On the surface, women who have careers seem to have it all together. Many of them are married, have children, and are successful in their full-time jobs. They manage their households, are involved in their communities, and even find time for friends and family. They genuinely seem to have it all and can do anything. So why are so many career women prone to addiction?
Gender Inequality and Discrimination in the Workplace
Women who have careers may seem to have it all, but their status may have come at a price. Most women have faced tremendous gender inequality, especially when it comes to leadership in the workplace. There always seem to be plenty of jobs for secretaries, clerks, and entry-level positions, but the higher up in the chain of command, the fewer women there are, and that is not coincidental.
Despite laws passed and awareness raised, women still face discrimination in the workplace in unequal pay, gender bias, comments demeaning to women, other forms of sexual harassment, and having their work discounted or discredited. These challenges place additional burdens on females and make the workplace inequitable for men and women.
How Cultural Stereotypes and Beliefs Impact Working Women
Many women come from cultures that do not support them working outside of the home. Some cultures discourage females from even seeking education, or at least higher education. These are significant barriers for women who want to have careers but do not wish to challenge cultural, familial, or societal values.
Then there are stereotypes surrounding the types of jobs women are and are not allowed to have. This idea of gender segregation is common in many industries, making it difficult for women to access the kinds of jobs and careers they want to have or limiting how far they can advance in their chosen careers. Women face limitations from so many different sources in the workplace.
The Pressures of the Working Mom
Whether it is because of stereotypes about motherhood, cultural demands that prioritize a father’s career ahead of the mother’s, or the significantly higher number of single working mothers, the demands on working moms seem to be more commonplace than on working fathers. Schools always seem to call the mothers first when there is a problem, and they are typically the ones that children require to be there when there is a school performance, meeting, or when they are in trouble.
Mothers always seem to be the ones who have to take time off to go to the doctor’s appointments or make arrangements when the child is sick or the daycare cancels. Mothers are typically making breakfast, packing lunches, and juggling carpools before their workday even begins. They are often responsible for making sure dinner is on the table and homework gets done as soon as they walk in the door. They rarely have a chance to breathe, let alone take time for themselves.
Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Other Career Challenges
In addition to the stressors of managing the home and children, women’s bodies can also stand in the way of their careers. Should they choose to have a child, they risk missing out on projects or promotions or possibly even losing their positions while they are out on maternity leave.
Breastfeeding presents another set of challenges because offices rarely provide the privacy or storage necessary, and meeting schedules and work assignments do not usually allow for the time it takes to pump throughout the day. Thus, a woman must make difficult decisions between her family, her body, and her career that men never even have to consider.
When Coping Turns to Addiction
Working moms may seem like they have it all together, but in reality, they are probably the closest to breaking down due to the heavy amount of pressure coming from so many different directions. As a result, many women turn to substances to help them cope with this stress. These substances only provide temporary relief, if any, and more and more become required to give the same initial relief. At this point, career women often find themselves addicted to whatever is seemingly keeping them afloat.
The woman who seems to have it all risks losing it because she tries desperately to find a way to cope with all of the pressure. If this is you, finding help for addiction as soon as possible helps you keep your world from crumbling all around you. You have fought too hard for too long, and you stand to lose too much to wait.
Why are career women prone to addiction? They have intense pressures from cultural stereotypes, gender inequality, discrimination, and family demands. Even their bodies are not necessarily always their own, and they must make personal sacrifices every day to be able to manage home, family, and career. Sometimes, the pressures of coping with so much stress all the time can lead to addiction. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women is a treatment program designed to meet the needs of women in all walks of life. We offer detox and residential treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders for women in Costa Mesa, California. Our trauma-informed care and evidence-based practices provide safety in a small, intimate, peaceful environment for a successful recovery. We believe you already have the tools inside you to achieve sobriety. Allow us to help you use them. Contact us today at (714) 581-3974 to begin your recovery journey.