Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dutch Women Don't Get Depressed

'Going Dutch,' an article by Jessica Olien in Slate Magazine

Here is an excerpt from the article - Click here for the full version.

I've been in the Netherlands for nearly three months now, and I've come to one overwhelming conclusion: Dutch women are not like me. I worry about my career incessantly. I take daily stock of its trajectory and make vicious mental critiques of my endeavors. And I know—based on weekly phone conversations with friends in the United States—that my masochistic drive for success is widely shared among my female friends. Meanwhile, the Dutch women around me take a lackadaisical approach to their careers. They work half days, meet their friends for coffee at 2 p.m., and pity their male colleagues who are stuck in the office all day.

It's hard not to wonder: Have we gotten it all wrong? In the United States, the race for equality has gone mostly in one direction. Women want to shatter the glass ceiling, reach the top spots in the hierarchy, and earn the same respect and salaries as men do. But perhaps this situation is setting us up for a world in which none of us is having any fun. After all, studies of female happiness in the U.S. find that even as our options have increased and we have become financially more independent than in any previous time in our history, American women as a whole are not getting any happier. If anything, the studies show that we are emotionally less well-off than we were before. Wasn't the whole point of the fight for equality in the workplace to improve our wellbeing?

I think it's fascinating that the Dutch women refuse to work longer hours even when opportunities of advancement occur. They're busy gardening, playing sports, raising their children and generally having a life! This sounds so much better than a 'superwoman' trying to do it all or have it all. I think Dr. Laura would approve. We could definitely learn something from them.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! It's sad to say, but I think many Americans have it all wrong in so many ways. Thanks for the thought provoking post ;-)