Note: This article is a collection of observations and will be undergoing editing as new information is learned on the subject.
While women often speak of how liberating it is to participate in the workforce, I often question the negatives that have resulted from their participation and think it sparks major issues that need to be addressed for the future of the west. These issues involve human relationships, health and population.
History of Gender Roles
For centuries, cultures all over the world have had systems where men did the bulk of the strenuous work and women cared for their children and the household. Women would participate in work, but not as much as the man. It makes sense that the genders would be considerably different after thousands of years of developing based on different work methods. Not to mention biological differences of the body, such as strength.
Impact of Industrial Revolution and Social Engineering on Gender Roles
As the industrial revolution occurred, the role of the woman in the family began to change. Families began moving to cities for work and women started entering the workforce and worked similar hours as men in order for the family to afford living in the populated cities.
In the ’70s the traditional family model was challenged when social engineering was introduced in the west, which is particularly noted in Sweden. The goal of this social engineering was to eliminate people relying on one another. All of a sudden women were no longer encouraged to be the caregiver of the home, but rather to be independent powerhouses who pursue advanced careers. Women were encouraged to be CEOs of companies and scientists, and were given the impression that the role of a mother was less important, or something they would eventually get around to.
Trailer for documentary Swedish Theory of Love.
As women entered the workforce, families now needed daycare services for the children to be watched while the parents worked. Daycare was an added expense to the household, which now many American households are having difficulty to afford. Both parents spent less time with the children and more time at work, meaning children were spending more time with someone outside of the family, and as they got older were spending more time in school programs. In many ways, the government became the caregiver of children and therefore had more influence of the child’s mind than the parents themselves. This intervention has created a divide between parents and children. The development of technology also plays a role in this divide.
Additionally, since both parents worked, there was less time to produce healthy meals for children, and for themselves, which has contributed to the development of an unhealthy diet of starchy and fatty foods. Decent home cooked meals became less significant. Generally speaking, a large portion of Americans have lost touch with cooking altogether and do not know how to cook healthy meals at home.
Traditional Family Model
Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing more push for the traditional family model to be emphasized in the west again, consisting of a married man and woman with children. Americans should discuss the importance of a strong family and the benefits of having a parent at home. Don’t make a woman feel ashamed when she decides to not pursue a career and instead chooses to focus on family. Also, I am not saying that other forms of marriage, such as gay marriage, should not be permitted – I think people should marry as they choose. But the traditional model of man and woman is important for the sake of population growth in the west and western values.
Some people will say that if a woman stays at home she will have nothing to do and cannot bring in money. I consider this to be false in this day and age of technology. There are many options for people to make a passive income at home if they are encouraged to be entrepreneurs and self-motivated. There are work-at-home jobs, online store opportunities as well as small business options of working as an independent contractor. There are plenty of ways a woman can still work on her own time and find things to do while not committing to a full time job.
I actually met a woman who began studying Geology when she was young, then stopped and took a break to raise a family, and then finished her degree when her children were older. I thought that was a smart way to go about developing a career in science. Had she pursued a career in Geology when her children were young there’s a good chance it would have put a major strain on her family considering Geology careers tend to be nomadic. Many science careers are actually “nomadic,” where people work as consultants and move from one job to another, often crossing state lines, which is another reason why I question if urging women to pursue science is the best thing to do.
Suitable Careers for Women
I also take into account careers that women are suited for. I am not very supportive of the notion that a “woman can do the same job as a man.” Yes, in many ways, women can do the same as men, but certain jobs will often require more time and effort from women to adapt to the position compared to the time and effort from a man.
For example, a friend who works at a mine said when a task is given to a group consisting of both men and women, the group will usually naturally split into two smaller groups, one of men and the other of women (funny how this fine division naturally occurs in unisex environments). He said the men tend to be quick with determining a solution and are experimental, while women tend to spend more time talking which prolongs developing a solution. From a business standpoint, which gender seems more cost-effective to have working at the mine?
Three Swedish police women attempt to capture a violent man.
Obviously there are women suited for these positions even more so than men (I have met very masculine women), but should we be constantly promoting “gender equality” when in most cases there are clearly differences between how the genders work? Should we blindly say men and women are equal?
Of course there will always be women who will never have children and therefore will need something like a career to fill their lives. That is a reason why I am glad women have the option to be in the workforce. Not all women are meant to be caregivers. Additionally women in the workforce also gives the option for single mothers to have income, which is very important.
Population Decline in the West
Finally, I finish with the subject of population decline in the west. Sweden’s population decline is such a concern that Swedish politicians actually reasoned that the most recent mass migration, which wreaked havoc on the country, was positive because it would boost Sweden’s population. One must question how can a country get to a point where bringing in a large mass of people from a completely different culture is reasonable on the basis of population growth? How can an advanced western nation be so desperate for population?
Population decline is another issue I link to women in the workforce. Since women have become more career-focused and independent, they have focused less on family and having children. As a result, less families are forming and women are having less children. It has even become difficult for Swedish men and women to form relationships because they have become estranged from one another over the decades due to being taught to emphasize independence. Marriage (commitment) has lost practically all value in Sweden and often men and women will simply live together as committed partners but not marry for the sake of ease when separating.
Meanwhile less developed countries are having noticeable population growth. What will the future be when the populations of less developed nations greatly outnumber the populations of developed nations? I have already heard mantras from the Middle East calling Europe “weak and old.”
Even if a person completely supports women being in the work force and views women capable of doing everything men can do, the fact is that there are major issues that need to be addressed for the future of the west because of the change in gender roles.
Lauren Ell is an American blogger born and raised in Southern California and is currently based in Sweden. She discusses Epilepsy, Politics and Fun. Professionally Ell is an Online Marketing Consultant and Virtual Assistant. She is also founder and president of Republican Atheists. Connect with Lauren on Facebook and Twitter.