While women have come a long way over the last few decades in the working world, they still face segregation, sexism, gender roles and other issues within their professional careers. For my second assignment I wanted to try and understand what it may feel like to experience such things from a woman’s perspective who has been and is involved in the working world. In order to do so I put together and conducted an interview with a women who has been involved in the public sphere for approximately 33 years. Not only has my subject had years of experience in different realms, but she is also about to celebrate her 30th wedding anniversary and is a mother of two. I thought she would be a good candidate to speak with because she will be able to tell me how she feels women have progressed over the years threw her own experiences, and those of people she has worked with.
Before I go into the topics discussed during the interview, I would like to give a brief history of my interviewee. As I mentioned above, I meet with a women in her mid fifties who has been married for almost 30 years, and has raised two daughters who are now in their twenties. This woman grew up in a typical nuclear family which, like many others of her time meant the father went to work, while the mother stayed home to care for the children. She did however get her start in the working world at an early age when she occasionally helped out at her grandfathers family restaurant. She made it quite clear throughout the interview that this is where she discovered her independence. She enjoyed earning her own money, and decided at a young age she wanted to work throughout her adult life.
Like many young women, my interviewee started working as a waitress during high school while occasionally babysitting on the side for some extra spending money. After graduating from high school she went on to nursing school and studied both in Toronto and Florida. In my interview I asked her how she made the decision to study nursing. While she admitted nursing was not her first choice, she decided to get into it because it was the ‘easy’ decision at the time. Originally she had dreamt of becoming a high school gym teacher, but the demand for female gym teachers at the time was slim. While she enjoyed and gained personal fulfillment working as a nurse it was evident she sometimes regretted the decision. “Looking back now I wish I’d have stuck it out to become a gym teacher. It was what I wanted to do, but I was too concerned with fact that it was a male dominated profession. Today there are so many female gym teachers but I could not have for seen that as a young female at the time.” (interviewee) This can go back to an example of how gender roles can shape the workforce. This women gave up on something she really wanted because she didn’t want to face the reality that the odds of a man being hired over herself were quite high. Instead she opted to become a nurse, something she knew she could earn a living in.
After getting married at twenty three and having her first child at twenty eight this women decided to give up her full time career to stay at home with her newborn while her husband earned the family income. I asked if this was an easy decision to make and if she made it on her own. She did tell me it was something she really had to think about and her and her husband weighed the pros and cons before coming to their conclusion. While she had always loved working she did want to take time off to be with her baby. We also discussed how it had never been an option for her husband to have stayed home with the child. She did feel the pressure, not only from her husband but from society to stay home and be a housewife. While they were both very active within the home, and her husband did help out tremendously with the house held chores, she just thought it felt like the right thing to do at the time. This did change however with the…