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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PATEL: Expectations for women in society

Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto
Photo from iStock.

Growing up, little girls have always been always told to dream big and become whoever they wanted to be. There were no limitations to what they wanted to be and they would have the rest of their lives to pursue their goals. However, when they suddenly become adolescents, society pushed them to find a career that isn’t male dominated and more importantly, ensures that they will be able to settle down at a suitable age.

All at the expense of their aspirations growing up.

The average age for a woman to get married is 27 and the average age for a man to get married is 30. The main reason for this is that men mature later in life than women. It also contributes to society wanting women to marry earlier. 

Women are also more pressured than men to settle down because of their biological clock. A woman’s fertility dramatically drops after the age of 35, only to further decrease after the age of 40. Male fertility begins to decline much later, around the age of 40 to 45. 

This can be a huge factor as to why women need to settle down much earlier in life, but some women choose not to have children or risk having children later on in life only to focus on their careers.

This still doesn’t stop society from scrutinizing them.

Many careers in the fields of business and engineering are male-dominated. This has been a common trend since ‘back in the day‘ when women were unable to work and it has lived on into the 21st century. These structures and stereotypes make it very difficult for women to gain leadership positions in their chosen fields.

The main reason as to why society doesn’t push women to be in the workforce more often is that it takes away from women staying at home and taking care of the household and kids. Currently, about 30% of women are stay-at-home mothers to at least one child who is under the age of 18. 

This number has dramatically dropped over the years as about 50 % of women were stay-at-home mothers in 1970. 

Women were expected to stay at home and discouraged to pursue further education while the men would lead the household and provide for the rest of the family. As a result, they educate their children to do the same. The girls are brought up learning how to cook and clean while the boys are told to focus more on school or sports.  

Women still face judgment from their elders who were brought up this way.

It’s heavily a cultural thing as many cultures idealize the importance of marriage early in life, but it has definitely made its way into society. It’s almost as if women are pressured into settling down early to uphold the traditions in their family and make their older generations proud.

This is a harmful mentality to instill in girls.

Settling down and getting married early isn’t worth wondering what life would’ve been like if they chose to pursue their careers instead. Women are just as capable as men to be in fields that are male-dominated. It all comes down to knowledge, skill, and ability. Not gender.

Women shouldn’t be expected to run the household on their own. This should be an expectation of everyone who lives in the home – and society needs to shift its mentality to that accordingly. Now, men should also be expected to learn how to cook and clean alongside their jobs and be able to educate their children with the right mindset.

Goals and dreams in life are something so heavily instilled in everyone from a young age. That should stay consistent with someone through their whole life and gender should definitely not tell people otherwise.

This story was written by Krisha Patel. She can be reached at [email protected]

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