Jun 24, 2011 admin
A survey in the New York Times the other day revealed that while women are wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were 30 years ago they are not as happy as they had been then. In fact, in those halcyon days of the 1970s they were happier than men; and today the situation is reversed! As ever, the story will be similar in Australia. So how could it be?
Women – and not just the radical feminists – will tell you the reason is simple: all that really happened in the interim, they reckon, is that women not only joined the workforce in much greater numbers but they continue to do all the things they used to do around the home while their slobby hubbies open another beer and watch the footy on the box.
No doubt there are still pockets of society where that’s true but in my experience the real causes of this happiness reversal are quite different. Truth is, these days men are taking a very much greater role in the home.
Take cooking. In the 70s the only time a bloke confronted a raw chop was when he tossed it on the barbecue. Today in most homes the man of the house volunteers for some of the regular cooking and not infrequently does the lot. Certainly that happens in our house and of our two sons, one does it all while the other shares the burden (if burden it is) with his partner…the more so since she’s become pregnant. And when we dine with friends it’s just as likely we’ll find the man as chef du soir as the lady of the house.
Of course the cook does the marketing – Woollies and the weekend markets are filled with men shoppers these days – and he puts it all away where he can find it. And it doesn’t stop there…though I must admit when it comes to cleaning the place one does find other pressing men’s business. But clearly, planning the meals and cooking, a big part of the weekly housework, actually raises the happiness quotient among men and eases the burden on women.
So we have to look elsewhere for the reason for their drooping morale. The real issue, I reckon, is that we have not yet figured out the best way for women to combine home life and career. It’s all in the timing. Today they go from school to gap-year to university, into the workforce, rise up the ladder, then have kids just before it becomes too dodgy and put the career on hold. So they lose seniority, stress happens, hubby gets fed up and it all starts to go pear-shaped.
The solution is simple. Instead of a gap year after school, women should be encouraged have a gap decade after university to find their bloke, pop out two or three kids while doing some light post-graduate and/or mainstream work via the Net. They then enter the fulltime workforce at 30, now highly qualified and with the kids off to school. With their modern man taking over the cooking and marketing there’ll be happiness in the home, joy in bed, and just watch that glass ceiling shatter.
I mean, how easy is that?