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The Concept Of Putting Careers Before Marriage And Motherhood In Modern Society

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My mother was arranged into a marriage at the age of seventeen. She had just completed her secondary education, and this was when her dream of becoming a police officer came to an expected end. This is a reality still prevalent for thousands of women around the world, fulfilling the cultural expectation of arranged marriage is deemed of high importance for many. Despite cultural traditions and the pressures of conforming to societal standards, there has been a rise of women in the workforce. The Australian Department of Employment states that “over the next four years to 2023, female employment is projected to grow by 8.8% compared with 5.6% for males”, indicating that females in contemporary society are more open to the idea of attaining a career before settling into marriage and motherhood. Regardless of the path women choose, the level of cruciality of developing a career before getting married or having kids is a concept that differs for each individual.

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Motherhood and being a stay at home wife are lifestyles destined for many females. The presence of a career is not deemed necessary for women who like to follow the cultural traditions of engaging in a marriage and having children early on within their lifetime. The Australian Institute of Family Studies suggests that “fathers are far more likely to be working full-time than mothers, the percentage of stay-at-home dads (3-4%) has barely changed since 1991”, demonstrating that it has become the ‘norm’ or ‘standard’ for women not to develop or progress onward with their careers. This is a fact that sits comfortably with many mothers and wives, a life inside the kitchen or cradling babies is what a large number of females feel they are fated to do, and it is what they are good at.

Perhaps, many women feel content with the idea of receiving most to all of their financial support from their partners, and don’t have the desire to develop further skills gained in a workforce, or progress through a career. Social and cultural stigma, and the expectations that come along with it have subsequently resulted in the high prevalence of stay at home mums, and it has been normalized for a woman to lack independence, thus ensuing an absence of a career for countless women. Do you think it’s okay for a woman to solely rely on her partner to provide an income whilst she spends her days at home with the kids?

In saying so, irrespective of the fact that men are more likely to participate in labour markets than women, the gender differences in participation rates have been narrowing substantially in the most recent decades. On a rather modern approach, females are now more likely to develop a career, or aim to gain financial stability independently more than ever before. Our World in Data declares that “there was a whopping 715,300 women business operators in Australia in January 2019”, indicative of a 10% increase over the past 12 months. I think this is due to a rather newfound parallel in the objectives of both males and females, it is now a common goal for women to target higher positions in workplaces. By breaking the patriarchal trends, females feel empowered and equally respected. The act of being employed also allows for a woman to find her purpose ensures her a sense of identity.

The uprise of millennial women putting careers before marriage and motherhood is highly represented through a study done by Australia Today; “68% of millennial mothers said being a working mother made it harder for them to get ahead in their careers”, the reasoning behind why many women choose to either progress through or career or decide to settle into a marriage. It is known fact that there is also an expectation or push for more women want to go out in the workplace because they see they have more options than just getting married and having children. After all, that is the double-edged sword that’s being a woman; having the drive to develop a career and succeed and the pressure to also have a family.

The contemporality of this notion makes it difficult for me to come to a conclusion, the extent to how vital it is to consider the concept of developing a career before marriage or having kids depends on each individual. Deciding what is best for you requires a thorough level of introspection or maybe this is essentially not a very difficult question if you have a clear understanding of what exactly makes you happy. There are people who place a lot of importance on getting married to the love of their life and starting a family. There are also people who see marriage as a hindrance; something that would prevent them from becoming successful at what they do. 

09 March 2021

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