Dr. Hans Selye, a leading Canadian expert on stress once said, "Complete freedom from stress is death." But in the 1990's women are being bombarded by stress.
As well as the stress of fulfilling the traditional role of wife, mother and homemaker, women are expected to make their mark on the world, in a career, profession, business or trade. Contrary to popular belief, women working outside the home most often do so out of economic necessity. Single mothers are often the sole support of their families. In the working world, women face problems of discrimination and sexual harassment as well as lack of daycare facilities. And after work, women are still too often saddled with the main responsibilities of running the household and looking after the children.
On top of this, society gives women conflicting messages about their roles. On the one hand, women are expected to be in the home. On the other hand, the complexity of skills required to manage a household and raise children is seen to have no value either financially or on a resume.
On the other side, the women's movement has pressured women to get out of the house and into the job market. And women themselves are conditioned to blame themselves if they can't easily combine all these roles and satisfy everybody's needs. As a result of all these factors, many women face the conflict of whether to stay at home, go to work or try to do both part-time.
Lesbian couples face continuous discrimination, possible harassment and persecution as both workers and parents, as well as the difficult decision of whether to reveal their true identity to families, friends, and co-workers.
Women Face Unique Stresses
To this picture, add the unique and important stresses that women experience as they menstruate, become pregnant, and go through menopause. Each of these biological events is associated with a major life change and its accompanying emotional, psychological and hormonal upheavals.
Some of the unique stresses that women face are:
All these events are powerful milestones in a woman's life which are only partially acknowledged by society.
Relationship And Family Stresses
Relationship and family stresses loom large in the lives of most women. Women seem more sensitive to and concerned with the quality of relationships with their mate or children. Women tend to devote a lot of emotional energy to maintaining their intimate relationships.
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