Monday, September 21, 2009

Anything Monday: Why Are Women Less Happy?

As I'm sure you've noticed by now, there's a predictable schedule for The Raisin Chronicles: on Wednesdays, you get a fun web link and on Fridays you get an essay and/or contest having to do with fiction writing.

Mondays, though, are pretty random. Mondays are the Chronicles equivalent of the old Mouseketeer "Anything Can Happen Day."

Today's random topic is the research findings by Marcus Buckingham that indicate that since 1972, as women have joined the workforce in increasing numbers, they've grown less happy. The theory, espoused by such Women's Liberation luminaries as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, that doing "meaningful work" and getting a paycheck would increase women's self-esteem and, thereby, their happiness, has proven incorrect.

Over the same period, men have grown happier, in almost exact proportion to women's decreasing happiness.

There are a number of theories on why this is: because women now work too much, because, between work and home, they work more than men, because women still have the lioness's share of housekeeping and child-rearing responsibilities, that it's strictly an American phenomenon.

The data does not support any of these conclusions.

Old Dog, though, has his own causal link. When I told him about the research, and how men have grown happier in direct proportion to women's decreasing happiness, he said:

"Of course. Men being happy always makes women unhappy."

It may be time for an attitude adjustment on that man....

For the Ladies: As an outcome of this research, there's a test you can take to help identify the kind of work that's most likely to make you feel happy and fulfilled. I'll post my own results in the comments, along with my thoughts on their accuracy. I invite you to do the same.

For the guys: Go ahead and take the test if you have time. It will be interesting to see how your results, and your reactions, differ from the gals.


  1. Lead role: Influencer
    Supporting role: Pioneer

    Basically, it said I like to persuade people and that I'm fascinated by new things.

    Which sounds like I'd be happiest selling leading edge technology.

    I don't think so.

  2. I'm an Influencer. Somehow I missed the Supporting Role.

    I believe a woman is happy when her man is happy.

  3. Old Dog's answer is brilliant. And true I think.

  4. Jeanne- I feel more men are less interested in marriage, and if they get married or not, have expectations of women now to contribute to the household income. Currently in Michigan, a woman can find a job easier than a man- but there still isn't enough jobs for them, either.
    Women wanted equal rights, and got them. Be careful what you wish for..

  5. In this household it's because man has gone out to meaningful, rewarding job and woman is left wet-vacuuming up sewage water that is flooding into the basement from the City's backed up pipes. Never mind that I might have had things to do today.

  6. Sorry, but I can't help but agree with old dog!

  7. Hmm, couldn't get the site to work for me - I'll try on another computer. I suspect it'll tell me stuff I already know......

  8. I took it, and then I quickly forgot my result. . .

    Does that make me a plan old loser???

  9. HA! Lead role=Advisor, I found this curious.. Any job where you’re paid to be opinionated.
    Supporting Role =Pioneer
    Great Test..:)

  10. Lead role: Advisor
    Supporting role: Creator

    That was a great test!

  11. My theory on the reason for the unhappiness/happiness - gadgets.

    Women generally don't like gadgets as much as men. More things to stress us out, to think about to, to add to overscheduling...

    Men just like the shiney new toys and don't feel guilty if they don't response to every cellphone call.

  12. Brilliant answer from Old Dog.

    I also think it has something to do with what you said about child-rearing duties/household chores/going to a "real" job. It's exhausting and not the least bit "liberating" as Steinem made it seem. I know that they just wanted women to have the choice to do all three of these, but it became the norm by the '80s and I feel like women are looked down on now if they DON'T take on all these different avenues. Oy vey.

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  14. I haven't taken the test, but I figure that I've had the career that made me happy (and well-off). Now I'm exploring other paths to happiness.

    BTW: Old Dog was just trying to get your goat!

  15. He is hilarious, in that you kind of want to smack him way ;-)


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