Reconciliation of relationship and career: possible, under certain conditions

In 1949, Simone De Beauvoir encouraged women to emancipate themselves through work, while Gisèle Halimi kept repeating that economic independence was the key to their liberation. In 2024, it's a given: most women, 85% of whom are in a relationship, are working! According to Antoine De Gabrielli, author of the book S'emanciper à deux (Editions du Rocher), this situation poses new challenges: on the one hand, women very often have a double psychological burden of private life and work to take on. on the other hand, men invest a lot in their professional life, at the expense of their private life, and some suffer because of it. Faced with this observation, “both members of the couple are losers, only the economic system is the winner,” notes Antoine De Gabrielli, an expert on diversity and equality in the world of work.

This problem is pronounced when working couples become parents. Consciously or unconsciously, they return to traditional gender roles and their interdependence intensifies: “They begin to function as vessels that communicate: as soon as one works more, the other works less to take care of the children,” explains the author. specifying that mothers work an hour and a half less per day on average. They work just as much, but they have to be punctual and efficient in order to leave on time. They miss networking opportunities at the end of the day, for example. » It is still true today that women do twice as much unpaid work as men, according to data from the International Labor Organization (ILO). The current work model, which implies full availability and mobility, is largely at a disadvantage for women.

The company is selfish

The result? “The complementarity between the spouses of the ancient world, which gave way to the search for equality, can cause competition within the couples themselves: the professional and family availability of each person oppose each other in an exhausting race against time, which by force of circumstances lead to conflict”, points out Antoine de Gabrielli. Because, “it's math: for women to work more, men have to work less, otherwise who will take care of the children?” robot? “, he asks confused.

Antoine De Gabrielli therefore suggests that men invest their private life more in the benefit of their wife's career. This hour and a half a day could be more regularly, or even more systematically, divided into two (45 minutes for women, 45 minutes for men). Then there would be less discrimination against women in the professional sphere. “The company is selfish: it doesn't care if it's a man or a woman, it wants the member of the couple who works the hardest,” he says.

When a couple has to move as part of professional mobility or take maternity or paternity leave when one or more children arrive, the same economic dilemma arises: “The decision is not made depending on the gender of the parents, but on who earns. the most money. The idea is for the couple to survive economically. However, it is very often men who occupy responsible positions and therefore have the highest salaries. »

Find a common language

Also, in order for both members of the couple to progress in their life together and in their careers, they will have to learn to communicate about their desires and their priorities in order to “find a way of emancipation and support for each person's vocation. . » Spouses can, for example, decide to exchange periods in which the professional career of one of them is ahead of the other, decide to share a professional project or simply share household and family tasks.

“If the tasks are well distributed, both members of the couple will do the work equally well. We often think of a man and a woman separately, instead of thinking of the couple as a whole. What needs to change is not men or women, but the current way of working as well as the organization of our societies with, for example, more places in crèches, concludes the author. No job is worth quitting, especially when the job's meaning is weak or socially overrated. »

Keep in mind that if women needed economic development to gain freedom and autonomy over the last seventy years, the economy needs them just as much. The President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, stated in July 2023 that if women had access to employment under the same conditions as men, the European Union (EU) would have almost ten million additional employees, as well as an increase in GDP and from 10% until 2050.

Leave a Comment