I've been thinking a lot about the posts here and the frequent expectation that women, single or married, might compromise their careers to provide caregiving for elderly parents.
1. I've also been thinking how much women's roles have changed since WWII, and again in the late 70's and more so now that women have so many more opportunities. I wonder if during the Great Depression anyone would have anticipated that we might have a woman president or that women would be generals in the armed services.
We're caring for people who were raised during the Great Depression, WWII, and eras before women had the career potentials they have now. In some cases, women didn't anticipate marrying, moving away, moving abroad, or leaving their childhood areas.
I've been wondering how much these social changes have
(a) contributed, or enabled, the emotional conflict we women feel when our elders expect us to compromise our careers for caregiving;
(b) these changes could be viewed as enabling women to leverage their potential now to use new resources available to continue careers as well as caregive; and
(c) how men feel about these changes (broad question, yes).
2. On a related subject, I recall reading an interesting novel on Asian traditions which also addressed women being selected by their spouses with the intention that the wives would eventually have to care for the husband's elderly parents. How different that must be to the view we Western women have! And I'm wondering also how this will change now that Asian countries are becoming economic powerhouses and women are flocking to workplaces.
Thoughts, anyone? And for the record, I am totally in support of everyone having more career opportunities - but I don't think the social support network has caught up.