Femininity and the Professional Sphere

As a young woman who has had a secular education, I've heard my fair share about the so-called "feminism" movement.

I never claim to be a feminist, but in fact, feminine.

Nevertheless, it still grates me when I read an ultra-conservative article about femininity (say for example, one about how women shouldn't be soldiers) and they make heavy-handed arguments that a woman's role is strictly domestic.

I should make very clear that I don't believe married women with children really should be working unless it is under dire financial circumstances. Their primary focus should be the home and family, because that's what they chose as their vocation.

I firmly believe, however, that all single women (unless they be full-time housekeepers for family) and new brides/older wives with grown children should at least consider at least part-time if not full time work. Especially in our rather unsustainable economy....

Now, I'm not going to get into the argument of natural talent vs. natural inclination. That is a very sticky argument that is difficult to objectify without dipping into liberal ideology. Instead, I'm going to focus my argument on the role of women in the professional sphere - using the following quote from St. Edith Stein as my main "thesis":

There are several professions that have typically been dominated by females, including food service, textiles, retail, clerical work (i.e. secretary, stenographer), nursing, teaching, event planning (i.e weddings, etc.), home and fashion designers, florists, cleaners, entertainment....as well as a myriad of other careers that are escaping my mind right now.

Occupations such as police, military, heavy industry, etc. are much more suited to men than they are to women for a variety of credible reasons. In a lot of these types of jobs, the bodily danger involved and the physical strength that is needed make it doubly dangerous for a woman to take such work.

But....does that mean that women should be excluded from these professions entirely?

Not necessarily.

Let me use the police force as an example. When people think of the police, they automatically think a very manly man going bravely into a dangerous situation to extract a dangerous criminal from hurting civilians.

But that's not everything that a cop does....anyone who has seen reality-based TV shows like Adam-12 will know that. So, what is the woman's place in the police force?

It is the support roles, which include (but are not limited to):

1. Female prison wardens. This is probably more appropriate back in the olden days when prisons were according to sex, but I think it's still accurate. Having a female warden better preserves the dignity of the female prisoner and could lead them to rehabilitation. Yet, these girls still must be tough and strong - after all, we are dealing with female criminals here. (yikes)

2. Juvenile workers. Women understand children more than men do, let's be honest. We know how to calm a child down, take care of an abandoned baby, and deal with misbehaviors - leaving the men free to go after the perpetrator who caused the problem in the first place.

3. Clerical work. For crying out loud, do y'all know just how much paperwork and legalities that goes along any legal profession?? Not to mention the eensie weensie details that muss everything. Being detailed-oriented, females are much more capable of keeping everything straight.

In each of those examples, specific talents held by women are in demand. They also cultivate the nurturing, maternal side of womanhood. They, as well as countless other examples in similar industries, prove that women do have a place even in the hardest of masculine industries.

God, in His Infinite Wisdom, knew that men couldn't survive without a helpmate. When women take these complimentary roles in the professional sphere, we are acting as helpmates to our professional men. And it is a part of femininity that isn't explored quite enough....

What do you think about the idea of women working? Is the vocation of "singlehood" not discussed enough? Please, share your thoughts!  

In Corde Mariae,


  1. Amazing post as usual, Catherine! You made soooo many good points here! Femininity is a true blessing!

  2. Yessss! I pretty much was just going to say what Lacy did up there, so I’ll leave it at that!

  3. Lovely post! Have you ever heard of Christopher Yuan? He has some amazing things to say about singlehood. I think you'd really enjoy it all. And yes, I agree that motherhood is a vocation, and when you aren't a mother you should be doing something with your time. Never waster away because "I'm just a woman." Why? Because we were created for a reason, not for a single season :)


    1. Thank you Keturah!
      No, I've never heard of Christopher Yuan - I'll have to look into some of his stuff. And I couldn't agree more with the phrase "never waste away because I'm just a woman" :).

  4. Hi Catherine,
    I enjoyed reading your post! I agree with you that it is acceptable for women to work in the professional field. And, like you said, mothers should definitely stay at home with their children.

    In my humble opinion, though, I do think that when a woman gets married she (most of the time) should stay at home to be a homemaker for her husband. That is what women have done throughout history. (If there are financial problems, though, that is certainly an exception.) I remember when my close friend's sister got married and she quit her job to take care of the home and her husband. I thought that was really neat. He obviously did not want the world to think that he could not support a wife. I just think that was such a manly and noble thing to do.

    Also, in regards to older mothers whose children are all grown, it seems that they, too, ought to be respected enough by their husbands to be allowed to remain as homemakers. It is such an honorable role. Besides, she can help take care of the grandchildren easier. :)

    Honestly, I really don't feel that single women should be obligated to contribute to society in the professional sphere because, really, they were not made to work out in the world (although their inclinations to care for others can help when single women have to work jobs such as nurses, wardens, etc.). However, single women are not going to be able to live very well without a job; thus, single women working is a necessity which is not bad. (As a college student, I have a part-time job.) Like you said, many roles seem to be made for women, such as female wardens or caretakers of abused children (I also love watching Adam-12!).

    Women simply are made to care of people and fit well into the role of homemakers. It doesn't seem right to take away these natural inclinations from newly-weds and older women.

    Sorry that the above is so long. I don't mean to sound "against" what you wrote. I just do enjoy discussing such topics and hearing about everyone else's ideas. Keep up the good work, Catherine!



    1. ZELIE!!!! *hugs* I haven't seen you in such a while!!

      I can definitely understand your points - in fact, I agree with a lot of them. I humbly admit, I wasn't very clear - I don't believe senior women or new brides should take full-time work because I definitely agree that they still have an obligation to their household and should remain there if possible.

      The main reason I say that brides and older women should at least consider part time work is to help their husbands alleviate some of the crushing debt that many of those households are under. For example, I don't believe that it's fair that a husband pays for his wife's student loans. I think that a woman should make an effort to pay it off herself either before she gets married, and if her husband's money is to be used to pay it off, that she makes every dollar count by scrimping until it's paid. And, to be quite honest, I firmly believe that if a woman can work from home, that would be even better!

      I also firmly believe that a wife shouldn't earn more than the husband, nor be his replacement in the workforce.

      As a single woman working myself, I too get that "out-of-place" feeling. A lot of times, I'm pining for domestic work or my writing desk when I should be milking. But, unfortunately, I'll soon be forced to pay for my own insurance as well as take the rest of my bills off of my parents wallets. It's not a great position to be in.

      Don't worry about length and I wasn't offended in the least - your points were super important to make, and I appreciate them very very much. I will admit, I didn't grow up in a traditionally minded household (my mother is a homemaker, but my grandmothers worked until well into middle age)...which probably has a big influence on my rather "controversial" take on these sorts of issues.

      God bless you!

      Catherine <3

  5. "I also firmly believe that a wife shouldn't earn more than the husband"

    I'm just wondering why you think this?


    1. Excellent question, Mia!

      Personally, I think a husband would feel cheated and that his efforts wouldn't mean much if his wife earned more than he. Say for example that a man went out hunting all day in a hot forest stalking a deer. He brings back the deer in triumph - he knows that it will feed his family for days. But when he gets back, he finds that his wife brought back an elk, two ducks and maybe a rabbit or two with seemingly little effort. Hardly seems fair to the poor hunter, doesn't it? And is it really necessary to get all that meat at once?

      In the natural hierarchy of things, the man is the "breadwinner". In olden times, he would be the first one out to hunt or farm, which would put food on the table. In modern times, this translates to earning money. He was created to be not just the protector, but the provider.

      If his wife is, in a sense, beating him at his own game....his self confidence as a man can't be that high. Where would his place be in the marriage?

      This is not to say that I believe that women and men shouldn't be paid equally for the same position. That is simply unjust. After all, women and men are quite capable of doing most tasks equally and the pay scale should be based more on merit.

      These sort of natural or emotional things are not easy to explain and would probably take a whole another post. But does this help at all?


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