Adolescence is an important and turbulent phase in general but a particularly challenging one for a girl as they undergo several physical, emotional and hormonal changes and developments. This period is accompanied by various difficulties like low self esteem, poor body image, eating disorders, self harm, body shaming, bullying and social comparisons as they become conscious about themselves and the beauty standards imposed on them by society
One of the key areas to make this transitional phase easy is to be aware of the various developments and parents can play an important role in helping teenagers adapt to these changes well.
A majority of girls go through similar struggles when it comes to making a career choice. Even though we have come a long way from the stringent restrictions that were placed on women in terms of career opportunities, there are still struggles faced by women when it comes to
● becoming a leader of a diverse team
● limited choices
● discrepancy in wages
● Promotional ranking
● Sexual harassment
● office politics
● making a choice between career and marriage/motherhood
All these factors leave them with a feeling of lack of independence, sense of agency and autonomy for their own career.
Moving on to a different phase in life, It is a largely held belief that marriage and motherhood are the zenith that a woman can and must achieve. There are subtle expectations that are unsaid but widely prevalent and imposed on women. A woman is expected to juggle between professional life, taking care of household responsibilities and family members and social life
Marriage might be accompanied with itís own set of challenges of:
1. Financial dependence- According to a study by National Family Health Survey, only a fifth of working women make their own decisions of where to spend their earnings
2. Choosing between motherhood and career
3. Adjustment with the in laws
4. In worse-case scenarios - domestic violence or other forms of abuse.
The others concerns faced by women are Divorce/single motherhood which is commonly looked down upon in societies and a woman who is separated/divorced or widowed is usually treated with hushed criticisms, sympathy or pity as it is believed that she would not be able to survive on her own.
A divorced woman not only undergoes the emotional and mental turmoil of separating from her husband but also financial burden and if there are children involved then raising them without a partnerís support. Whether be it by choice or unfortunate circumstances, single mothers might face difficulty in achieving a social status equivalent to that of a married woman.
A divorced woman or single mother might also face challenges in finding prospective partners easily.
Even though it seems like a grim and bleak picture, there have been significant and promising changes as well. Despite all the difficulties and oppressions faced, we are slowly moving towards an era of women empowerment where issues that were earlier kept hushed are being spoken out and discussed. A survey published that in the past decade, roughly two-thirds of women participate in the decision making process be it regarding health care, finances or household decisions and the percentage of working women who earn equivalent to their husbands has doubled as well.
We have started seeing women empowerment as becoming a burning and important issue in the current scenario. There are women who are challenging the status quo and excelling in all domains of life irrespective of their childhood experiences, caste, religion, social, financial and marital status.
Women belong in all places where decisions are being made... It shouldn't be that women are the exception." óRuth Bader Ginsburg
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