In contrast to Virginia Woolf's society, women in contemporary America have no restrictions upon them regarding careers. In the military, for instance, they can even have positions in combat when heretofore this was not the case. Women in law enforcement, also, are not prohibited in any way from taking any position. In fact, caucasian women have the advantage over caucasian men as they can qualify for minority status. According to a recent report given on NBC news statistics show that at present more women are in the workforce than men. So, the advantage appears now to be on the woman's side. "Who would have thunk it?" [from an old,old movie.]
In terms of the work, I think Woolf is seeking to articulate the noition that the self empowerment of women is a critical element in helping to create a sense of gender equity. It seems that the re-appropriation of voice is of critical importance to Woolf. In order for this to happen, women have to find a spiritual or psychological "room of one's own," where they have the ability to freely create, reflect, and establish their own sense of self in the light of a social order where the power of men is quite pervasive. In order for women to possess the social, creative, and emotional senses of self where they can articulate ideas free from being locked into gender based stratification establishing this zone of "a room of one's own" in both belief and action is a critical element to ensure that there will be little remnant of the belief of one gender being subservient to another.
It is quite true that traditionally the roles of men and women in society were segregated quite clearly. These division of role between men and women was a part of the general pattern of division of labour which has been a great blessing and help in technological and human progress. Unfortunately the nature of division of labour between men and women became too rigid and continued to persist when it was no longer appropriate.
The in ital division of labour between men and women was primarily influenced by the child bearing role of women and their lower average physical strength. While these differences in characteristics have not changed, their importance in decision of labour has become only marginal. For most important jobs today, the most important requirement is mental capacities which is same for men and women. Also with changing technologies and social structure, women are not tied down to the home to the same extent for performing their child bearing role. Also, changes in economic structure and culture, have greatly reduced the importance and need for domestic duties. In this way, most of the jobs today can be performed equally well by men or women. For some jobs the gender continues to affect performance. For example some precision assembly jobs can be performed better by women because of their thin fingers. Similarly, men are better suited for jobs involving heavy manual labour.
In spite of this change in the reality of women being equal to men in their ability to perform most of the jobs they continued to face difficulty in first getting employment and then in advancing in such jobs because of two reasons. First, women were not encouraged to acquire the education and skills that are needed to do many jobs. Secondly there was a cultural resistance from society against women performing many of the jobs performed by men. This resistance came not only from men, but also from women. Women, disapproved other women trying to take up such jobs, describing them as unladylike. Also within an organization, dominated by men, women found it difficult to be accepted as a member of informal groups of employees tat form within every organization and which play an important role in effectiveness and advancement of individual employees.
However situation has improved considerable over a period, and today in most of the industrialized economies, the handicap placed by women has all but disappeared. Ascendancy of so many women across the world occupying senior most position in government and business, including as prime ministers of countries and chief Executives officers of large corporation is a testimony to this fact.
I am not saying that there are no difficulties faced by women. All that I am saying that these difficulties are no longer serious enough to be a significant barrier for women with a little determination.
I think women are just as a capable as men are in doin anything....