In an age packed with speed, rising expectations and deadlines, hardly a day goes by without a fond recall of the good old days. "Those were the days," you would sigh, "when the air was clean, things were not so expensive, and my grandmother made some delicious home made cookies!"
For women, however - were the good old days really all that good? Fond nostalgia, unfortunately, pales in the face of age-old discrimination at home and work . Happily for us, the women's liberation movement has, in the past 100 years, secured a more equitable share for the fairer sex.
Why is the fairer sex not so happy, then?
In a recent poll published by The Economist, women in 11 countries (mostly developed nations) were quizzed on how happy they were.
In the USA 62% of the women felt that they should have all the same rights as men but only 8% think that they do have the same rights as men. 93% of the women feel that they are in a better position than their grandmother's generation but only 28% of them feel that they are actually happier than their grandmothers!
This leaves you wondering. We can do things our grandmothers couldn't even imagine, let alone contemplate doing! Why doesnt' this better position make women happy? Should women in lesser developed countries stop striving for the rights, their counterparts in the west, have apparently achieved?
So tell us...
Are women today happier than their Grandmothers were?
Sandy, San Diego- California
I think the important thing that we have to remember is that women of today have more choices than our grandmothers. This creates tensions that our granmothers did not have to deal with. I think one''s attitude probably plays more of a role in personal happiness than living in any particular time. We can choose to deal positively with these choices and find our own personal road to happiness just as our grandmothers may have decided to make the best of their own situations. I do think that choice is a good thing, though. Any person not able to choose their own destiny has to bury some part of themselves in order to survive. Also I think a lot of the dissatisfaction expressed has a lot to do with a faster lifestyle. I think the social outlets that our grandmothers had are not chosen today due to perceived lack of time. Women have to take a step back to review their choices in order to decide what makes them happy -a fast-paced over-scheduled existence or a more sedate lifestyle. I know for me that spending time with my family in a slower, more-sane fashion makes me happier than the fast-paced career from which I retired. But my older sister, a very savvy businesswoman would wilt at home. To each her own and thank goodness we can choose.
A Big No. Today though you find women basically in all fields of life having achieved so much, I think deep down inside the true meaning of happiness is absent. Women may pretend to be happy with their achievements in today"s world but I wouldn"t call that happiness. The happiness my grandmother had within the four walls of her house, fulfilling the needs of her family is something the women of today will never ever experience.
Manjula Srikumar, Abu Dhabi (winner)
No. This is because the expectations of women have grown faster than the privileges available while the demands on them have grown beyond the heights scaled by them. This inevitably has caused disappointment. In this background, the old way of life and the safety net for women in the form of a family, which in fact smothered them, seems preferable, than being forced to do daring acrobatics without that back-up.
Grass is always greener on the other side of the mountain. Those of us who live today's fast paced life imagine that peace must have surrounded our grandmother's life, but were they really happy peaceful and contented? Happiness is a subjective term and in every era and every condition the happiness qoutient of each person is different. But there are several external factors that add to or substract from an individual's hapiness. Lets consider the lives of common women in our grandmother's generation. They all went through a large number of pregnancies, many of them having a dozen kids or more and yet only a few of the kids survived.The advancement of medical science we see today was not there then. They did not even have antibiotics. Women of our grandmother's generation saw their own kids die before their eyes.The society was severly infested with superstitions. Women in particular were the victims.
Padmavathi, Ras Al Khaimah
Our grandmothers enjoyed a different lifestyle from that of today. They were happy with what they had . Women today are happy in a different way - fighting for equal rights. Comparatively speaking, women today are happier than their grandmothers. They can further enhance their happiness when society fully accepts the new woman.
I don't think I am happier than my grandmother. She led a very simple life, just cooking, taking care of her children. Today's woman has to divide her time between work, home and children and you end up not having time for yourself. You finally kill all your joys, doing something you are not happy doing. Faced with the pressures of maintaining a standard of living, we seem to have fewer choices.
I definitely enjoy more freedom. Even as a kid, I was consulted - not treated like a girl (if you know what I mean). I don't find myself restricted by traditions and customs that my grandmother was.
Ali Asad, Dubai
I think women today are more burdened. They lead a life full of tension. Women of my grandmother's era had fewer expectations of them - so more contentment!
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