What is the state of the American woman? Why they are more powerful, but less happy?What is the state of the American woman? Why they are more powerful, but less happy?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very broad and sweeping statement to make and I'm not sure it can be supported.

It is clearly true that American women have more power and more independence today.  However, I am not sure that it is true that they are less happy.  It is impossible to know how happy women are compared with women from any time in the past.  To measure this, you would need to have good survey data from now and the past on the subject of women's happiness.

Clearly, the increase in women's power and options comes with a price -- they must now worry about careers and family both.  And they often have to do more of the traditional housework even as they have more career-type responsibilities.

However, I do not think you can safely claim that women are less happy because there is no way to know that.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Educated American women are able to achieve more than ever before in the workplace, although they are still hampered by the "glass ceiling." Less educated women are at least able to get employment when it is available. However...

The majority of American men still do not divide household responsibilities equally with their female partners, which means that women are doing more than their fair share of housecleaning, food shopping, cooking, laundry, and child care.

Women are squeezed on both ends--it's harder to get ahead at work than it is for a comparably educated and trained man, and we have to do more at home even though we are full-time employees just like our husbands. This makes a lot of women resentful.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This sweeping generalization is too vague, and I think some critical terms need to be defined: power and happy. By power do you mean more opportunities and choices, more "boss" roles, more freedoms? What about happy? A life lived with no stress, no emotional ups and downs, less happy compared to when and what? You need to more clearly define exactly what response you are soliciting. 

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that woman are more powerful than they used to be. Woman are holding very prestigious, high powered jobs. I do not think that they are necessarily unhappy though. I think that women have more free will so I guess I would consider them happier. It is easier for them to pursue their dreams and do what they choose-not do what society expects of them.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a tough topic to comment on.  I do agree that women now have more positions of leadership than they have in the past. This could in itself lead to the fact that maybe they are less happy since these positions of leadership also bring added responsibilities and stress.

booksnmore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maria Shriver recently did a series of reports on this topic for NBC. (Called The Shriver Report: A Women's Nation, a 454 p. document.) While women have more choices (and power), women are spread very thin. Sometimes it's hard to be happy when you're so stressed and busy.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Why they (American women) are more powerful, but less happy? - mamalion9

I really do not know what is the basis of this statement today. It is true that, discrimination against women today is much less today than what it used to be in the past. Also general level of education of women has increased and they are employed in many different types of jobs, that were earlier done only by men. But can we directly relate all these developments to greater power? Perhaps, the earlier discriminatory practices which also included a positive kind of discrimination considering women superior to men in many ways gave them greater power. This kind of positive discrimination is reflected in use of phrases like fair sex and better-half.

The claim about women today being less happy is even more disputable. Happiness is rather difficult to define or measure. Thus, in absence of an objective measure of happiness, the only assessment possible is based subjective assessment of individuals. And my assessment is that women today are not any less happy than men. But it is possible that men as well as women have more stressful life today than it used to be, say, fifty years ago.

missiup1 | Student

I can easily see how, though we've finally made it to the proverbial "top" we're pretty unhappy. I think women are very easily raised within a gender role/expectation to be everything to everyone. I want that at work, with my (someday) spouse, with my (someday) children. We are a culture of wanting/expecting it all. We do not teach balance. My hats off to all women in this age/economic time. We've arrived but at a cost.

mamalion9 | Student

According to the Rockefeller Foundation poll shows that women have become dominant in our society. Women will soon constitute a majority of the workforce; they earn 57% of college degrees; they make 75% of buying decision in the home. At the same time, the poll found that women are not terribly concerned with equality issues, nor are they patting themselves on the back for their pre-eminence, they are simply dealing with the often bewildering changes and uncertainty in our economy as breadwinners, spouses, mothers and daughters. It's not the anachronistic battle of the sexes anymore but how are all, women and men, grapple with a new economy and new era. I suppose you could say that's true equality.

A woman's nation changes everything along with the center for American progress. "Our goal", based on the speech of the first lady of California Maria Shriver, who is one of the nation's premier forums for women to come together to discuss vital issues, "is to empower women to see themselves as architects of change in their own lives, in their communities, in the world."

You know how optimistic, positive, and upbeat I am. You know my MO: "Where there is a will, there is a way." It's not what life throws at us that counts, but how we choose to handle it. But why am i going on about my beliefs right now?Well, so you'll understand the lesson of this vignette, of course. I'm going through hell right now, but thank God, i believe everything i write. There's a reason for this. I'm going to be okay. In fact, I'm going to be better off in the end.

I made a decision to choose the healing path. Even though i was feeling awful, I choose to be hopeful and to see the opportunity in the crisis. I decided to make my life better than it had been before. As time went on, i kept reminding myself to choose hope and empowerment. I didn't do a perfect job, but when i sat down to talk to my son, I echoed the positive sentiment:"You don't need to worry. We are all going through a very difficult time, and it may go on for many months, but we're going to be fine in the end. We're both safe. We have our health. We have each other. We love each other. You don't deserve this, and I'm sorry you have to deal with this pain. Luckily, I have enough money to take care of us. And someday, our life will be better than it was before."

When my world exploded, I was overwhelmed and afraid. I suffered and struggled a lot. But all the while, I chose to focus on the positive- to grasp the gift, to articulate it, and to make it real. If i can heal my life in that way, so can you!