Unlike the 70’s, young men list "employed" as one of the top criteria they look for in their future spouses.
Among 15 male interviewees from Phoenicia University, only three still hold the traditional belief that a woman's role in society does not breach the boundaries of her home.
This stereotypical view of women was expressed by one of the interviewees claiming that: "A woman's place is at home; if she's employed, who will raise the children and clean the house?"
However, the other interviewees had different views about the importance of education and employment for women. This was best worded by a business student who exclaimed: "How will it be possible for a divorced woman to live an independent and decent life if she does not have a career that backs her up financially?"
Men's patriarchal mindset is changing. Previously, men did not allow their wives and daughters to work outside the house. Today, however, many men look for employed women as they realize that productive wives can contribute to the financial needs and security of the marriage institution. "Covering all the expenses of the household and family is draining, which makes it more rational to marry an employed woman that would share the burden with me," one computer engineering student explained.
Lebanon is a leading country in the MENA region when it comes to women's participation in the professional fields. According to a survey done by Bayt.com, an employment website, 88% of respondents in Lebanon have both male and female employers in their workplace. This number implies that women have found their way into most domains of work. Nonetheless, one cannot help but wonder: what if in the process of achieving gender equality women end up having to do everything on their own: working jobs to support their family financially and raising the children all by themselves?
It obviously goes without saying that if one is to support women’s engagement in the workplace, men need to chip in and share the responsibilities of household chores and looking after the children.
- Fatima Amin
Communication and Social Media Student