Family and profession: Tightrope walk for the career woman
Professionalism, social obligations, individualism and public
perception... Present day women are required to act out all these images
assimilating the scattered and divergent reflections into one picture.
This article attempts to explore the different aspects of the picture
and how she survives the tremors and aftershocks.
With the introduction of free education in Sri Lanka doors opened for
women to climb up the ladder of higher education. Breaking through
cultural barriers, women belonging to all communities have spread their
wings in various fields.
According to statistics, the female population in Sri Lanka is
higher. Thus their contribution towards economic and social development
cannot be neglected or undermined. In the beginning, females were
confined to professions like teaching.
Now there is a considerable female presence in many disciplines such
as medicine, engineering, science and technology, law, accountancy,
commerce and management. One may assume that the word â€˜male preserveâ€™ is
outdated. Is it true ?
Who is she ?
Women professionals undergo various types of ill treatment. It is so
pathetic that at times such harassment stems from male workers of lower
ranks. Certain incidents have revealed that most males in Sri Lanka are
still reluctant to work under females irrespective of their
Apart from that, there are males in higher positions who do not let
female professionals go up the career ladder and in some work places
females are not absorbed owing to different â€˜reasonsâ€™.
The loads of problems become more serious after marriage where
females have to play several roles. Many well- qualified professionals
give up their careers to give priority to the family. It is practical
only if they have a sound economic background.
With the increasing cost of living today it is vary hard to manage
with a single income. For families in which the mother is the
breadwinner, the situation is disastrous.
If she has to go for foreign employment many catastrophic social
consequences await in the backyard.
The other end of the rope
Some working women say good bye to their professions due to
unpleasant workplace conditions. The country does not get the maximum
productivity and service out of them.
To cope up with the barriers some go to the other end neglecting the
family. In that case, children become the main victims. The next option
would be to spend time with grandparents, servants or at daycare centres.
Living with grandparents has advantages as well as disadvantages.
Proper attention, love and care is assured from grand parents. But,
sometimes their age does not permit them to struggle with kids.
In terms of servants and day care centres only a few fortunate kids
stay with good servants or at well-managed day care centres. No outsider
will care or love children like their mother. The motherâ€™s affection is
the most instrumental. The background and the upbringing decide a
Partner; man or husband?
The support of the husband is very crucial to strike a right balance
between the job and family. Just turn back and think how understanding
your husband is. Dealing with your husband and the in-laws is very
critical for a career woman as there are ample examples of ruined
families due to lack of mutual understanding. Again, children become
seriously affected if the marriage ends up in divorce.
One for all
Today the single child concept is very common. This is because most
parents are unable to give attention to several children while engaged
Thereâ€™s another psychological aspect to this issue. If a working
mother undergoes a certain embarrassment, she would never allow her
daughter/s to step in to the same atmosphere. As a result, that second
generation will have to hide their talents.
The very first thing to avoid disappointment, in the case of
professional mothers is providing facilities pertaining to household
For instance if well-managed day care centres are established in work
places, the burden of looking after the children is solved at least to
some extent. At some places this has already been implemented. In
European countries this method is being implemented successfully.
Women should know how to use those benefits. They should not take
these for granted and forget their primary responsibilities. Family
members must be concerned over the workload and responsibilities of
women. Cooperation and understanding will avert many unpleasant
circumstances within the family and the workplace.
(The writer is the Head of the Department of Electronics, Wayamba
University of Sri Lanka, Kuliyapitiya.)
Risks and problems
HEALTH: The aim of this article is to help people with arthritis who
are thinking about having a baby or have just found out that they are
pregnant. The general information in this article applies to most forms
of arthritis, but there is a separate section for people who have lupus
(systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE). This is because this disease
behaves differently in pregnancy from other types of arthritis.
The article describes the effect of the pregnancy on your arthritis
and the effect of your arthritis on pregnancy and the baby. Of course,
each pregnancy is different and the effects of arthritis vary from
person to person, so it is only possible to give fairly general
information. You should ask your rheumatologist for more specific
advice, preferably before trying for a baby.
Starting a family When any couple starts to think about having a baby
they naturally want to do all they can to have a normal healthy baby,
and most couples also worry about the risk of the baby being born with
It is no different if you have arthritis. If you plan your pregnancy
and let your rheumatologist know you are thinking of having a baby, you
will improve your chances of a normal pregnancy and baby. Planning is
important because of the drugs you are likely to be taking.
It is important for both partners to be fully aware of the risks and
problems associated with pregnancy. Coping with a newborn baby and
during the subsequent childhood requires love, time and commitment from
both partners, especially when one partner has arthritis.
When is the best time to have a baby?
You are likely to have good and bad times with your arthritis. It is
always better to try for a baby while you are in a good phase. This will
allow you to reduce the drugs you need to take during the pregnancy.
Some recent studies suggest that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs (NSAIDs) taken around the time of conception may increase the risk
of miscarriage, so you might want to discuss the risks with your
rheumatologist. (Note that paracetamol has not been linked with an
increased risk of miscarriage.)
Some drugs you are taking for your arthritis may have to be stopped
before conception. This may cause your arthritis to get worse. You must
not become pregnant while you are on methotrexate, cyclophosphamide or
leflunomide (see the section â€˜Drugs, pregnancy and breastfeedingâ€™).
Other drugs are safe to take in this period and your rheumatologist
will be aware of these. It should also be possible to get help in the
form of other measures, such as physiotherapy and acupuncture.
It is also important to discuss with your rheumatologist well in
advance the risks associated with pregnancy. As you get older (over 35
years) it may be harder to get pregnant.
If you wait until you are over 40 you may be more likely to miscarry,
and there will be a greater risk of having a baby with a problem such as
(The writer is Consultant Rheumatologist, Sri Jayawardenepura
To be continued