Health Family Work

What are common conflicts about roles?

In general, employment is very important and positive for women - earning their own money brings them more control and influence within the family, increased independence, higher social status, and more social contact.

If both partners are earning money, the family has more income and can have a better life, and many women say they feel proud and more satisfied when working and assuming more economic responsibility for their families. However, some men do not like their women being more independent and self-confident.

In many countries and cultures providing for a family has, traditionally, been strongly perceived to be a male responsibility. So to have their women working makes some men afraid of losing their traditional position as head of the family and they are unhappy about their wives giving up the traditional roles and behaviour expected by their society.

Sometimes men are afraid their woman may leave them or betray them with another man whilst working away from home. Other men believe that women, in general, should not leave their homes at all to work; they think the outside world may spoil them or that women are not capable of standing their ground in the outside world.

Once a woman is earning her own money she often expects to have more respect, influence, and recognition within the family. She may for example want to play a significant role in family decision-making (e.g. about what to spend the family‘s money on). Many men do not like this at all and prefer being the unquestioned head of the family.

This type of role conflict can lead to significant matrimonial disagreement.