I was inspired this morning by a terrific article by Naomi Wolf in More Magazine, who writes about women and happiness. In part she was responding to Marcus Buckingham’s recent book which posited that women are becoming less happy.
Wolf put this “women are miserable” meme in exactly the right context, pointing out that every few years, we hear a lot of angst about women’s progress, especially in the workplace. We worried if it was bad for men (I heard this a lot in the 70s), we worried if it was bad for children (we all heard plenty of this in the 80s and 90s) and now we worry if it’s bad for women themselves!
Some of this is good old backlash (though I don’t think that was Buckingham’s motivation), and some of it is just our American tendency to constantly question ourselves. And some of it is of course a consequence of the over-heated 24/7 workplace that demands so much of people right now.
But my own work leads me to believe that if women dissatisfied with work, it is because the traditional workplace is not designed to support women’s happiness. It never was. The differences in how men and women perceive, define, and pursue satisfaction were simply not calibrated into how work was set up. In the weeks ahead, I’ll be exploring this.
What do you think?