Photo by ABC Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Constanza Gallardo//Contributing Writer
Today’s modern woman is pressured into being a superwoman. She is expected to have a full education, a successful career, get married and have children.
Last year, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the first woman to be director of policy planning for the United States’ Department of State, wrote a controversial article about why women today can’t have it all. Slaughter has a remarkable professional background and became one of the most successful women in the country. However, in her article “Why women still can’t have it all,” she explains how today´s society does not allow women to have it all, and this means, having a career and raising a family efficaciously.
When she realized she could not do both accordingly, she left her position at the White House to spend more time with her two teenage boys.
Her decision and article received a lot of positive and negative feedback from women of all ages and across the country. From my 22-year-old perspective, Slaughter made the right decision to put aside her professional life and place her family first since, for me, family always comes first, whether you are a woman or a man.
Similar to her view, I believe today´s modern woman will have to compromise at a certain point in her life: she will have to choose between working or having a family.
There are still many social stigmas and professional obstacles that do not allow women to have a full-time job and be with their families at the same time. Yes, companies do offer maternity leave, but what happens after that?
Society still puts certain responsibilities on a woman, and if she fails to do them, most of the time she is looked down upon. Who will take care of our children? Who will clean the house? Cook dinner? Wash the clothes?
How are we ever going to succeed in these two important duties if society does not change its view on women?
To get a little bit of perspective I did an informal survey in one of my classes. I asked 15 female students their opinion on this issue. Subsequently, all of them agreed that they will work after graduating from university, and 13 of them plan to have a family in the near future.
One of the young ladies felt that society was no closer in allowing women to work and provide for her family simultaneously.
“They expect us to stay home to take care of the children, or they try to discourage us by paying women less than men,” said Stenia Accilien, a 22-year-old Biology major student.
I feel our present society promotes the idea of educated, professional and prosperous women. But at the same time it expects us to find a partner, have children and raise a family in a stable home.
And I have not even mentioned the age limits that society has given women and expects us to do all these things by then.
On January 12 in The Guardian’s series “Dear Mariella,” a woman in her early 30s wrote to the columnist about how she felt she was running out of time when it came to having children.
This seems to be a common worry for women after they hit 25. There’s this pressure to get married and have kids before the time you hit 30, especially here in Miami where the Hispanic culture is very strong.
“I don’t really know how I could be able to do that without taking a break from work or not working every day,” says Saranhais Zerpa, 21, majoring in Asian Studies and Art, when asked about having a family and a career at the same time.
“So it’s as if we aren’t ‘meant’ to balance a full career with a family since we can’t work full time.”
Many female students at FIU may feel the same as Saranhais, myself included.
After I graduate, I want to work; I want to travel; I want to experience the world, and I want to get married and have a family by the time I´m 30 (decision influenced by my Hispanic culture).
How will I be able to balance and achieve all these goals? Will society change its views and expectations on women and help me? Or will I have to compromise some for others?
Will society let me be that super woman?
1. “Why women still can’t have it all,” via The Atlantic
2. “I’m in my early 30s and although I don’t want kids, I feel I have to decide soon,” via The Guardian