Women and jobsThe option to pledge devotion to a career is...


June 10, 1991

Women and jobs

The option to pledge devotion to a career is relatively new for the nation's employed women.

Those who are thus committed tend to be women who are financially independent and have no children younger than 18, according to new research by Helena Z. Lopata, professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Social Roles at Loyola University of Chicago.

"In the 1950s, women were pushed to have a total commitment to family and homemaking," said Ms. Lopata, who has a doctorate in sociology and has studied the roles of women since 1956. "That has changed considerably."

In her study of 1,635 employed city and suburban women age 25 to 54, Dr. Lopata found in overlapping categories that 78 percent of single women put their job first; 24 percent of single employed women with children put it first; 17 percent of those who are employed and married do so; as do 7 percent of those employed, married and mothers.

Other findings about women with strong job commitment:

* They have a fairly good family income and earn at least 60 percent of it.

* They are well-educated, and many went back to school to get additional training.

* They are well-paid and feel their salaries are fair.

Ms. Lopata, whose survey is based on data she collected in 1979, has done 100 additional interviews and intends to do more for her latest project, "Side Bets of Career Commitment of American Women."

She said, "I call it 'Side Bets' because the more women invest in areas of their lives that will help them get where they want to go professionally, the more likely they will be able to be committed to their careers."


Corporate America is becoming as adept at doublespeak as the U.S. military, although it's got a long way to go to match "collateral damage" -- gulf war lingo for bomb damage that included civilian deaths.

If the subject is layoffs, companies go through a "restructuring" or "consolidation" or "downsizing." One South Florida firm last month announced "voluntary and directed terminations."

Nobody gets fired anymore. They resign. For personal reasons. Or "to pursue other interests." Or "explore new opportunities."

Doublespeak creeps into all sorts of corporate talk. Some companies don't lose money, they experience "earnings declines" or "negative profits." And banks call foreclosed real estate "special assets."

Do you have a favorite bit of doublespeak? Send it to MBW, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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