An Outlook on the Challenges Faced by Working Women

Introduction This research paper is based on a very common phenomenon of our country- the work life balance of women. Previously we had an image of a loving wife and caring mother when we used to think of a Bangladesh woman. But now things have changed a lot. Women are no more confined in the cozy corner of their homes. They are also participating in the economy. With this attachment of new role women are facing some challenges too. This research paper deals with those problems that are faced by a working woman, in both her personal life as well as professional life.

Balancing both the parts is the biggest challenge for any working woman of Bangladesh. Women are now contributing in the family income. They are helping their parents and husbands to live a better life. Again their responsibilities towards their family members do not end Like men. As we see In our society that, men come home and sit In front of TV or read newspaper. But a women who work the same amount outside the home, has to fulfill the duties of cooking, taking care of children, preparing their lessons as well as taking care of other family members.

This dual responsibility of working In and out makes a woman’s life very difficult. Still women are trying their best to cope up with all the difficulties. Areas of Research What are the problems that are faced by the working women in their personal life? Working women mostly face the problem of time constraint. They also face trouble In raising children. Single women are more concerned about the lack of time for themselves. What are the problems that are faced by them in their professional life? Working women face more problems than their male colleagues.

Lack of cooperation from coworkers, excessive pressure of work, gender discrimination are some common problems faced by working women In their professional life. Do they get adequate operation from their family members as well as colleagues? Most of the women who are working in the big organizations are from educated families. This is why they get good cooperation from the family members. Similarly, such corporations have highly educated people In the workforce, who are also considerate to their female colleagues.

Do they believe that their family members are creating Impediment to their professional success? Why or why not? Most women do not consider their families as their impediment towards success. I OFF achieve better positions. Have they ever felt to choose between their career and family? Such situation has come to working women’s life when they had to choose between their career and family. What are the opportunities they missed due their preference to the family? Promotions, higher education outside the country, training in home or abroad are the opportunities that are missed by many working women.

What problems do they face in raising their children? Lack of day care centers is the main problem for working mothers who have small children. Again, the sense of insecurity of keeping their kids with the maids also hampers their dedication towards work. Hypothesis The hypothesis of my research paper is, “Working women face a lot of difficulties in both their personal and professional life”. As our families are dependent on mothers’ assistance, I believe to see these working mothers facing many problems in raising children as well as maintaining family life.

Again, in a male dominant society like ours, I think there will be some women who do not get any cooperation from their male family members as well as colleagues. The dilemma of choosing between family and career can be another issue for working women that I believe to find in my research paper. Methodology For the primary research I have surveyed twenty women. They are from both private and public sector. These women are working in different banks, mobile phone operator companies, universities at different level of their organizations.

For the secondary research I have used available resources on the web, standard reference sources, and articles in newspapers, magazines and related threads in some popular net forums. 1 . What is your view about the environment of your office? Among the twenty respondents, ten said that their work environment is friendly, whereas seven women said that they work in an environment where they have to moment with each other. The remaining three said that their workplace is not sound for women. Most women in this survey are working for renowned organizations in Bangladesh, where the working standard is very good.

The private organizations like Gramophone, Standard Chartered Bank are such organizations where everyone has to compete with each other to fulfill their targets. Again in these organizations, the work load is too high which makes some women to feel that the working environment is not sound for women. 2. What are the problems that you face in your office hours/ professional life? Though 50% women surveyed said that their working environment is good, still they (75%) think that they face some problem in their professional life. The rest 25% women said that they don’t face any problem in their professional life.

In the second graph, we see that most women have excessive pressure of work. As most of the women surveyed were from private organizations, this is a natural phenomenon where work load is very high. Three women said that they do not get required cooperation from their colleagues and supervisors. The same number of women replied that they had short maternity leaves. Most private organizations do not grant the four month maternity leaves to their female employees. This can be the reason for such answer. Only one woman said that she was not given enough responsibilities.

Again only one woman said she had to face gender discrimination, whereas two ladies answered that they do not get help from their coworkers and faced gender discrimination. 3. What are the problems that you face in your personal life as a working woman? Women from different age group have different problems in their personal life. The women who were below age 25 were all single women. All of them said that they get less time for themselves as they are working out. Single women are living with their parents which allow them not to have any major family responsibilities.

Half of working women in the age group of 25 to 29 face problem in raising children. The next 37. 5% women cannot give enough time to their family members and cannot attend different social gatherings. The left 12. 5% women of this age group said they have less time for themselves. In the age group of 30-35, 37. 5% women still face the same problem of upbringing children. Only this age group of working women revered that they have problem with their in-laws as well as family members due to enough time to their family members. Like the previous age group, the same percentage of women said that they have less time for themselves.

Only one women of this survey was above 35, who said that the only problem she faced in her personal life was lack quality time to her family members. 4. Do you get help from your family members as well as colleagues when needed? 75% women surveyed said that they get help from their family members when needed. In contrast, 15% women said that, their families as well as colleagues are not t all supportive to them. This portion of women might be those women who faced gender discrimination and less cooperation from office. Only 10% women considered themselves to be lucky enough to get help from both their families as well as colleagues.

This low percentage shows that very few working women have very supportive families as well as good coworkers. 5. Do you have children? If yes then do you have any other family member to look after your child/children while you are at the work place? What are the problems that you face in raising your child? Among the twenty working women 17 women are also mothers, which consist of 85% f the total surveyed women. Among this 85% women, 10 said that they had no one to take care of their children at home. The rest 5 women live with their in-laws, or have other family members to take care of their kids.

The first problem that the working mothers are facing is the lack of day care centers. Most organizations do not have any day care center. So the working women have no other choice rather than keeping their kids with the maids alone at home. These working women face in raising kids are mainly the security issue. They cannot trust the maids; as a result they cannot concentrate in their work. Even some women complain about the poor condition of the day care centers where often their kids get sick or get hurt. Those who have grown up kids they said that, they cannot give time to their children in preparing for the school.

Sometimes they miss the parents’ day or other important functions of their kids’ school as they do not get leave from their office. 6. Have you skipped any professional advancement for your family’s sake? What are the opportunities that you have missed due to preference to your personal life? In the first pie chart we can see that among the twenty women eleven said that moieties they skipped opportunities for the betterment of their career due to their preference to family life. Only five women responded with the answer that they never skipped any professional advancement opportunity.

On the other hand four working ladies said they had skipped all the time such opportunities. Those women who always skipped, among them mostly lost training outside workplace; about 50%. The remaining 50% are equally divided into two parts. 25% women have always missed promotion, whereas the same percentage of women have answered that they missed professional advancements sometimes; they mostly kipped higher education. The reason behind overlooking this opportunity can be women’s attachment to their family life. Higher education outside the country requires a long time.

As most women in Bangladesh do not prefer to stay away from their family, they tend to skip any situation that can keep out of the family for long time. 36. 3% women said that they have missed training outside the workplace whether home or abroad.. This can happen when there is none to take care of the family at home. Specially women with small kids have missed such trainings. 18. 2% women sometimes missed promotions for their families’ sake. As promotion gives more responsibilities, these women skipped this opportunity to give more time to their family. 7.

Do you think you could have hold better position if you were a male in your organization? This graph shows women’s attitude towards their position in the Job. Eighteen among the twenty women strongly believed that they could have hold better position in their organization if they were male. Only two women which consist of 10% of the respondents said that there position would have been the same. In a male dominated society, where gender roles are very clear, such result is very obvious. The irking women have dual responsibilities. They not only earn but also take care of the family.

On the other hand men only earns, and hardly help their counter parts in the family work. As a result men can concentrate more on their Jobs than women. 8. Have you ever felt to choose between your career and family? This graph is categorized according to the working women’s perception towards their work environment. The women who have said that they have a friendly atmosphere of work, also said that they are in a situation where they have to choose either the family or career from the beginning to till now. Though the percentage is small, still it is surprising.

On the other hand the same percentage (10%) of women never faced such situation. 50% women of this category sometimes felt that they might give preference to their family rather their career vice versa. The remaining 30% women said that they had to choose their family after having kids for a few years. Women who work in a very competitive environment, mostly (57. 1%) replied with this answer, miss, after having kid/kids I had to choose my family for few years”. As kids need their mothers at the early age, working women tend to quit Job for that certain period.

Interestingly all other options are equally chosen by working women. 14. 3% women always are in a situation when they have to choose between family and career. The same percentage of women never had such thought. Again the same percentages of women were put in such situations sometimes. The working women who had a very negative attitude for their working environment; all of them said that they were always in a bad situation of choosing family rather career. As the workplace is not sound according to them they get denominated to work. The reason why they are still in the Job market that does not allow them to switch their Jobs.

Secondary Research From the beginning of civilization women are engaged in household activities, raising children, taking care of family etc. But now women are fulfilling the traditional role of homemakers and mothers, spending twice as much time performing unpaid obligations as men, regardless of whether they are employed outside the home or not. Johan (2010) said that, “Culturally, women are seen to be confined to their household activities; those who work outside should consider domestic work as the primary and career as a secondary function. This cultural mindset hinders their efficiency’ (p. Women are now having dual responsibilities. They are not only homemakers but also performing as bread earners. This is the scenario throughout the world. In a developing country like Bangladesh, participation of women in the workforce is an important attribute, where the data about women employment is not very available. R. Johan (2010) cited Johan in her study “Women in Bangladesh” expressed the fact in this way: “Little published material is available on women. Statistical data are outdated, only preliminary figures are available from the 1974 census.

As women are non-visible and unrecognized, their problems are not articulated and hence, they fail to draw the attention of researchers” (p. 3). This study was published in 1975. Since the asses the information about women are available. At the end of the twentieth century, average women of Bangladesh are rapidly overcoming social, cultural and corporate barriers and acquiring important positions in national, private and international sectors. Women are coming out of their cozy corners and participating in the economic growth.

Johan (2010) cited Islam that women have been permitted to go out of their homes and seek employment partly uh to western influence and partly due to economic pressure. She also mentioned that, “Families (specially the fathers) with progressive outlook and education allow and encourage their female children to study’. It is also true that most women who are working in the government organizations as well as in private sectors in managerial posts are from the upper echelons of society, who are brought up in a congenial atmosphere of education and learning.

They are not self-made; rather they are the products of the environment at home (p. 4) Traditionally women in Bangladesh have considered their career as their second priority. Again, as they are also dedicated to their work too it is very difficult for them to balance both their personal and professional life. The main challenges that working women are facing are: good time management and adjustment between career and domestic work. The major finding of that study was the working women do not evade their domestic of -home obligations Omaha, 2010, p. 4).

Working women are doing most of the household work while they are working full time for their employer with the minimum help from the family members or domestic help. Not only in the home, but also in the workplace women are not getting the proper respect that they deserve. Johan (2010) cited Islam in her study that, “Similarly, at workplace they are treated as Women’, as if they do not have adequate skill to do a Job like a man. Male colleagues do not cooperate; subordinates do not like to accept them as a boss. Women are considered as mentally weak, inexperienced, unskilled, physically unfit, soft and submissive.

So they are not capable of taking decisions, making policies and visiting field offices alone” (p. 1 5). Women also face problem after having kids. In the urban areas most families are nuclear families. In such families with both parents working from morning to evening raising children is a difficult Job. In a masculine society like Bangladesh it is considered that the upbringing of the children is only the responsibility of a woman. Has (2012) says, “A reason why women in South Asia, such as in Bangladesh, opt out of professional careers is to raise their children.

Because of continued stigma attached to women and raising children at home, a woman’s continuation of work after birth remains a cultural obstacle”. So it is very difficult for working women to rare their children alone. Sati (n. D. ) mentions, Working women with small children said that private-sector employers did not consider that they had any obligation to establish day-care centers even though Section 94 of the Labor Act 2006 stipulates that a workplace that has at least 40 women employees must have childcare facilities for the children aged up to six years”.

Most of the organizations both public and private do not have any day care facility. Nana (2008) writes in this way, “In Bangladesh, only a handful of organizations have recently started to offer their female employees on-site child care. BRAD has a day-care center and Standard Chartered Bank is said to be planning to tart a crychew at their new Goulash Branch in Dacha (currently under construction)” (p. 96). As a result many women are often put in a situation where they have to choose between their career and children and in all cases women in Bangladesh choose their babies.

In many cases women have to experience very difficult situation in their workplace. Gender discrimination, sexual harassment, lack of enforcing designated power, losing promotions are very acute in a working women’s career. Had and Skater (n. D. ) cited Mahatma in their work that, “… Negative experiences women encounter in many large firms particularly the senior executives. They often find themselves passed over for promotions, subject to greater stress than their male counterparts and marginalia in corporate decision-making processes”(p. 7).

Has (2012) mentions that, “The movements of female workers at the workplace are more scrutinized with a magnifying glass than their male counterparts”. It is often seen that the behavior that is appropriate for a man is totally inappropriate for women. Though the working women of corporations in Bangladesh are facing many challenges in every sphere of their life still they are trying their level best to cope up with the situation. Women are doing Jobs not only for luxury or financial independence of to support their families but also for themselves only.

The working women of Bangladesh are having a friendly and competitive workplace. Though there are organizations where the environment is not sound, still women are not losing their hope and continue working with all problems. The problem that is faced by most working women is excessive pressure of work. Less cooperation from colleagues as well as supervisors, gender discrimination, short maternity leave and less importance in the workplace are other obstacles that are faced by the surveyed omen. Most women said that they cannot take leave for their personal problems.

Most private organizations discourage their female employees to take leave even in emergency. Working women are fulfilling responsibilities at home as well as outside their home. They are facing problems in their family life too. Most women said that they cannot give enough time to their family members. Some are having problem in raising children, while others are facing less cooperation from the family members and in-laws. The single women complain about not having enough time for them. Working mothers who do not have any family members to take care of their children are in a miserable situation.

As their organizations have no day care facility, or some having very bad quality day care centers, they are always worried about their children. Women are often put in a situation where they have to choose between their family and career. Though none of the women have quit their Jobs, but some of them had a break of few years after having children. None of the women have said that their families are creating any impediment toward their success. All these findings are clearly supporting my hypothesis. Limitations of the Research I faced few problems while doing the research. The first limitation was the time constraint.

A semester of three months is too short for preparing a good research paper. The second problem was the small sample size. I surveyed only twenty women. If I would have taken a bigger sample size then the result of the survey would have been better. Many related issues would have come out with a bigger sample size. The last limitation that I faced is that, women’s unwillingness to give the correct information. I believe some of the women did not tell about their many other problems. Conclusion In our society working women are facing a lot of obstacles from both their family as well as coworkers.

It is not easy to remove their problems very fast. The society’s attitude towards women’s role should be changed in order to make their life little easier. A feminine society can be a better place for both men and women where gender roles overlap. Today’s women are not overlooking the responsibilities at home. What they are doing is trying their best to balance their family life and professional life. But this balancing will not be possible without the help of the people around them. Family members should be more supportive and caring.