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Does your marital status affect you professionally?

Updated: Jun 25

This is a question I have thought about alot recently , for no other reason, than the simple (and exciting) fact that I recently got married.



So, I decided to post some questionson my instagram page @motherarchitect to see if my readers had any thoughts or opinions on the topic. Before l share my personal take on the topic I will share some of the comments received.


  1. Does your marital status affect your professionalism?


"Not negatively"
"I would hope not"
"I feel more confident in marriage"


 

2. Do you perceive others as more professional when they are married?


"No"
"No, it's indifferent"
"As architects we usually married later, so no"


 

3. Has being a mum affected your professional development?


"Forces me to plan ahead"
"Super mum skills; time management and realistic goal setting"
"Career naturally comes second but I do think having children gives me drive to achieve"


 

4. Do you think being married helps you professionally?


"If anything it keeps you grounded. You can't just exhaust yourself in work"
"My husband is a great support, he would be as supportive if we weren't married though"
"It gives me confidence knowing he's always in my corner "



 

Being married can affect your professional life in different ways, depending on your personal circumstances, you and your partners expectations, and your career goals. For me being married means a stable home environment, a sense of security in my personal life, which in turn allows me to focus on my professional development. This may be a familiar feeling for some women. Marriage may provide them with emotional and financial support.


However, marriage may be detrimental to your career advancement depending on where your priorities lie. Becoming a wife, for some women, may mean increased domestic responsibilities or a career break to start a family.


It really is difficult to give a definitive answer as to how marriage affects professional women, as each case is unique to the couple.


There are studies that can provide some insights into the possible effects of marriage on women's careers.


One study from Sweden, which is considered one of the most gender-equal countries in the world, found that women who were promoted to top jobs in politics or business were more likely to divorce than their male counterparts¹. The researchers suggested that this was because of the mismatch of expectations and roles between the spouses, and the stress and friction that resulted from the changes in their economic and social status.


Another study from the US, which examined the careers of Harvard Business School graduates, found that women who prioritized their careers over their families were less likely to be married or have children than men who did the same². The study also found that women who expected their partners to share the household and childcare duties equally were often disappointed, as many men still assumed that their wives would take on the primary responsibility for the home and family.


It would be interesting to carry out a study on women in architecture. As architects we spent, what could be argued as our 'prime' years studying, usually settling down and starting families in our 30s. I wonder do we feel a pressure following gaining registration that 'the clock is ticking', and so we find ourselves on the first rung of the ladder, facing the chance of a career break.


On the other hand, some women have shared how marriage helped them to achieve their professional dreams, by giving them the confidence, motivation, and inspiration to pursue their passions. Let's face it, not all women want to choose between a career or a family. The reform of architectural education is welcomed, and begs the question if it will allow more women to climb higher in their careers if we can gain registration faster. It will be interesting to see how it develops.


If you plan to get married some day I would suggest the following:


There is no one size fits all solution for how you navigate balancing marriage and your career, it will come down to your relationship and your personal preferencess and goals.


  • Ensure you communicate openly and honestly with your partner about your needs and expectations


  • Seek and offer support to each other


  • Respect and appreciate each other's contributions and achievements


  • Challenge and potentially change the stereotypes and norms that limit our potential and choices, as women.


As a final thought... as women we are strong and motivated, we want to achieve all we can, and your success lies in how you measure it. Always remember, women can do the majority of things that men can do... but men can't measure up equally to us. Men can't give birth or provide a maternal bond to our children , and so we have one of, if not thee most important job in society, to nurture and grow the next generation.


If you made it this far, thank you for reading, and if you have any thoughts on this topic, you can comment below or contact me on my instagram page @motherarchitect.







(1) Why promoted women are more likely to divorce - BBC Worklife. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200121-why-promoted-women-are-more-likely-to-divorce.


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