of social and economic changes, large numbers of women decided to change their lives in the sixties and early seventies, it was relatively easy for them to make a social revolution. Entry-level jobs opened up for educated articulate women willing to work for little more than what they needed for child care and carfare. Training courses became available for women whose education had been interrupted by marriage. Peripheral household services became more available as less time was spent at home by the lady of the house.
If people believe things that are not so about their lives, sooner or later reality will make at least partial converts of them. When a woman’s well-being is defined by her being a mother, that is an incentive for her to have several children so that she could continue in that occupation over the years. If women stayed at home and raise children, the men would treat women as sex objects and servants, a treatment that is all the more galling because the women in question are generally student colleagues who are their social, educational, and intellectual equals. Links to the Bible and the Koran are irrelevant in this article because the author cites only one position but ignores its historical context. It is a known fact that both the Bible and Koran treat a woman as a “thing” and a possession of men (father and a husband). Probably, any modern woman would want to be treated like a thing deprived of human rights and freedoms.
If discussing what each person in a marriage wants makes them understand each other better, romance is enhanced, not killed. What a sex-role revolution can do in a marriage is to make friends and partners out of people who were almost strangers and turn what were grudgingly accepted as duties into voluntary commitments. When it became the exception and not the rule for a woman with children to stay home to care for them, young families faced a problem: who would care for the children? There were several alternatives: some sort of daycare, some sort of live-in help, or some sort of the change in the nature or timing of a woman’s work (flexible time, job sharing, home office, entrepreneurship, alternating going to work and staying home). All of these required some sort of change like the father’s work, too. Several companies have included more flexibility in working arrangements among the “child-care benefits” they offer. These include job sharing, part-time schedules, “flextime” and “telecommuting” programs, as well as time off to care for sick children.
In sum, the article proposes interesting views on the role of women in society but it does not address real lie problems and examples, benefits, and opportunities for women who work outside their homes. American business has realized that it needs an increasing number of women employees in management to continue to expand. This realization has changed the workplace in irrevocable ways.
Should a Woman Work outside the Home? pp. 159-161.