Right after my grandmother got married, at the ripe age of 20, she told my grandfather she wanted to go to nursing school. At the time that meant scraping together $400 and my grandfather wouldn’t pay it (so she didn’t go).
Instead, he wanted her to tend to the home, make daily meals and eventually take care of the children. He passed away a few years ago so I’ll never know if there were other motives behind his reasoning.
Some feminists argue that not wanting women to work during the greatest generation, and generations before us, was less about a woman’s right to work and more about a man’s control. If a man was the sole provider for the family, a woman relied on him for their next meal, their next haircut … and well, everything.
Fortunately, today we live in a more progressive world.
The Good and Bad, Girl Boss Progress
More women are graduating from college than men. “It is fairly well known that women today outnumber men in American colleges. In 2003, there were 1.35 females for every male who graduated from a four-year college and 1.3 females for every male undergraduate.” (National Bureau of Economic Research)
“In the early 1990s, adult women were about as likely as men to earn a bachelor’s degree or attend graduate school. But around the middle of the decade, women began to surpass men in college attainment.” (U.S. News & World Report)
Today, women “earn almost 60 percent of undergraduate degrees, and 60 percent of all master’s degrees” … and “are 47 percent of the U.S. labor force, and 59 percent of the college-educated, entry-level workforce,” according to the Center for American Progress.
“American women lag substantially behind men when it comes to roles in leadership. Shockingly, women are ‘only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.'”
While this is progress for the advancement of women, it comes to a halt right there. American women lag substantially behind men when it comes to roles in leadership. Shockingly, women are “only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs” and “they hold just 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats,” according to the same report.
Some believe this is due to “company burnout” before reaching mid-management and higher positions, and others feel women simply aren’t receiving the same opportunity for advancement as men in the corporate world.
As a woman, if you’re not climbing the corporate ladder as fast,or as often, as men then what are your options?
More women should consider the entrepreneurial route and leave the 9-to-5 grind behind and here’s a convincing argument to support my position:
According to millennial workplace expert Lindsay Pollack, 96% of Gen-Y women ranked independence as their most important life goal and 87% defined success as creating their own future.
In retrospect, my grandmother didn’t have a choice but to be dependent on my grandfather. Pursuing a career was out of the question – and so was her independence. Fast forward, circa now; while it’s easy enough for women to get a job that doesn’t mean we’re living a life full of independence. Financial independence, maybe. But personal independence? I’m not so sure.
Personal independence doesn’t have to mean grinding out a 60-hour workweek and working more than you’re living. Work-life balance is more about making time for you and your hobbies, and less about checking your email before you slumber and as soon as you wake.
When you’re punching someone elses clock, how much independence do you really have? Slim to none. Your boss tells you “do this,” while your next task is to “do that”, rinse and repeat. All the while you silently pray you’ve done your job well enough to keep it! On the other hand, women who choose the entrepreneurial route create the independence to truly shape their future – and not leave it in the hands of someone else.
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