The repercussions of being a working woman instead of a mother in Pakistan

Published: December 17, 2013

I want to live in a world where a young woman’s promotion at work is applauded with the same enthusiasm as her engagement.

Recently, I posted an article on Facebook titled, ‘Sorry but being a mother is not the most important job in the world’ only to be faced with the wrath of many women, both with and without children, about how insensitive this article was and how I would never understand the importance of motherhood until I had my own child.

The reaction I received to the post points to two things.

First, perhaps understandably, the reactions seemed to be based on emotions rather than a critical reading of what the article actually says. The author is in no way trying to deride or ridicule the importance of motherhood but, on the contrary, says that motherhood is more than simply a ‘job’ and is a permanent relationship that one cannot quit, take a vacation from or earn a salary out of.

The other point of the article is that by classifying being a mother as ‘the most important job in the world’, it takes away from the importance of other relationships such as gay parents, single fathers, grandparents or other guardians. Making such a statement has a tendency to reduce women to just that, ‘a mother’, when her aspirations and identity should extend much beyond that.

What was more disturbing than the misinterpretation of the article was the notion that since I had no children of my own, I wasn’t entitled to have an opinion about motherhood. While I might not have given birth or raised a child yet, I still do have the capacity to think, reflect and formulate opinions. Such patronising statements are not only offensive, but they make little sense. It’s similar to saying,

“Since I have never been hit by a drone, I have no right to have an opinion for or against drone strikes”

Or,

“Since I am not African American, I have no right to support the civil liberties movement.”

Such statements also shed light on the deep seated bias and stigma our society has against women who are single, childless and dare to prioritise a career over marriage and parenting. So much value is placed on marriage and reproduction, and next to nothing on a woman’s professional or other achievements.

While the birth of a child is celebrated with great fervour and the new mother finds herself more respected by society and her family, especially if she ‘it’s a boy’, a woman’s promotion at work is hardly recognised. I am not saying that one should be valued over the other, but that women’s professional aspirations and achievements are so undervalued that it actually makes life for a young, single, working woman incredibly difficult.

Even though many single, young women work full time, live on their own and take full financial responsibility for themselves, society assumes that they are still being taken care of by their fathers or guardians. The 40 hours, or more, of work they do every week is treated as a hobby and a way to bide their time until they find a suitable match and thus, are ‘truly fulfilled’ in life.

It is frustrating when a woman commands more respect simply because she has a child as opposed to one who has successfully published a paper, gotten a salary increment or reached any other sort of professional landmark. Again, I am not saying one is better than the other, but they are both life choices made by individuals and that they should both be equally respected in their own right.

I want to live in a society where marriage and children are not seen as a necessity to living a meaningful life, but rather a choice that women and men make because it is something that they want.

I want to live in a world where a young woman’s promotion at work is applauded with the same enthusiasm as her engagement. A world where the respect and acceptance you command from a society comes not from your marital status or how fertile you are, but because of the person you are and aspire to be.

Natalia Tariq

Natalia Tariq

Manages the Transparency Program at Open Society Foundation Pakistan and is an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She tweets as @NataliaTariq87 (twitter.com/NataliaTariq87 Facebook profile: (www.facebook.com/natalia.tariq.3)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Nobody

    Completely agree. I have always been against the idea of reducing a woman’s only accomplishment to ‘mother’ and nothing else. Not having or wanting children does not make one less of a woman. It’s an extension to one’s job in the world, it is not the end all be all. My parents may be my parents, but they are also people in their own right. Their identity does not end and begin with my existence.Recommend

  • Sehrish

    Very nice and out of box thinking. I like it. Thank you for sharing.Recommend

  • Osama

    Your views emanate from a criteria (freedom, secularism etc etc) that society as a whole do not uphold to. No one is going accept with your views except those who have the same criteria of views as yours. Your world view for Pakistan reflects your criteria about this worldly life and to “IMPOSE” your views as the most enlightened one you must have to rationally establish the correctness of your criteria. Otherwise it does not just make sense… At all!Recommend

  • Hina

    “I want to live in a society where marriage and children are not seen as a necessity to living a meaningful life, but rather a choice that women and men make because it is something that they want.”
    I wish the same but I don’t think so that in our society its possible! “sighs”Recommend

  • Trinity

    Great Article! Half the haters are just jealous and wish they could do what you are able to.Recommend

  • meemee

    agreedRecommend

  • Aizaa

    Wish all those ‘desi aunties’ whose mentalities are restricted to marriages,and how a girl without marriage is nothing could read this article. So many talented girls I know have to give up their studies because education after the age of 20 isnt acceptable in this society and now its time to start a family, just sad.Recommend

  • meemee

    very true !! we are rated for what any female in a natural environment would do and not for our avhievementsRecommend

  • Guest

    Daring article… but not daring enough. We live in a primitive, patriarchal, tribal.. nay stone-age world, where the greatest calling of a woman is to breed dozens of children (preferably boys) for her male overlord so that he may indulge in raiding/pillaging nearby lands with the assurance of the continuity of his gene-pool, the propagation of his faith, his tribe or other such trivial-entity.

    Bringing children into the world and raising them to be good human beings, is very rewarding in itself, but is nothing extraordinary. I’m doing it, my parents have done it, and theirs before them. Billions of people are doing it every year. In fact, so many people are doing it, that many of them who have more children than they are capable of raising should probably stop.

    As for the capable, hardworking women who, in the face of severe Pakistani patriarchy, pursue careers to he peaks of excellence, this nation will probably never realize the debt it owes to you. Courage!Recommend

  • Rehan Ali

    To each their own, in a transitory society values are inter-changeable. For my mother, raising her children was the world because that is how she grew up but perhaps to my daughter having a career would be everything.

    To be married was the acme of aspirations for the former but perhaps to the later it would be the anchor that hampers her incline.

    The best way to know who fares better would be to have a closer look at
    a. levels of satisfaction

    b. happiness
    c. Regrets
    d. loneliness

    Because when you are young, healthy and have the energy to do just about anything, you are often engulfed in chasing your dreams.

    Yes life is nothing without dreams but its wonderful when not consumed in pursuits and spent living instead. You don’t have to do anything meaningful to be happy but simply contentious.

    At the end of the road, it doesn’t matter what you did? where you go? Having pleasant memories and lesser regrets is what defines a life.Recommend

  • Ainy

    Natalia,

    what r u talking abt dear? society has changed you need to step out from this mind frame and take a look or just visit linkedin to know the female professionals and how much they are appreciated. as far as working moms are concerned they are on same rank. professionals are always able to compartmentalize the things between work and home and also know how to make others applaud.Recommend

  • Ovais

    Why do you care about people, if you are choosing a lifestyle which is indifferent to them. Either accept your life as it is or become normal. Dont try to make abnormal normal. Through out the world its like this, Marissa Mayer becoming the CEO of Yahoo was a shock to Americans as well. Why do women at workplace talk about family balance and all that since it is very very important for them. So Miss Natalia, its good you are not the norm but don’t try to preach that you are the normRecommend

  • Erum

    Yeah! this is so true!
    Parents teach their children (including girls) to study well and once they’ve done with their studies they start forcing their daughters to get married.
    After getting married, they’ve to compromise over everything and when the daughters complain about their husbands or inlaws, the answer comes that you should concentrate over having children to make everything OK.Recommend

  • Saif

    Ainy – first of all society hasn’t changed as much as you’d like to believe. Without having to go look too far, most of the girls in my family have gone on to get class-A education only to give it all up for a “happily married life”. Now i’d like to believe that mine is a case of belonging to a not too progressive background but the reality is that my family is perhaps considered more liberal than most in Pakistan. The other point that the author is trying to make (which you completely failed to comprehend) is that regardless of a woman’s accomplishments in our society she will only be lauded as a working “mom” because she was able to work while raising children. Her achievements in her profession are still tied to her ability to raise kids while working. Why not hold dads just as responsible for the successes and failures of their children in tandem with their careers. This dichotomy has eventually led to a good part of our female population under-performing professionally because they must first fulfill the roles of being “good” mothers as that is the first standard they are judged by.Recommend

  • anshumanp

    The connotation of being a mother does not mean only to give birth to a baby. There is a difference is being a man and being a male and being a woman and being a female. Being a houewife has become a dirty word to woman themselves…which is amazing.
    You have typically fallen to the corporate propaganda that a working woman becomes more progressive by enslaving herself to the corporation. In the west is has resulted in breaking up the family — and the ultimate beneficiary has been the corporation which lowers ages because of increasing workforce. 50 years ago when a man could alone support a family, now both need to work – if there is a family left..
    I woudl like to add that women need financial freedom but think twice of achieving it by making a ‘career’. It a rat race and even if you win – you will still be a rat.Recommend

  • expat

    Getting married and having kids does not guarantee heaven. Indeed, there are many noble ways to fulfill a meaningful lifeRecommend

  • Manal

    I’m sorry, this is a horrible article. As a feminist, and someone who has gone through the different stages of womanhood, including adolescence, young adult, single working woman, married, motherhood, etc, I find your comparison (yes, that is what it is) to be degrading and quite ridiculous.

    First of all, you defeat all arguments by attempting to compare mothers to single women. A woman is a woman. They may have different experiences, may be in different stages of life, whatever it is, a woman is a woman. You downplaying one or comparing the two (as much as you say you’re not doing this, you are) defeats any feminist argument. You’ve obviously gone through some emotionally distressing experience after facing all that backlash from posting that article. Whether or not that article was “reducing” women to mere “mothers” or not is not even relevant anymore because of your horrible argument.

    Ask women who have worked in any sector if they feel the same as you do. I’ve worked in Pakistan as a single woman and never felt that my work was not valued. Now, I realize that i may be a unique case and many other women may feel they are undervalued, but let me tell you, it is not because of women who are mothers or how society portrays women who are mothers. If women feel undervalued at work it is because in societies that are male dominated, and even those that are not, women face discrimination, feel undervalued, don’t get the promotions they deserve, don’t get paid as much, etc. This is again, not because of mothers or women who have “boys.” This is because that same male-dominated thinking, which has also been embedded in working women as well. I know a lot of mothers who work who balance their careers and their children and don’t ask that they be recognized or applauded for their lives.

    I feel like your argument is displaced and while I can even understand what you mean, I find this is a horrible way to convey it. Don’t shun a woman because of her experiences, try to change societal perceptions.

    Lastly, if a woman wants to identify as a “mother”, who are you to say she should strive for more? In your observation of the “judgmental” folks who berated you for the article you posted, you are now being judgmental. An eye for an eye doesn’t work. And while my argument may reflect on my life experiences and the phase that I’m in, so does yours. So why not write something that is both beneficial and works towards understanding a woman’s plight before taking out the big guns and blaming women for getting excited about an engagement instead of a promotion.Recommend

  • M. Haider

    Thank you! My thoughts exactly. With the passage of time, our priorities and our different roles in life undergo many change. I find the article condescending to mothers and apologetic to working women. As a woman who has been working and a mother, I am offended by both insinuations. Recommend

  • M. Haider

    With the passage of time, our priorities and our different roles in life undergo many change. I find the article condescending to mothers and apologetic to working women. As a woman who has been working and a mother, I am offended by both insinuations.Recommend

  • r

    Couldn’t agree more!Recommend

  • Zainab Izhar

    You spoke my heart out. Very,very well said.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely argued……….in my view, after adding up all the plusses and minuses involved, the final call is yours and yours alone because you will have to live with it.
    I know girls who have managed both successful careers and motherhood, a challenge but worth it………have your cake and eat it too.Recommend

  • anu raja

    “I want to live in a society where marriage and children are not seen as a necessity to living a meaningful life, but rather a choice that women and men make because it is something that they want.”

    why do you want to impose your thinking on the society. you dont want to prioritize marriage over your career, then dont. but just dont start wishing for the society to start doing the same just because you deem it to be good. you dont want to raise kids or marry, good for you. dont wish for the society the same things. just live and let live !!Recommend

  • x

    Agree with you but even in the west, where men and work as a way of life and financial independence and responsibility for oneself is the way things are done instead of marrying to have someone to ‘protect and shelter and provide for you’, a girl’s engagement is always applauded more than her career promotion (even though in most cases, she would be continuing her work and sharing the bills with her husband). Ditto for baby even thugh it would mean major strain on her career and extra work load for her without the assorted maids, nannies and rishtedaars we have here to help out. On the other hand, a man would be lauded more for his promotion than an engagement because for men generally, career is the most important thing. That’s just the way things are around the world since forever. Have you noticed how new moms or moms with young kids whenever they meet their discussions revolve around kids whle new dads are never seen to be discussing baby clthes or baby ailments of even ‘my son has started speaking, has your daughter started walking yet? when did she switch to cereal? said her first word?’ etc.
    I dont know why ET has been censoring my comments lately. Do I need to change my name to get off the hate list?Recommend

  • Janamir

    That’s your life, I can’t tell you what to do. It’s your choices and you will live with them. And working does not mean you cannot become a mother. And many women are appreciated for their work because of its benefits to public. And your salary is yours, why should I and others be concerned for it? If you can afford your needs, that’s fine and no one would be concerned about it.
    Being a parent should not be called “nothing extraordinary”, it requires sacrifice. If you are not ready to sacrifice without blaming your children, you would not be a good parent. Making a living is a serious business for both men and women, but many people often tend to take their non-buyable gifts for granted.
    You will make your bed and sleep in it in the end, my only suggestion would be “don’t forget to make a life because you are too busy making a living.”Recommend

  • Sareena

    When someone tries comparing the role of a mother with other relationships, I feel bad for them. Shows they have not had their mother look after them the way mothers usually do. For me such a comparison is a disrespect to my mother. It is usually a mother who is always there for the child, not the uncle or the aunt or the grandparents, so how come it is taking away the importance from their relationship. Recommend

  • Necromancer

    I respect what you have written and I personally support women freedom at every point….but problem remains that women are themselves to be blamed it is not very hard to overcome these taboos…….Women should stand up for themselvesRecommend

  • Best of both

    God created men and women different. Men are the bread winners , women are the home makers . This balance cannot be disturbed . Once a woman thinks she is going to conquer the world ( they have this inferiority complex ) , she make life difficult for everyone around her esp in
    Office . They are just unbearable with a attitude like that. Well , her being single , childless makes things even worse as she now has a lot of time and energy to be bossy , slavesdriving her subordinates . There fore such woman may climb the ladder of success in corporate world but she is not liked . If she is a mother , there is some gentleness in her which shows at work
    Too. And she is liked therefore.plus unmarried working women do have an attitude problemRecommend

  • sarah

    But why are the two mutually exclusive? I want to live in a world where wholesome success is celebrated including professional and personal. Like for the men who have the job to die for and a trophy wife and good looks..i mean why not!Recommend

  • Qudsia

    I wish your article had actually BEGUN where it ended: “I want to live in a world where a young woman’s promotion at work is applauded with the same enthusiasm as her engagement.”

    Too many people talk about the society they want…no one discusses how to achieve that.Recommend

  • Fahad

    My view is we all seek a life style. Women in particular want a life that is secure, luxurious and which gives them a recognition. There are always two situations (a) They are able to find a husband who has everything, just being his wife makes your life meaningful. Money, Cars, Vacations and Shopping spree and above all his “Name”. At maximum the so much talented wife will associated her self to some charity to satisfy/justify she is doing something and her ivy league education is not wasted. (b) Women who are unable to get that Superman husband or for some reason never got married. They struggle hard, seek jobs and eventually try to make their life’s meaningful. Sad party is society especially other women don’t appreciate women making it thru the (b) situation. What people need to understand is we all have different circumstances. Some are lucky and have easy smooth life and some don’t. People trying to improve/live their lives may have different priorities. What satisfies one may not satisfy other. So respect.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Very well written article. The iidea of assuming that a woman must be financially looked after by husband or brother is very strong in our society though over ime as more and more women have successful careers, the idea is losing its hold in India. Hopefully the same will appen in Pakistan.

    I recall an incident during the early phase of my career. My employer used to give a highly subsidized loan for buying a home and so i decided to purchase a flat for myself. The balance (besides what my employer would I’ve as loan) was to come from my own savings, When I wen to the broker’s office, he chatted with me pleasantly and offered me a cold drink. When after 15 minutes, he made no move to head out to show me flats, I asked him what we were waiting for. He said ‘will our husband not be joining you?’ I told him I was sinle. He persisted. Well then what about your brother/father – someone? I told him ‘jab Maine aapas kaha tha ki mujhe koi Accha SA HAR dekhna hai, mera matlab makaan se thaa, aapse kisi rishte ke bare mein baat Karen Naveen aati thi. If you are unwilling to show me one’s, I will find someone else who will’. He apologized and I did buy a home from him. A couple of years later he called me and asked if I would be willing to spend some time with his daughter to give her career guidance. Recommend

  • guest

    do you blame these people. they are raised to believe that getting married and having babies is their ultimate acceptance in society. all our tv commercials point in one direction. pick up anything and it narrates the same story chocolate, tea, masalas, biscuits, motorbikes, soft drinks, air conditioners, fridge it boils down to one thing a pretty girl either serving tea to rishta walas, then bagging the guy and ending up being a fantastic mom and thereon a mother in law its like a cycle of life. limiting women and objectifying them for a single role. even if they try showing her as a working woman in a cosmetic ad (read gora rang cream ad) she will be given a job based on how gora she looked, we will continue to stay in this rut till we dont put a stop to this discrimination and refuse to accept objectification of women.Recommend

  • Xara

    Well written. In our society the only achievement for women is marital status and motherhood. If a girl is well educated and is doing well in her carrier. People will say ‘kitni parhi hy aur job bhi hy phir bhi iski shadi kio nahi hui ab tak’Recommend

  • ZAIRA CHEEMA

    Natalia you spoke out your heart- KUDOS! but probably it is a bias to me to promote singlehood as much promoting ‘only marriage’ is life. There needs to be a striking balance of will between self-actualization and selfhood. Both differ, their needs differ and we should adopt the best course and best suitable option for u. For me the ultiamte goal of life is not ‘marrying or not marrying’ it is worthwhile living. I personally feel taking a strong position on either side is not wise enough. The rest, opinions should be respected and i respect yours!Recommend

  • Qaiser Habib

    Totally disagree:- Young women can do as they like, its their life. But don’t insult Mothers & House Wives. The starting sentence is not appropriate ‘Sorry but being a mother is not the most important job in the world’Recommend

  • suvi

    Linking of ‘breaking up of family’ to ‘working women’ has perhaps many more underlying reasons than a direct association. Women who work are more independent and confident in expressing themselves, do not completely depend on the man for their sustenance, are less willing to take an unhealthy environment…..if that results in break up of marriage then perhaps its not such a bad thing after all.
    I have known women who had strong careers which they gave up after marriage and the amount of frustration they went through feeling stagnant, feeling lack of exposure, lack of financial independence, etc was revealing in itself. And then I have seen women who made strong careers while also balancing the married life – the sense of achievement, self esteem and awareness is starkly on a higher plane compared to the former. These are anecdotal observations and maybe not fair to generalize. But then I also have the example of my mom who was not working, whose whole life revolved around her kids, and I know she has often felt limited, often felt deprived cause she could not be more educated, could not have her financial independence.Recommend

  • anonymous

    God. Can anyone be more sexist.Recommend

  • spock

    Would the man send his daughter to you for relationship counselling? My view is that some women are good at making careers but not homes.Recommend

  • Supriya Arcot

    Good thinking. Just that – giving birth and raising up good , resposible children is not easy , so when some one does that , society applauds her . Mother hood might not be the most important job in the world but its definitely most responsible . How many times we ourselves easily , freely say – is that your mother has taught you ? what kind of a mother does this girl have ? Is it wrong in expecting respect ( and getting it rarely ) for this role ?Recommend

  • Mahmood Saleem

    I think house hold woman is the best women of this world.media is highlighting the wrong part of woman that woman who show their self in front of man are the real woman which is absolutely wrong
    http://www.consumerspk.com/consumer-laws-in-pakistan-2/Recommend

  • Ghazala Afridi

    If you faced the wrath of your female friends and you wanted them to really understand your point of view, your tone wouldn’t be this angry. You wrote this as a revenge I guess. Your ideas seem too confused. Recommend

  • Taha Shaheen

    That’s what she means: live and let live. By saying that wants to live somewhere where marriage and children are not seen as a necessity to living a
    meaningful life, but rather a choice that women and men make because it
    is something that they want, she wants to be accepted if/when she does that. She doesn’t seem to be imposing anything.Recommend

  • Rida

    Very, very well written. This is exactly how I feel Natalia. I so wish our society would stop putting married women on a pedestal and then worshiping them. Unfortunately, it will take a lot of similar articles and a long, long time for these mind sets to change.Recommend

  • Sheikha

    Personally for me becoming a mother at some point is extremely important to me and something without which I don’t think i will feel completely feel fulfilled (keeping in mind i already have a masters degree and InshAllah a successful career ahead of me) But I respect the authors point that women’s role should not be reduced to binaries of working women v mother. I think most of the supportive comments here already cover what i want to say but two additional observations:
    1. Often in our society it is the other women that are the worst offenders against fellow women, the ones who will judge you for not getting married, having a child, building a career you name it. I am shocked how on one hand women complain about not have enough rights but dont hesitate to judge and tear down the others who choose to exercise those rights
    2.The men in this column or on your blog who find it so easy to judge and pass comments, either zip it or try to step in our shoes before commenting. You want to chase after a modern educated women, but still have 18th century expectations of rearing your child and cleaning after you. I am not being a militant feminist, i think every couple has its own dynamics but these should be MUTUALLY worked out between the two. Don’t marry a working women, and try to tie her down at home with a child and in charge of all the chores. Being a man is more then just putting bread on the table, its about co-sharing all the outside and inside responsibilites. Whether a women is working or a housewife, running the home even with servant is a tedious, tiring and monotonous job, so step it up and share the workload instead of harping and judging about. If you have such problem with the way modern women have turned out, please marry a cousin or your moms handpicked porcelain doll. I am sure you will live that down better.Recommend

  • Yumna

    There are points in this article that i agree with yet things that i totally disagree on.
    I’m a married and working woman. I work for a German company and being the only Pakistani there, its interesting to exchange with my colleagues from all over the world about differences that we have in our culture and society. You know what is the one thing they can’t stop admiring and envying? its the CHOICE that a Pakistani (or a Muslim woman for that matter) has; to be able to work and earn a living for herself or to be able to stay home and choose to be a homemaker and eventually a stay-at-home full-time mother. For them, its never a choice..not anymore. All these years of so-called ‘feminism’ and ‘right to freedom’ has actually resulted in them getting trapped in their own wish! Now they don’t have a choice, they HAVE to work, they HAVE TO DO IT ALL, if they want a family and a baby then it’s something they have to LEARN TO DO in addition to their job!

    I’m not going to go in to religion a lot because well that’s a separate debate altogether and that’s an angle people don’t want to go in to in debates..but i will say that there’s a reason Allah appointed different roles for a man and a woman. Motherhood has been honoured by Him beyond anything else, then who are you to say that ‘just being a mother’ is not enough for a person?

    Seriously, learn to be thankful and grateful for what you have. Don’t fall in the grass is greener trap!

    As for me, I’m grateful for what we have..for the choice to be able to work and appreciated for what I do (and yes, i also disagree that people don’t appreciate working women, i have never felt like thats the case and I have worked in pakistan also if that’s where you’ll get at!)..and if one day I want to quit working and devote my time to being a mother, then i can, and for that, i’m so so thankful. =)Recommend

  • Abubakar

    “Importance of gay parents” ? Which country are you living in? Holland ha! In pakistan we’ve got much bigger problems than to worry about gay parents! Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    i don’t think the author was insulting mothers and houswives at all. she just said thats not the only way to be. key word is most important. she did not deny that it was important. never said that it was unimportant. just said other things could be important alsoRecommend

  • Hala Syed

    i have read your comment 3 times and it does not make sense at all. i don’t see where the author is “imposing” any views. on the contrary she is saying multiple views are validRecommend

  • Hala Syed

    except that the article is not about you. stop getting offended. the author never said their was anything wrong with mothers. she just said that women who are not mothers can still be considered human and valuable to the world.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    the things that seem “normal” now were not normal 100 or even 50 years ago. norms change. and they change by people questioning current norms.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    i think you need to meet more people, have more conversations, and try to shed some of these really odd preconceived notions.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    “I want to live in a world where a young woman’s promotion at work is applauded with the same enthusiasm as her engagement” what you are saying is exactly what the author is saying.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    Of course raising children is an extremely difficult job and is deserving of respect. the author is just saying it is not the only thing worthy of respect.Recommend

  • Ash

    I second you, its a bitter reality that women are always deemed having less mental capabilities than males whether its a matter of working in a professional environment or even in personal dealings. Even with excellent academic career, specially, the preference is given to males for technical jobs.Recommend

  • anshumanp

    I have already written that women require financial independence. And women are unable to pursue careers (you put as a balancing act) because corporation is not compatible to the role a woman(what you want) is suposed to play in society.
    I dont like the idea of having self esteem because i can sell products services better than the other guy. Some people do get confidence from external validation like passing from a good college, a good job etc but that points to a lack of self worth.
    My mother gave up a great career to raise us and i am mighty greatful that i was not raised by maids and neglected when i needed attention the most. You should be too.
    Its a choice each one will have to make.Recommend

  • KS

    Of course motherhood is “not the most important job in the world” …in fact it isn’t a job at all. It’s much more than that. It’s a lifetime commitment and a major responsibility. There is no salary, there are no promotions or incentives….Whatever a mother does is out of love and selflessness….not because of monetary gain.Recommend

  • Ovais

    Hala ,
    its human nature to think of women in terms of marriage, i work at the largest organization in the world composed of many ethnicities but marriage comes first when you are congratulating a female coworker. That is the norm around the world , every society does it from China to America. People will always cherish your marriage more than your promotion. Its good to see she wants to work and earn and be independent but don’t blame the society for wanting you to start a family which is expected from both male and female. If one guy is 30 and not married please see the amount of questions he has to hear from the family. If you want to trend this difficult road then please don’t complain.Recommend

  • gp65

    In US it is not just women but men too who talk about work life balance. The reason is the questioning has led to men’s roles also changing and hem having duties towards raising well adjusted children also besides just earning dough.
    Also having a child is not a sin-qua-non to being validated as a woman.

    Tha author did not preach about being the norm but rather challenged the prevailing norms and there is nothing wrong in doing so.Recommend

  • gp65

    You say that 50 years a man alone could support a family and now both need to work. This is inconsistent with your contentions that families are broken apart. In any case, the average size of home has increased from 1700 sq. feet in US in 1970 to 2800 sq. feet now. One car per family was a norm and 2 cars was an aspiration. Now 2 cars is a norm. One TV per house was the norm and now there are multiple TVs per home. So two people are needed to support the upgraded lifestyle. In US, the median income is quite sufficient to support a family of 4 with the standards of yore.

    More freedom for women may have led to ‘broken families’ as you say. But this could be precisely because women no longer consider being married and having a kid as the only way to validate themselves and will walk out of an abusive or unsatisfactory relationship. This does not mean they have stopped desiring kids but that they will not let that be a way to define them or keep them in an unhealthy situation.Recommend

  • gp65

    How is she imposing? She is asking for freedom for all. If most women – besides her choose to define themselves by their motherhood – she does not say that is wrong.Recommend

  • gp65

    You made some good observations. But even as motherhood and marriage are valued in the west, there are plenty of girls who have neither and no one pities them. Also engagement maybe celebrated more than a promotion at work if that is how a woman positions it. But her friends and family will cheer for a woman who may not want to be engaged or married but wants career success.

    That is what the author asks to give space to both kinds of women.

    By the way from time to time this happens – ET filters some monickers. My comments did not get published on the news side for 3 days. Keep at it, they will start publishing again.Recommend

  • gp65

    Questioning prevailing norms is the start of change.Recommend

  • gp65

    Possibly true. He knew nothing about my personal life so why would he send his daughter for relationship counseling to me? The point I was making is that this man who could not visualise a financially independent woman reviewed his thought process and decided that he wanted his own daughter to be financially independent.

    IT is possible that some women are better at managing homes than managing careers and vice versa. As long as they can be appreciated at what they do well instead of judging all women against just one criteria – that should be fine.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    you are confusing “human nature” with social conditioning. when women are seen as less than people, their worth is based on what they are to the man (seen as a full person)- ie wife mother. if a guy is 30 and not married people will encourage him to get married but they will still value his other accomplishments. it is not complaining to say “hello we are people too and we are more than our biological function”. again i want to reiterate that society is constantly changing and must change. and it changes by people raising their voices. why do you feel the need to silence these voicesRecommend

  • spock

    Knowing what ever we see of you on this forum, I wouldn’t send my daughter to you either.Recommend

  • spock

    Replace the words ‘some women'( in my earlier comment )with gp65Recommend

  • Ovais

    I am not sure which US you are talking about please check out blogs by Marissa Mayers, Sheryl Sandberg and other CEO’s of Corporate America. I never saw a male CEO mentioning about how to manage family and business life. Its a difficult road that she is choosing but then don’t complain.

    And to be honest if you just want people to be happy for your success then dear you are definitely not aiming high enough.Recommend

  • Ovais

    Hard souls dont whine on what people say, cause they will give her due respect if she achieves something big in life. if something big in life is earning money then i doubt she will have that much respect. There is a reason why IK is loved way more than mansha. There is a reason why we look up to edhi, the fact is she is trying to be 100% money thinking individual and assuming society will respect her promotions and accomplishments. The fact is she herself feels shallow for her achievements and that is the reason she is thinking this way. But if she really wants to take a different route then she must stop whining cause the society is not wrong here she is just going a different way and then she needs to prove her mantle which she hasn’t and is obviously lucky enough to vent out her frustration on blogs.
    My point being its all normal , dont blame pakistan society for it atleast not the urban society. Our society does horrible things to women but this is not one of them. Maybe the author should check out what we do with the common uneducated man / women and think of the little taunts she gets. I respect her for trying to make a career but then don’t whine.Recommend

  • anshumanp

    This is not something which i am saying.. This is a UN report and it is a very great concern in Europe and NA. I also stay abroad so have a near eye view..

    I have put in a link below,

    http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/UserStorage/pdf/Pdf%20Exec%20summaries/BBExecFamilyBreakdown.pdf

    Who told you that owning 2 cars, 2 homes is a sign of prosperity. Thse are financed by debt and that is why we have a economic crises in the west..66% of black population is vorn to single mothers and approx 50% of white population..check google..

    I am tired of anwering to people who have an opinion without any research just to negate a viewpoint…Recommend

  • Kanwal

    What kind of comment is this? Why did you write a personal attack kind of something in response of someone presenting their logic to you decently? You may not send your daughter to her but I would most probably do. That’s after I have seen her in these forums. I also feel rather sorry for your daughter. Due to my father giving me freedom to choose for myself, I am where I really wanted to be in both my professional and family life. Please stop being judgmental and think from a woman’s perspective too? Recommend

  • Nobody

    Change happened from one generation to the next. Those who are CEO’s at the moment are generally older. There are not many (or any) CEO’s who are in their 20’s.
    There was an article in TIME magazine discussing the generation gap and child care. 77% of younger men expressed guilt over not being able to be a more active part of their child’s life and felt guilt over not being able to contribute as much to household work. How many men in Eastern cultures do you think would say the same? Change takes time. I’m in my 20’s and I have yet to meet working women who have the same complaints about their male counterparts. I have no plans to hold myself back for family nor would I expect any man to do so and have had no trouble finding young men who agree with me.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Having a working mother does not mean you will be neglected any more than having an at home mom means you will have a perfect childhood. I have an aunt and uncle, both roughly in their late 30’s, both work very hard and earn a very comfortable living. They have two little children and although the parents work hard and the children are watched by nannies part time, neither child is neglected or unhappy. It requires more work on the part of both parents but balancing a career and children is very possible as long as BOTH parents take on the role of childcare.Recommend

  • Nobody

    What a ridiculous presumption.Recommend

  • Nobody

    With respect to your opinion, I’m inclined to disagree.
    First off, you’re one of the lucky few Pakistani women who actually HAS a choice to work or not work.
    Second, not ALL women in the West are forced to work; they CHOOSE to work. Society doesn’t push them either which way; they just want to work and be self sufficient (plus, today’s lifestyle generally requires two incomes and that, too, is a choice made by people). Furthermore, their male counterparts (particularly among younger generations) contribute to the household so having a family is not as unattainable or overly burdening.
    However, this of course doesn’t mean your experiences or observations have to be identical to mine.
    Cheers.Recommend