Should we accept that women and men have different but equal lives?

Ivana from Serbia and Carolien from The Netherlands suggest this.

Or the answer a defiant ‘no!’. Do women still need to fight for equality? They say there’s a huge gender inequality in Europe and the States and that feminism must re-invent itself. Interestingly Nthabeleng and Susan both feel African women have it as good as they ever have. Susan went further and said Western feminism is stopping African women from maintaining their traditional roles.

74 Responses to “Should we accept that women and men have different but equal lives?”

  1. 1 steve
    June 17, 2008 at 20:06

    equal lives? There are very few men that have the luxury of choosing to work part time or choosing not to work at all. There is very little “equality”

  2. 2 Janet T
    June 17, 2008 at 20:14

    @ Steve- many women do not have this choice either

  3. 3 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 17, 2008 at 20:17

    I don’t want total equality equality with a man. I respect the fight that women from previous generations fought so that more women have rights. However, I don’t want to go to battle, like a man. I respect the choices that women have made. I have a graduate degree and plan to pursue another degree, but I am thankful that I have a choice to stay home with children, after I get married and have them. Some women want to be completely equal, but it is not fair to pick and choose in what way you want to be equal with a man.

  4. June 17, 2008 at 20:22

    Steve, what are you referring to? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I just want to understand what you mean. How do women have more choice in this matter then men?

  5. 5 steve
    June 17, 2008 at 20:29

    @ Keith

    There are far far more women than men that either never work, quit working, or switch to part time than men. Sure, there are SOME men that are stay at home husbands, but it’s quite rare, it is the exception, not the rule, while women quitting, or working part time after marriage or having kids is quite common. It’s entirely realistic for a woman to choose to not work a single day in her life, whereas it’s entirely unrealistic for a man to do the same without having a trust fund.

    Anyone ever heard of a male going to university to get the male equalivalent of an “MRS” degree? Didn’t think so. That was the point I’m making.

  6. June 17, 2008 at 20:38

    The fight for equality is a never-ending struggle not only for women but for minorities, gays, lesbians, etc. To be considered “equal” among one’s peers, no matter the circumstances, within reason of course, ought to be our goal in life. Instead of discussing it, just let it flow from our own lives.

  7. 7 Go Browns!
    June 17, 2008 at 20:41

    As I sit here at work, not wanting to work AT ALL today, I can’t help feel like I got the shaft. I work full time (mostly because of my graduate degrees and higher earning potential), while my husband does the cooking, cleaning, and someday, will take care of our children.

    Oh wait.I would rather thread a fishhook through my lip than stay home all day. I guess I should get back to work.

  8. 8 Dan
    June 17, 2008 at 20:43

    In a workplace as long as women bear children there will never be equality however after childbearing years women should be treated equally despite the different anatomical differences.
    A woman with her feelings adds fascinating dimensions to any work environment and is instrumental in problem solving with clients.

  9. 9 jamily5
    June 17, 2008 at 20:56

    The whole fem. movement says that we, as women, want to be “equal” to a man.
    Well, I don’t want to be “equal” in every way.
    omeone needs to stay home and raise the children and I opt to do it.
    Still there are barriers and challenges.
    I want equal respect.
    The feminist movement went wrong in two very important ways.
    One way was that it viewed each and every feminine characteristic and sought to masculinize us to prove that we were just as good as men.
    So, if men could ignore their families and put their careers above all else, no matter what — Women could too.
    who suffers?
    The point is that just because men and women have different roles does not make them any less and anyone who views women’s roles as less does not understand their tasks.
    Yes, if I and a man are doing equal work, then, of course, I want equal pay.
    what women really want is respect and appreciation for the work that they do.
    They don’t want to be patronized and belittled, just because they might not “do” the same work as men.
    I should not have to prove my strength in order to be respected.

  10. 10 John van Dokkumburg
    June 17, 2008 at 21:14

    The question is in what grounds do womens fighting for there equality ? It never shall be equale if we think economical to make profit. It is our society – we – must allow to chance our thinking about wellfare and peace with personal and earths equipment and then this hunting for rights is over ..

    Probably we want to make this fight pass-over but this .. after … we chanced society goals in education first .

  11. 11 Rashid Patch
    June 17, 2008 at 21:27

    It is quite telling that men are still talking about women who “stay at home and never work, or only work part time..”. Hey, guys, what was it your mom was doing when she picked up your dirty socks from where you left them and took them to the wash? Is taking care of kids “work”?

    Until work done in the home is seen as work, just as much as work outside the home, until “the luxury of choosing to work part time or choosing not to work at all” is seen as a blatantly sexist (and grossly ignorant) statement, there is nothing like equality between men and women.

  12. June 17, 2008 at 21:32

    It is interesting that we are being asked this and also whether we are overeducated. Since a good deal of equality is based on education, and as the movement to integrate schools in the US showed, a good education is also based on equality.

    But really, I am somewhat confused too about what exactly is meant here by “equal lives” and by different. Is the range of difference between men and women suppose to be greater than the range of differences within either group? I mean, there are a lot of differences between men, are there not? And not all women are alike, so perhaps the question should not be one of gender, but rather, “Should we accept that all humans vary in some way from each other, but should nonetheless have equality?” Of course, my answer to the question is “yes.”

  13. 13 Barry8
    June 17, 2008 at 21:34

    Both sexes should, ideally, have their rights. But it is blowing in the wind to to expect total equality as
    both have a part to play in human existance. If it were not so then nature would have found a better way to ensure the regeneration of the species. And whatever any of us think nature is COMPLETELY LOGICAL
    and remarkably good at what ever it does. Just look in your mirror and think. ‘Could I do better?’

  14. 14 jamily5
    June 17, 2008 at 21:43

    @ Rashid,
    We each have our roles and must play them.
    I, as a mother must be a good mother to my children.
    Since I am the one who is responsible for raising them, I must work to do this.
    If you respect and value my roles and task and I respect and value yours, then, I consider it equality.

  15. 15 Robert
    June 17, 2008 at 21:58

    The basic right being questioned here is that of the right to determine your own path through life. All people should have the same chances, the same choices and be treated with the same respect in life irrespective of who they are. What we do with those options is up to us. Looking at it in this light you must except that everybody is equal but different.

    However once you’ve acted or made your decision then the outcomes are yours to have for life whether good or bad. This is what I feel many have forgotten. The right to choose is not a right to have things your own way, but a responsibility to live with the outcomes.

    A person (male or female, although I accept the later is more likely) who has spent 10 years raising a child can not expect to earn the same as somebody who has spent those same 10 years gaining experience in the workplace.

    A person who decides to forgo children for they’re career must except that they will in future pay a price, whether emotional and perhaps economically (care into old age).

  16. 16 Will Rhodes
    June 17, 2008 at 22:13

    They say there’s a huge gender inequality in Europe and the States and that feminism must re-invent itself.

    You will find that this statistic is based upon part-time female employees. Full-time female employees are, at present, paid slightly more for their services.

    Post pregnancy then the gap widens. One reason for women giving up work later and having children. You will not get a true aspect of ‘equality’ until men can give birth.

    I think Steve and I went through this once before – women want (not all) the jobs such as lawyers, Dr’s etc – qualified jobs, to pay but do not want the janitor jobs.

    If you want equality – then that is a very broad spectrum which does include fighting on the front line of battle. There isn’t a grey area in-between.

    On the whole, men and women are equal, but some more equal than others. (Animal farm)

  17. June 18, 2008 at 00:34

    I think this whole debate sheds light on two positions.

    1) Those who are for a palpable, quantitative equality (equal pay, equal advantages etc…) This group needs to acknowledge that women and men are different biologically. Feminists are included in this category.
    They simply should understand that equality cannot be quantified completlely when it comes to men and women.
    A woman is my equal not because she can kick a soccer ball like me nor is she my equal because we have the same education. She is my equal because we are both loved by God who gave us different attributes that must be equally celebrated.

    2)Those who celebrate the femininity of women and view them as equal not in quantitative terms, but rather in terms of their specific God-given attributes. The very great James Brown said “This is a man’s world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl”. We are equal because we are both equal participant (in different ways) to the common good.

    Unfortunately, we live in a very materialistic world. Here again we see the shortcomings of the science and quantity-based western society where we measure success or superiority by quantity and the “palpable” alone. As a consequence, what do we have?

    The highest rate of divorce in the World. This simply indicates that the 50/50 model which can never be achieved in the science and quantity-based society has flaws.

    So, I agree that women and men have different but equal lives.

  18. 18 selena
    June 18, 2008 at 00:39

    Sometimes I wonder where Steve grew up. It was in a sheltered environment or another planet 😉

    Women have to work Steve, except for the privileged few.

  19. June 18, 2008 at 00:40


    I agree with you on the limitations of the feminist movement; which is not reflective of the experience of African-American women. It is because of these limitations that Alice Walker came up with the word “Womanism”.

    Great perspective!


  20. 20 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 01:52

    @ Selena

    When I was in high school, many of my friends had mothers that never worked a day in their lives, and they weren’t “rich”. Some of my coworkers who got engaged quit working, and I doubt will ever work again. After a while, my mom went part time (even as I was in high school) and eventually retired early from her job, and my dad, in his late 60s, still works to this day. I know some people who live in less expensive areas, and very few if any of their wives work. It really is a choice for women, they can work if they want to, or not work if they choose. But I don’t know any men that can afford to not work. Though I’m sure there are some that have trust funds, there’s not remotely as many men that can choose to not work and have a roof over their heads.

  21. 21 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 01:57

    @ Rashid

    Yes, work done at home is work, but a kid goes to kindergarten by age 5. 5 years is a LOT shorter than a career is. By age 5, kids are gone at school for 4 hours a day, and then by age 6-7 they are gone for 7 hours a day until they graduate high school.

  22. 22 Shirley
    June 18, 2008 at 03:01

    There do exist many women who, when the kids go off to school, sit back and watch soaps for eight hours. I would go insane trying that. I have to get up and do something. Clean this, straighten that, re-arrange the stuff on the shelves, clear out old mail and papers, prepare meals, bake desserts, check the growing plants and wring my hands over the ones that refuse to grow, stitch holey shirts, wash laundry, hang stuff to dry, flesh out my projects and correct spelling, read another classic novel…

    With children in the picture, I would probbaly add things like picking stuff up off the floor, cooking more stuff, cleaning more stuff, checking homework, cleaning spills off table, floor, and chin, etc. I’m one of those who treats zone-out time as a mini-vacation, not a lifestyle. And the most that I ask in return is money enough to keep a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my belly, and commodities enough to maintain my health and hygiene.

    I think that the refusal of our politicians to establish a living wage with which one worker in the family could provde for all of the needs of the family is another methods of ripping families apart and forming dysfunctional societies. People can claim to be pro-life all that they want, but as long as they would rather spend money on bombs than on health care, education, food, housing, and living wages, then they are promoting a culture of death; and gender equality be damned (i.e., it’s impossible to obtain that when all else in society crumbles around us).

  23. 23 Jeff Minter
    June 18, 2008 at 03:21

    You can’t be different AND equal, that’s a contradiction.

    The only real progressive way of enforcing true equality and recognising the role of ‘housekeeper’ is for a shared job role – every alternate week they swap roles, so say a truck driver has to be daddy for the week and mum has to go driving.

    That is the only way of sharing the burden of both parents’ workload without having to resort to a “but looking after the children and the house is a full time job too!” slanging match. It also provides each party with a level playing ground when the subject of divorce comes up – who will custody go to when both parents have true, equal roles? It certainly won’t be as clearcut as it is now.

    Of course, it’ll never happen; it still holds true today that women IN GENERAL just don’t want to do the dirty, dangerous and ugly jobs – they leave that to the men (and immigrants) – but when it comes to the ‘privileged’ white collar jobs – boardroom, a nice office environment – they leap on without having to go through the nitty gritty. Now that is inequality.

  24. 24 Bob in Queensland
    June 18, 2008 at 03:25

    When I first read the question my initial response was “why is this being asked? Surely this was resolved years ago.”.

    Then I read so many condescending replies about the roles of women and realised that, yes, we still need to talk about it.

    The questioner sums it up nicely. Yes, men and women are different and any attempt to treat them exactly the same is doomed to failure. However, in terms of legal rights and opportunities of course there should be equality.

  25. 25 Jeff Minter
    June 18, 2008 at 03:31

    Not to mention there still exists a HUGE proportion of women who just simply don’t want the hassle – that marrying a decent husband who is a good father with a stable job is good enough. They don’t care about equality, they just want a hassle free (as possible) life with her family. She simply doesn’t want the responsibility, education or training required to accomplish a career. “I’ll leave that to hubby” being the most common term.

    Who are we (or rather, the rest of the career minded women + feminists) to say that they *have* to get a career? That they should be ‘free’? Many mothers equate solely concentrating on raising up children as the best thing in their lives. Indeed (and yes, this is from an outside point of view, being the male), it’s a privilege to raise children – not a job. Would anyone feel the same about their job if they didn’t get a salary from it?

  26. 26 viola anderson
    June 18, 2008 at 05:23

    My maiden aunt never had a husband or a sugar daddy to support her. She always held a job and supported herself. She worked hard and never asked anyone for help, including the welfare system. I respect her memory totally.

    My mother, on the other hand, as the oldest girl child in a family with 5 boys and 2 girls worked hard both as a child helping her mother with the childcare and housework and as an adult married woman with 5 children of her own and 3 of my father’s from an earlier failed marriage to look after. She performed all of her duties with grace and never to my knowledge complained about her lot in life. I respect her memory totally.

    My father worked hard his entire life, whether he was well, sick, or injured because he, too, had responsibilities and did not shirk them nor complain about them. I respect his memory totally.

    Get it?

  27. 27 Ali
    June 18, 2008 at 05:31

    What is an equal life?
    Doesn’t make any sense to me.
    We can discuss equality of rights, opportunities, pay etc.
    But equal lives?

  28. 28 Roberto
    June 18, 2008 at 06:49

    “Should we accept that women and men have different but equal lives?”

    —— Rhetorical questions aren’t meant to be answered.

  29. 29 MegaOwiro
    June 18, 2008 at 07:37

    God Knows why he created women and men were differently, But the most important to note is we are different in crreation but in life we should be seen as created with the same Image. In my grandmothers day, being a women meant you are not allowed to participate in decission making which is wrong, if a man and his wife take part in decission making in the house then why not in other social aspect of life.


  30. 30 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 18, 2008 at 07:52

    This question is maddeningly ambiguous. “Different but equal lives” — spiritually? emotionally? professionally? culturally? financially? legally? My first thought was that “men are from Mars and women from Venus,” never to fully understand each other.

    “They say there is great gender inequality in the states and Europe” — if “they” refer to education, employment, and society, I wonder who has made more progress.

    I’d love to hear how Western feminism is affecting African women. The goal is to open more choices and options, not to deny or remove anything. I had thought that women in Africa were subjugated by rigid social norms.

  31. 31 Katharina in Ghent
    June 18, 2008 at 08:28

    Yeah, yeah, today we bash women “who stay at home and never work” and tomorrow we bash women “who rather spend 8 hours in the office than taking care of their family”. Whatever we do, we’re doomed. Oh, and of course our kid is going to kindergarten at age 5, so at that time we have 4 whole hours where we can go and persue our carreer that we gave up five years ago! I can’t believe I’m reading this BS with a cherry on top!!!

    Of course our lifes are different, just from a biological point of view. But this doesn’t justify that women all over the world in almost every profession still get paid less when they decide to go to work, and no Will, that’s not just parttime, that’s also fulltime. Nobody expects to make the same amount of money when s/he doesn’t put the same amount of work into it. But women tend to be more loyal to their employers and still think that by simply working hard they will get the gratification they deserve. Men are often better at selling their work and then get the promotion.

    How does the saying go? “We’ve found something that does the work of 5 men: 1 woman.
    And what did Margaret Thatcher say: If you want something said, give it to a man, if you want something done, give it to a woman.

  32. 32 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 18, 2008 at 09:32

    How about, if you want something done, give it to Maggie Thatcher! She didn’t fool around.

    Amazing amount of resentment on this page.

    Katharina, I’ve only seen figures for the US, but I’m happy to announce that college-educated single women now earn more than their male counterparts here. (After marriage, men earn more and women earn less, because leave the labor force and return part-time, or just lose time from the career ladder while they care for their children.)

  33. 33 Shirley
    June 18, 2008 at 11:18

    The word that comes to my mind is “equitable.” Men and women are different biologically and psychologicaly. To insist that they be treated equally is, in my mind, the same as demanding that they act equally. As far as I am concerned, that is not fair.

    basically echoed these sentiments of mine when he said, Yes, men and women are different and any attempt to treat them exactly the same is doomed to failure. However, in terms of legal rights and opportunities of course there should be equality.

    He also added to my own ideas: I would consider equally as unjust a system that compensates men and women unequally for the same work performed. There are women who consider home life to be completely fulfilling, others who consider the home to be a prison, and a broad swath of us spanning everything in between. Where we do the same work as a man does, we should be conpensated as he is. As Katharina said, Of course our lifes are different, just from a biological point of view. But this doesn’t justify that women all over the world in almost every profession still get paid less when they decide to go to work…

    And I don’t buy for an instant the nonsense that we do get paid equally or more than men. Research has shown that today, on average, women earn 70 cents on a man’s dollar and are, on average, passed up for employment or promotion over men who are equally or less qualified than we. When the “on average” is changed, we might be able to justify the exceptions to the rule that are thrown in our faces in an attempt to shut us up in our demands for equality.

  34. 34 Mohammed Ali
    June 18, 2008 at 12:06

    Different but equal lives, YES. We have different lives because in more than 90% of the cases, the man takes the responsibilities of the woman and in few cases the woman takes the man responsibilities. Almost all of the physical and hard work in society are done by men. Different lives because women bear the children and in more than 90% of the cases they take care of the children and basically look after their up bringing. There are many more reasons why we have different but equal lives.

  35. 35 Katharina in Ghent
    June 18, 2008 at 12:37

    Hi Jonathan,

    I don’t know about the US, but last week this article was in the Austrian news about the Swedish company Ericsson:


    I’m sorry I don’t have this in English, apparently the English news didn’t find this worthy to report. Basically 115 woman or in about 54% of the departments of Ericsson got less paid than their male counterparts – and this in sunny Sweden, which has probably the best equalization between men and women.

  36. 36 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 13:03


    Interesting study on how women seem to like “bad boys” showing poor judgment in women.

    “The so-called ‘dark triad’ traits include impulsiveness, narcissism, thrill-seeking and deceitfulness, it says.

    One of the studies, a survey of 35,000 people in 57 countries, found a clear link between dark triad traits and the reproductive success of males.”

  37. 37 nicholas kariuki
    June 18, 2008 at 13:11

    males are males and females are females.so what is this equality abt?

  38. 38 selena
    June 18, 2008 at 13:28


    Why does that show bad judgment? Explain…

  39. 39 Julie P
    June 18, 2008 at 13:31

    A lot if this is contingent on lifestyle choices and what a person values. Growing up I can count on one hand how many women did not work outside of the home and still have some fingers left, enough to pick up a cup of coffee. As an adult, the situation remains the same. The difference between now and then are kinds of jobs the women are working. Back in the day, mothers of my friends and mother, choose jobs that were flexible, so they would be at home more to take of the children. I believe it was the era in which they were raised. As a young woman, I can remember my mother pleading with me to “find a man, so I would have financial security.” I must have given her a strange look as her retort was, “Never mind, you’ve always been independent and will do whatever you want to.” The women I know today are working professionals, not out of necessity, but because they want to. In some cases, they are the breadwinner in the family. Some of us have chosen to not marry and pursue lives of our own choosing something previous generations of women probably did not have. The men, I have noticed, are with women who reflect their own values.

  40. 40 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 13:32

    It shows that women, according tot he study, prefer to have “short term relationships” (meaning sex) with men that are deceitful, and narcissistic, for their genes, and then go to some other guy, who isn’t taht way, and have him support the both, and when she wants another kid, goes out for the dishonest bad boy again, meaning the “good guy” is getting cheated on. There are other studies out there that are recent that show this to be true as well. If there’s supposed to be “monogamy” and whatever, then these studies just show it’s all a lie. So how is it good judgment to have sex with one guy, but not want him to raise the kid? What kind of spineless man would get into a situation like this where he would raise someone else’s child, and then realize he’s going to get cheated on when she’s “in heat” and goes out and does the same again?

  41. 41 Keith
    June 18, 2008 at 13:40

    Steve, sorry for the slow reply I was not online most of the day yesterday but wanted to get back to you. I do see your point, but it seems to me those are just matters of choice among families. In your estimation, choosing to “not work” is actually choosing to do the work of child-rearing. When not working means not recieving a paycheck, it isn’t any easier for men or women to do so. In any case, I was and will be one of those exceptions. I am working now because my wife is nursing a newborn (biologically speaking, not exactly a choice), but for about the first year of my sons life I did not work at all, stayed at home with him. A few months from now, we will both work four days a week and have one day each with the kids. None of these considerations in our household had anything to do with sex. They had everything to do with what was possible, who was happy at their job, etc. So, at least for us, there was very much equal choice for man and for woman.

  42. 42 Ogola Benard
    June 18, 2008 at 15:29

    Durig creation God made man and then thought of a companion who came from Adams ribs.they lived togather in the garden of eden.
    Man and woman are therefore different but equal and should enjoy the same rights whether in profession,laughter, kitchen and even breath. they should enjoy all the worldly things irrespective of
    creed and religion.
    Good to learn that in India women pay bride price and take away their husbands.

  43. 43 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 15:31


    Some women do behave like that but not all women. Some women have their fund when they are younger and go for the bad boy but when they get all of the crap out of their system, they get a responsible man to settle down with.

    I know guys are the same way. When they are younger they just want to go out and have fun with the wild girls. Then when they want to settle down, they get the responsible girl. I remember all through college, many guys I knew would always say that they would never date a person like me, until they wanted to settle down or I was the type of girl someone would marry. not just have fun with. However, many guys don’t want to settle down until they are fourty, now.

    You can’t just talk about the women because men are the same way.

  44. 44 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 15:34

    Also, what is wrong with a women that gets married and stops working, to have kids and set up house? I think it is good that women have a choice. I respect women that work and stay at home, however, both of them make sacrifices.

  45. 45 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 15:36

    @ Angela

    That’s my point, I was just pointing out that many women have that choice, where the vast vast majority of men do not have that choice. True, having the option of working is “different” but is that “equal”??

  46. 46 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 15:44


    Of course it is not equal. As someone stated earlier women and men will never been seen completely equal because men cannot have children.

  47. 47 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 15:49

    @ Angela

    Do you think that having such an option affects how one lives their lives? If you knew you didn’t have to work if you didn’t want to, would you strive hard in school? I could be totally wrong here, but given that the vast majority of men realize they have no choice but to work, I would think they try harder at doing things that would make them employable. Hence, I think that’s why so many women get degrees in areas that aren’t marketable, like women’s studies, philosphy. Interesting stuff, but won’t earn you a paycheck. I recall in college, there were virtually no females in my engineering courses.

  48. 48 Katharina in Ghent
    June 18, 2008 at 15:56

    @ Steve:

    I don’t know about the US, but the last Austrian statistic that I’ve seen said that the girls were actually doing better in high school than the boys, because the boys were too busy dealing with their hormones. Also, by now more girls start university than boys, and not just in women’s studies.

  49. 49 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 15:58


    I don’t think so. I would like to eventually get married and stop working while my kids are young, but that did not hinder my marketability. I obtained my undergard in molecular biology, masters in accounting, and I an contemplating going to law school next year. I realize it is a tough field but I decided I better try to do something I would enjoy. Maybe even have some security if working with the government. The difference for me is that I several cousins who have never married. I couldn’t just bank on obtaining a husband, partially because I am too picky, if several of my cousins have been married or got divorced. My mother always told me to choose a career or a family because you can’t have both, if you try your family or career will fail. My mother doesn’t want bratty grandkids that don’t behave because I don’t have time to raise them.

    So I cannot say that I fall into the category of women of who you describe. I just hope that I will get married by 30, or I will be an old maid like other women in my family. LOL!!

  50. 50 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 16:02

    @ Katharina

    Actually the new big thing here is having single sex classrooms. Yes, in the US, there are more women than men in University, however, men tend to dominate in the degrees that actually can get one a job.

  51. 51 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 16:03

    @ Angela

    “I don’t think so. I would like to eventually get married and stop working while my kids are young, but that did not hinder my marketability. I obtained my undergard in molecular biology, masters in accounting, and I an contemplating going to law school next year. I realize it is a tough field but I decided I better try to do something I would enjoy. Maybe even have some security if working with the government. ”

    Yes, you cannot have both as I believe your mother said. But you kind of contradict yourself, by saying you eventually want to stop working, but then say you want to be lawyer, where stopping working for any amount of time is a career killer. Read my article in the overeducation topic, law school is a very bad idea.

  52. 52 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 16:15


    I completely realize this, which is why I didn’t go to law school after college. However, I know I want to have a career I love. If I ao to law school, I won’t be able to stop. I am the type of person that would love to be able to stop working, but I know I really wouldn’t be able to stop. I guess I will be the type that tries very hard to get both career and family.

    The point is that all women don’t choose easy degrees to just get a degree. I know several girls that I went to school with that said they were going to college to find a husband, and low and behold they did.

    Additionally since I am not engaged or dating, I have to focus on my career. I don’t know if I ever will, but I am not going to just sit around and wait for some man to marry. Most men that are actually worth something, don’t want a women that is just waiting around anyways.

  53. 53 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 16:22

    @ Angela

    Most lawyers do not only not love law, but absolutely hate it. It probably has the lowest job satisfaction level of any career path, so if you think you will love it, probably isn’t that realistic. It’s also quite expensive to go into if you know in the future you will be quitting, and any gap in a resume for a lawyer is a pretty much career killer. I know lots of lawyers that got laid off in 2001-2002 and couldn’t ever get hired again because of the gap. It’s an incredibly judgmental field. I would recommend against going. Actually, it’s very easy to “stop” a law job. Given you’ll most likely absolutely hate your job, it’s pretty easy to quit it you have the option to. I’d love to marry a wealthy woman so I didn’t have to work,but that’s unrealistic, hence I realize I have to work, and it’s only a fantasy for me to be able to quit until I pay off my loans.

  54. 54 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 16:25


    Thank you for your advice. It is the same thing all of my friends tell me. Everyone wants me to go to Pharmacy School. I think it is funny that everytime I tell someone I want to go to law school, they tell me the same thing you just said. All I know is that I don’t want to be an auditor for the rest of my life. Again thank you for the advice. LOL!!

  55. 55 Julie P
    June 18, 2008 at 16:26

    There are life stages that people go through, while in those stages there are priorities and those priorities change with each progressive stage. This applies to everyone, not just one sex. Priorities of a 21 year old are different than what the person may experience at 26, and so on. Priorities and choices are not subject toward outward social constructs, although those may play an influencing factor. Everyone has a choice on what they want to do with their life and who they want to do it with; we live in a free society with a myriad of options for all. If a person believes that they are bound to fill a certain role, than that is their belief and their choosing. It is not restricted to one sex.

  56. 56 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 16:43

    @Julie P

    I completey agree with you.

  57. 57 Mark from kansas
    June 18, 2008 at 17:13

    Women and men are diffrent, we think diffrent, we have diffrent brain chemistry, diffrent hormones, and diffrent reactions to the same stimulous. Equality is a very nice idea but it is very unrealistic. As we are not currently all clones, everyone is better at something than somebody else, it is beauty of humanity. Equality I think is the wrong word, I think respect is what everyone wants. Respect in being paid the same, for the same job. Respect in consideration of a position. Respect of opinions and right to have them. Repect of decison to work or raise your family (more people need to chose the later). Respect of other peoples beleifs even though they may not be yours. Many Equality movements I think focus to narrowly, I think if we teach future generations to respect ALL other people we can make progress to a better planet as a whole.

  58. 58 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 17:36

    @ Angela

    I’m telling it from personal experience, and the experiences of others I know. Law is a terrible field to be going into. The schools exist to make money off you, and give you unrealistic expectations about employment. I lucked out, and have a pretty good, well paying job that is low stress, but it won’t last forever, I can only pray I payoff my student loans before I have to look for more work. I have met very few lawyers that didn’t regret having gone to law school. Pharmacy school? I dunno, but I know the healthcare field is a good field to be in, given that people will always get sick, though having worked in a pharmacy in high school, I wouldn’t want to deal with customers as a pharmacist, but then again, I might consider doing that. I hope you have bad handwriting and know latin!

  59. 59 Jens
    June 18, 2008 at 18:00

    i see this at my place of work. women are often still not treated equally. they may get the same entery level pay but what does that mean if nobody listens to them and they start to slide down the scale due to unjustified perception of not performing equally. in my department, i am the only person who has a lab fully staffed by women in their twenties. for me this is a hugh responsibility since i want their voices heard in meetings and actually get recognized for their work. this is not as easy as it seems and i had plenty of battles i fought on their behalf with managment.

    in addition, i hear their complains how they feel they are percieved by others and how men are often preferentially choosen for the job, although they are equally or less well qualified.

    running this lab i really have become acutly aware how women are very different in perception of interactions with others. this does not mean i am running a PC lab, I guess far from it, but i am running a lab in which everybody has equaly say and is allowed to express their opinion and more importantly is listen to. I am not more intelligent or competent because i am a white male with a PhD. i actually look upon these interactions as an enrichment to my life, since i get a different perspective, rather than the testosterone fuelled one, and learn more about the little differneces between men and women which make the world go around and such a fascinating place. plus my wife thinks i have become a lot more understanding of her point of view. hey that cannot be a bad point.

  60. June 18, 2008 at 19:00

    This, like many other debates, is rooted in sociology and human evolution. Let me begin by a certain statement – “We live to fulfill two basic promises 1) To survive 2) To propagate our genes. If any short term behavior tends to drift us away from those two elements, we would adapt and evolve, as we have done for many ages, to fulfill those primitive promises.

    I am reminded of the controversy created by Larry Summers, former president of Harvard University, when he suggested that women’s diminished presence in some academic circles could due to biological factors. Needless to say Larry was let go due the pressure he and Harvard too in subsequent time.

    I always wondered whether people got upset on the fact that Larry said something that he should not have said or he said something that is not right.

    We all know that psychologically, men and women are very different. I am married to my wife and like I all married men do know that tremendous differences that men and women posses. The same argument goes for women. I respect these differences a lot and we all ought to value and cherish these differences.

    If you look from the evolutionary lens, men were built as farmers, hunters etc while women led a more household style life raising kids and maintaining the family. Both are extremely important for the survival. With time, as countries developed, we have seen a migration of women into areas where men were and are presumed to be dominant. The classic examples being that of women coming into the work force. We have on the other hand seen men going from their areas of expertise to one where women have led since our evolution, i.e. men becoming the caretakers of home and children. The question is why such a discrepancy.

    I firmly believe in the notion of women becoming strong in areas previously held by men. We have seen many women Presidents, many women CEOs and they all have been very effective in fulfilling the job at hand. However, there is one bad effect and this created by the fact that while we have seen the migration of women from one of housewife to a working lady, we have not seen the counterpart migration from the father. And the ill effect has been on kids and children. Right from childhood, due to both parents working, children have been sent to daycare etc and when parents come back from home tired, they hardly have time to spend with their kids. The long term sociological effects are quite stark.

    Having financial independence is an important thing to have. But there are costs we pay. The whole debate on men and women and their role in society is a subject of debate only in recent times. In historic ages, it was never a debate. The question then one might ask, why so. I think, if we leave things as they are and not create any stimuli to promote one behavior over the other, we will evolve for the good.

    After all we all live to fulfill two basic promises 1) To survive 2) To propagate our genes.

  61. 61 Julie P
    June 18, 2008 at 19:02


    I have no idea what your undergrad is in, but any post graduate degree is going to be costly and time consuming, choose your degree wisely. A graduate degree will specialize you in whatever field. I have been going back and forth myself with what I would like my Master’s degree to be in. I’ve had the GMAT prep book sitting on my coffee table since I graduated from college four years ago. So far, it’s been a nice show piece. Getting started has always been the hard part.

    Here was my expereince with going to go college. I went to switch careers since I had suffered an occupational injury that was extremely painful & made it difficult for me to continue doing my job. I had been to three hand specialists. At first I was given steriods & steroid shots directly into my tendons. I know what pain is. The last doctor gave me the unvarnished truth. He couldn’t do anything for me. I was given poor treatment at the outset, and by now it was too late. No one could do anything. You can continue doing what you are doing, and develop something else that surgery can help with, but it is not 100% effective, and the injury can return regardless. In your case, the injury was a warning sign, and you are one of the lucky ones. It doesn’t have to get worse. Quit what you are doing, and switch careers, you can expect 100% recovery. Three years later I found myself in college & doing a job that would pay my bills, help me recover from my injury, & support me. I got a business degree in marketing & found the field is loaded with nepotism. Frustrated, I went back to the university for counseling and career advisement, which I had recorded, so I could see my reactions. After looking at the video I made my decision based. I revamped resume, & put out the word. I accepted a position that would give me skills at a company with an international reputation. Doing that made me very marketable for a high paying job with prestige. (I make great money now too. I just can’t see myself doing it forever.) I am telling you this because I know choosing a career is a difficult thing & we all do it for different reasons. Today my injuries are fully recovered, & am looking forward to starting a professional career with a business that would never would have considered me for a job in the past.

    Really it is not about your gender it’s about what you want for yourself, and what length you are willing to go to get it.

  62. 62 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 19:31

    @Julie P

    Thank you for the advice. I have been trying to decide what I wanted to do since I was in college. My undergrad degree was in molecular biology. I did research, which was an interesting experience but I did not really want to do it forever. I always thought I would either be a doctor or a lawyer, but I did not want to go into over $100K debt for something I was not sure of. I took an accounting class my senior year of college and two days after graduating college, I started taking courses for my grad degree (in accounting). I graduated a year and a half later with my Masters. I have been auditing for almost two years and I don’t like it, too much. The problem is that I can go back to school for law or pharmacy and come out making a little less or a little more than I would have made had I not gone back to school.

    I am envious of people who are doing what they love and making decent money. You are a very lucky person.

    Thank you for your kind words.

  63. 63 Julie P
    June 18, 2008 at 19:41


    Oddly enough I was offered a position with the state accounting office to train people on tax and accounting software. I like teaching and want to get a Master’s, so I can teach on the collegiate level. A person can with a Master’s degree, but not at a research university.

  64. 64 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 20:00

    @Julie P

    The good thing about teaching at a collegiate level is that you can do it part time or full time. Several of my friends are teaching part time and it is so much better than teaching at elementary through high school. However, I commend all teachers because it is a hard job. May you achieve all of your endeavors.

  65. 65 Julie P
    June 18, 2008 at 20:06


    None of it’s easy.

  66. 66 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 20:18

    @Julie P

    I did not mean any of it was easy. I think teaching is very rewarding and teachers are not given the respect they deserve. My mother was substitute teaching recently and she discussed how the kids acted in elementary school and it was disheartening because many kids start going on the wrong track at an early age, it makes the job that much more difficult. She stated that the really bad kids just act up in class because the principal doesn’t want to deal with them, so they are acting out but you cant send them anywhere because they will be sent back to class. College students are mostly more mature, you still have challenges just different.

    I know one of my friends was teaching this lab and the kid didn’t get an A because he didn’t get A’s on his lab reports, but the kid and his parents wrote a letter to the Dean and the President. My friend was not penalized but he was told to make sure an incident like this one did not happen again.

    I think if you do something you enjoy, it will pay off in the end.

  67. 67 Jens
    June 18, 2008 at 20:28


    i am one of the lucky ones who enjoys his job, BUT even for me the grass is ofen greener on the otherside of the fence. even though i got pretty far in my career i often have doubts if it is the one or right thing i wanted or want to do. in many ways i was lucky being able to change from biochemistry to physiology to infection an immune studies, all while moving from country to country. ok all are in the realms of the biology arena. i think doubt about what your futur and futur career holds are healthy. what is not healthy is to start disliking and hating your job and desperatly wishing you would have had a diffrent life. i don’t want to come along all career adviser or parently (which I am not, anyway), but try to see yourself in 5-10 years. what to you expect from yourself and what do you wish for, since expectations and wishes are not the same but are not mutually exclusive. just as an example, i expect from myself to be doing great research in the next 10 years and secretly i may wish to win the nobel price….(which i don’t, because i know others are better or more dedicated than me).

    from your statements i gather you are probably in your mid-late twenties. think about it in terms of how many years will you be able to do auditing without going crazy. also think about will changing your field make you much happier. all of this is ever so complicated and fraught with pitfalls, BUT that is what makes life exciting and unique. this is only a little bit of advise from a middle aged fool, who has batteled the demons of “am I really doing the thing i want to do?” may options are opening my own restaurant or professional ski patrol/mountain guide….. now that should tell ya something about my mind 😉

  68. 68 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 18, 2008 at 20:43


    Thank you for your kind words. I was actually a biochemistry major, until I dropped Physical Chemistry. Since, I dropped that class I have wondered from field to field. Most of my professors have told me to pursue Patent Law and all of my friends tell me to stay away from it.

    The one thing I learned from research, on a very small scale, was that it takes time, persistence, and dedication. As my organic professor always told me, their will always be smarter people but the dedicated ones are able to achieve so much more. So never know, you may someday win a Nobel Prize!!

  69. 69 Jens
    June 18, 2008 at 21:03


    i intentially did not recommend patent law ;), because it is such a specific and often laboriouse process. my problem with research, if i can call it one, is that it requires the life style of a manic-depressive person. i have probably spend mor years of my life getting no results than i have getting good ones. as such you go from low to high and back more often than you wish for. however, depending on your research field it can be rewarding. the older i get the less i equate success with my income. quality of life an enjoyment and fun is more important, since once you sit in the old age pension home wityh an incontinence bag attached, you will be looking back at life and hopefully see you did the best you could, did something you loved, and brough joy and help to others. the size of your bank account may influence the luxury version of the bag, but utimatly it will not make your life more fullfield.

  70. 70 Julie P
    June 18, 2008 at 21:30


    Okay, now that you’ve gotten some feedback from others on their occupations you can understand what I mean by “none of it’s easy”. Okay, now you have touched by a biologist of sorts, a patent attorney, and a software consultant. One of them has me thinking about fantasy jobs, the other about incontinence bags (not on the thought list ever!). Maybe we should all join up and form a rock band!

  71. 71 Jens
    June 18, 2008 at 23:06

    @ Julie P

    Sorry for the incontinence bag, just wanted to illustarte that at the end of ones life there is still time for reflection. maybe we should form a rock band. how about “the incontinent biological software consultants”……we could employ a patent attorney to tradmark the name

    have a good one

  72. 72 Julie P
    June 18, 2008 at 23:19


    The problem with posting things online is humor doesn’t transfer well. I was actually chuckling about the incontinence bag. As a gag gift for my brother’s 50th birthday I sent him a box of Depends, so I have a sense of humor.

    The name of the band sounds cool.

  73. 73 Jens
    June 19, 2008 at 17:11


    it was intended to be chuckeled at. glad i made you laugh. i hope he liked the Depends 😉

  74. 74 rebecca
    June 24, 2008 at 17:41

    It seems pretty clear (with few exceptions) that we are neither over-educated or all that interested in equality. The question is awkwardly phrased, and without specificity the op-ed engine runs on and on…

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