Many girls mistake what may be a pleasant and satisfying avocation for a life work. For the girl who will not be held back, there may be a life of achievement ahead, with fame and all the other accompaniments of successful public life; or there may be the disappointments of unrealized ambition. We must see that girls face this possibility with the other.
THE GIRL’S WORK (Continued)—VOCATIONS AS AFFECTING HOMEMAKING
Choice of vocation is far from being a simple matter for either boy or girl; but for the girl who recognizes homemaking as woman’s work, double possibilities complicate her problem more than that of the boy. The girl must prepare for life work in the home, or life work outside the home, or a period of either followed by the other, or perhaps a combination of both during some part or even all of her mature life.
It is the part of wisdom for us to study vocations in their relation to homemaking. Will the girl who works in the factory, for instance, or who becomes a teacher or a lawyer or a physician, be as good a homemaker as she would have been had she chosen some other occupation? Will she perhaps be a better homemaker for her vocational experience? Or will her life in the industrial world unfit her for life in the home or turn her inclination away from the homemaker’s work?
These questions have somehow fallen into the background in the steady increase of girls as industrial workers. “Good money” has usually come first, and after that other considerations of social advantage, working conditions, or local demand. Marriage and motherhood are still recognized as normal conditions for most women, but we let their industrial life step in between their homemaking preparation in home and school, with the result that many lose physical fitness or mental aptitude or inclination for the home life. We treat marriage as an incident, even though it occurs often enough to be for most women the rule rather than the exception. At some time in their lives, 93.8 per cent of all women marry.
The first broad classification of vocations in their relation to homemaking is: (1) those which are favorable to homemaking, (2) those which are unfavorable, (3) those which are neutral.
It must, however, be recognized at the outset that few hard-and-fast lines between these groups can be drawn, and that “the personal equation” is as important a factor here as in most personal questions. It is true, nevertheless, that helpful deductions may be drawn from facts which it is possible to gather concerning the physical, mental, and moral results of pursuing certain occupations as a prelude to marriage and the making of a home.