• Women at Home
    and Women
    at Work

    Have you ever wondered what goes through someone’s mind when they are asked the dreaded cocktail hour..

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  • A Just World?

    I was raped. It was no urban legend. No deranged stranger jumped out of a dark alley to attack me on my way home from bible study...

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  • Wellness and You

    Work gets in the way, family gets in the way, volunteer commitments get in the way, and occasionally the television and sofa get in the way too...

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Panty Raid

It has recently come to my attention that some women coordinate their bras and panties. And they don't just match colours, they buy the sets together...

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Florence Booth House, Toronto

Located in the downtown core, Florence Booth House was opened in 2000 with the intent of being a temporary shelter for that winter. In February of this year, we celebrated our 7th anniversary, proving the need is still very real...

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Champagne with Potato Chips?

You really can drink wine with just about anything, according to a new web site devoted to food and wine pairings. Zinfandel with your Tex-Mex? Not a problem. A little Chardonnay with your fried chicken take-out? Delicious. Pinot Noir and wild boar? Why not, says Natalie MacLean...

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News & Events

Eating Between the Lines: Health and Literacy (Connections for Canadians)

42% of Canadians struggle with basic reading and writing. The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) (1995;2003) shows strong links among literacy skills, employment and poverty, and thus health...

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Think Before You Go Pink

The Breast Cancer Action (BCA) group wants consumers to think about how much money is actually going to the “cure” before purchasing something with a little pink ribbon on it...

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Do you Fancy Cat Sitting

My ideal holiday involves sun, by a pool, a never-ending supply of chilled diet coke, and a sky-high pile of novels to read while the stresses of home and school evaporate...

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Women at Home and Women at Work

Have you ever wondered what goes through someone’s mind when they are asked the dreaded cocktail hour question, “So tell me, what do you do for a living?” What would you say if you were recently laid off or not currently in the workforce due to other reasons?

At a recent dinner hosted by my university, each new faculty member was asked to introduce him or herself and their respective partners who accompanied them. As the introductions went around the room I was provided with a brief background on my colleagues’ partners. It all seemed rather mundane, just hearing about a person’s name, education, and place of work. That was until the last partner was introduced. A new faculty member introduced his wife by giving her name, place of school, and degree level obtained. He concluded his introduction by stating that his wife was currently and happily working as a full-time stay-at-home mom to their young children.

In our host’s closing remarks for this segment of the evening, she commented on how nice it was to openly acknowledge that a woman stayed at home and chose to not return to the workforce. Through her own personal experiences, our host indicated that twenty years ago you were not met with a smile and much interest at social functions if you were a full-time mother as she was at the time. She related her experiences of the awkward moments endured when she said that her job was as a full-time mom and now twenty years later, she was happy to see that such a parenting concept was now well-respected and did not draw looks of disdain from others.

I started to think about how far we have come in the last twenty years and what issues my friends and I would face when our time to decide and/or balance between family and career came. I know several women of my generation that chose to stay home and also other women that chose to return to work after the births of their children. By all appearances, things seem to be going well for these women. In past conversations when we would talk about staying at home and returning to the workforce, each of these women said that there were not really any issues with their decisions; things seemed to fall into place naturally.

It seems that the case is rather simple: in my generation, women have the freedom to make the choice that they believe best benefits their families and personal lives. Is having the freedom of this choice not enough? Apparently not.

A couple of my friends will argue that the only way to raise a happy family is to stay at home and experience your child’s every moment with them. Other friends will argue that it is important to do something for yourself and that it is not the amount of time that you spend with your children that is important; it is the quality of that time spent together that counts the most.

You will notice that earlier, I chose not to use the phrase, “staying at home versus returning to the workforce.” The term “versus” indicates that this subject is one that raises conflicts between two opposing camps.

Although this subject often raises heated debates, I believe that as women, we should not be arguing about who made the better decision, whose family will have a happier life, and in general who will be happier. We should accept the choices we make and realize that each woman and each family is different. I myself view this subject as a woman’s choice to reflect on what she wants and what she deems best for herself and her loved ones. This may mean staying at home or it may mean returning to the workforce and finding a way to balance things at home with things at work. Whether or not a woman is at home or a part of the workforce, I strongly believe that it is extremely important to retain her identity beyond mother, wife, friend, and worker. It is important that women not forget who they are.

To bring this article to a close, I believe that the subject of women staying at home or returning to the workforce will bring ongoing debates as different generations experience changes in things like society’s attitudes and different workplace trends. It is important to recognize and respect that women make their choices in the ways that they believe will benefit those closest to them.