Achieving something that resembles a healthy work and life balance is something that many of us aspire to. That said, there are various studies and reports from around the world that suggest that women struggle a lot more than men when it comes to achieving this.
We explored why this is the case, and while some of these reasons are exclusively linked to women, there are others that could also affect a man’s ability to achieve a balanced lifestyle, too.
One huge problem for women is that a lot of ‘professional’ clothing isn’t the sort of thing that they would wear in a social setting. On the other hand, men quite happily head out to the bar after work in their suits before making a longer night of it.
In contrast, while women might go for a quick drink, they are more likely to want to go home and get changed into something more comfortable. Then what happens is that they get home, realise how tired they are, and don’t head back out.
Although women’s fashion has moved forward in recent years so that there is more functional and comfortable clothing that can be worn in any and all environments, work clothes are still a problem when it comes to work and life.
The Need to Impress
There is a school of thought that suggests, somewhat accurately in some cases, that you need to work ridiculously long hours in some industries in order to be noticed and progress. Of course, for ambitious individuals this means they often have no life outside of work. They will work hard to achieve promotion, then continue putting the hours in to prove they deserved it. Having done this, they continue to work in order to achieve the next level on the scale.
Although this can be said for both sexes, many work environments are still male dominated, meaning women have to do that little bit more in order to be noticed, with their social life often being the thing sacrificed.
Despite what modern think tanks and research groups may tell us, it is clear that women remain the ‘dominant’ parent in most cultures around the world. This often means that their lives are taken up with either work or their children, meaning no ‘me time’ for those in this category.
At the same time, it can also mean that opportunities for getting into work are limited, therefore shifting the balance too far in one direction.
Getting it Back
How can everyone, but women in particular, improve their work and life balance? The truth is that there is no easy way to do it. We can all say we are going to leave work on time, but how many of us will really walk away if there is something important to be done? In the same context, we promise to meet up with friends but decide that a Facebook conversation will have to do, instead.
Still, at least social media is a ‘social life’ of some description, and better than none at all. In future years it may even become our only type of social life!
Aisha Malik is a fashion consultant who specializes in desirable Islamic clothing, and items such as the hijab, that modern Muslim women are increasingly wearing as they play multiple roles in today’s society.