Can a Professional Woman’s Spouse Make or Break Her Career?

“The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry. I have an awesome husband, and we’re 50/50…having a supportive spouse—a real partner—will play a huge part in your success,” said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to women in her TEDTalks. However, many millennial women have had enough with this sort of old-school line of thought where women “have to” make the “right” choices at the “right” time. CEO Shikha Sharma, former Axis Bank MD, shared that “It is a cliché to say that the choice of a life partner is the single most important choice you will make in your life…it is a cliché because it is true.” However, although it is important for women to marry the right partner, it is also equally important for men to have the right partner to support them. Is there anyone who doesn’t require encouragement and support?

Pressure also comes from family to “stop all this career nonsense”

A majority of women today believe that there are more things at play to a woman’s successful career than her spouse. From “being guided by the right mentor” to “acquiring the right skill-set”, women are agreeing that a supportive environment at home is more important than the right man. While the right man may be important, what about the constant pestering of women as to when they will settle down and get married. The truth is that women oftentimes face pressure from their own family and friends to “stop all this career nonsense” and become a “family woman”. Better late than never, it is high time that the narrative changes for women, especially for professional women. You might take being called a “career woman” as a compliment, however, it is rarely meant as one.

Indian women aren’t allowed to work if they’re husbands are earning enough

However, whether women, especially millennial women, will agree with Sheryl Sandberg or not, she hits the nail on the head when regards to Indian women and the culture of married women who work. A majority of unemployed women in India are married and those who work are somewhat “allowed” to do so. There is a strong trend that if a man is earning more enough for the entire family, his wife need not work, regardless of her education or experience. Ranjana Kumari, author of Gender, Work, and Power Relations and director of the think tank Centre for Social Research says, “Even if women are highly educated, they aren’t allowed by in-laws and husbands to do any job outside the home. Women are graduating to get a good groom not a good job.” Moreover, this only grows after a woman has children and while choosing the right man, may not solve all the problems that Indian women face, they may help them continue to work and earn. 

Therefore a good partner will spur on women to follow their dreams and if it’s a career, then, so be it!

Image credit: Harvard Business Review

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