Brace yourself for this article. I hope you’ve got a strong drink next to you or a stiff one… And no, I do not recommend alcohol. Just make sure you got a drink with you (say green tea with some calming effects, for example) when you read this article. Caution… I warned you.
This article was already imprinted in my mind so many times I was faced with an incident. I wish I had a blog then. You know I didn’t think I was going to be a writer or even have a blog. Lucky, I didn’t let the gifts I was born with and maybe destined to have not withered away. It is and was a price worth paying for every experience I’ve had in life (perhaps I didn’t think that at the moment), but I am glad I went in and explored it even though I was a single woman who juggled a lot.
Now bear in mind single women who are not so well educated get replaced easily in the workplace, get different treatment compared to the single women who are educated and or might even be living abroad.
The single woman: scenario 1: The workplace – A single woman, for example, working as a cashier in P-pay or a small shop (a made-up name for a supermarket in the UK, USA, or any first world country) faces the following if she’s a University graduate.
- The possibility of a better position so that she doesn’t leave the business as this job is replaceable and there is a high turnover of employees every year at P-pay because people move onto better things. There are always jobs. She gets a post as a Manager straight away with a good salary if that is what she really wants. This woman is treated with more respect due to her education and even her status as a Manager, but there will some bitterness with other women who have been working there longer.
The single woman: scenario 2: The Workplace
The single woman, for example, working as a cashier in P-pay (a made-up name for a supermarket in a third world country) or a small shop if she doesn’t have a good education.
- A single woman coming in as a cashier in P-pay (a made-up name for a supermarket in a third world country) will have to put up with unfair treatment because she can be replaced in a second because of the number of unemployed people in that country.
- The single woman in P-pay (a made-up name for a supermarket in USA, UK or any first world country) who has been working at P-pay for years is likely to get a status and respect for her service there for many years of loyalty. (Not much empathy is given to women with kids as they’re sometimes late for work or have emergencies. A woman that is married or married with children enters a new job stands less chances of getting a better post because of her responsibilities be it, kids or husband)
- The single woman in P-pay (a made-up name for a supermarket in third world countries) will be treated unfairly and even disrespected at her job if she has been working there for years. This implies that she has no choice but to accept that job, and there is nothing better that she can do and get better pay for. (This point is even valid for married women or women who have kids. In third world countries women will also stay in unhappy marriages because of the unemployment rate and the question around how will she manage as a single working woman with kids?)
- For the above reason, the single woman’s salary won’t be increased.
- The single woman is often paid less because in the employers’ eyes; she’s got fewer responsibilities. Can you imagine the number of employers who think like this? When a woman works for them at the age of 21 and how this follows her through her whole working life when building a life is exactly what she’s trying to build; like everyone else. How is she supposed to save up for a house if this is how employers think?
- The single woman is the one who has to be flexible because the married women and women with kids have more responsibilities. The single woman is expected to do a lot more “favours,” and even extra work or she will be looked at unfavourably by what would be the majority who are married, hence why the single woman is given the worst shifts.
- The single woman who works at P-pay for years isn’t recognised for her loyalty, trains others who then get a favoured promotion whom she has to report to because she’s not displaying the so-called “attitude or requirement” of someone who wants to have a better role or is ambitious. What one company sees as leadership another company might not see as leadership. Dependent on this factor, a woman will either be disempowered, which will leave her in that post for many years or be empowered to look for something better. In third world countries disempowering for cheap labour is an illness.
- The employer is doing her a favour and not they’re doing each other a favour (This happens a lot more in third world countries).
The single woman: scenario 2: The educated woman and the educated woman in a foreign country
- A young woman coming from a country where the currency is low is offered a good position say in a first world country, and she’s 21 years old but is offered less money than the post says. The employer thinks this, “What is she going to do with the amount of money they’d pay her if they pay her the amount they’d pay a manager from their own country?” The assumption is that the young woman’s responsibilities are less because she’s single and travelled from overseas on her own. If the employers took the time to find out why she came to work abroad, how hard she’s worked and struggled before moving abroad that makes her so responsible for having the experience of running a business the way a 25-year-old or 30 year old could run it at her age which is 21. Maybe they’d pay her what the post was actually worth. Do these people not think that one person away from their family is planning to settle down in their country or where they came from with no other help whatsoever? To buy a house in a first world country or third world country isn’t as cheap as they think that this woman who is 21 left her country because of some very significant reasons and needs to have money to make a proper foundation to have strong roots? Employers don’t care, they exploit and dispose of the people at the end of their visa or contract if they can be replaced by another person who can be easily exploited and disposed of.
- The young people are jealous of a woman’s experience and so are the old.
- The young woman is thought of as “She has no life because everyone else has a family and kids.” No one thinks that she is trying to do just that but is not given a chance to build her own life so she sells her time so that others can have a house, family, kids and a husband. Eventually, this makes single women leave a company because they’re expected to stay single all their life and work this way for a company right, especially if she is a single foreign woman?
- Or the other way round, the married ones are jealous of the life of the single one with the assumption that they have everything, freedom and more and get to keep their whole pay cheque for them. What a myth!
- The excuses run out why they’re paying you less eventually. It starts with the standards in your country being low, and you have a lot to learn. If that isn’t an excuse to pay you less, then it’s the education, and if that isn’t the reason to pay you less, then you’re not qualified enough. The excuses eventually get tiring; you’re not experienced enough, then you’re not experienced in this niche and it goes on until a woman remains single until she’s driven out of her job because of jealous male and female employees who see her potential even though she uses her time to excel thinking she’s not good enough for the job when the truth is, she’ll never be good enough. Single women get tired of fighting at some point that the battle to receive their commission earned at one job is the same in every job. As a single foreign woman, you are extremely vulnerable.
- She has to promise in advance that she will not take off because another colleague has pre-booked to go to Australia, for example, to see his family. Single women (there are many hard working single women out there I am not saying all are like the ones that I mention in this example) come in early to work. They’re not getting paid to come in say 20 minutes early, and they know this. They do it so that they can be organised. They are expected to give others who have children and husbands leeway, and if she’s from abroad, this expectation is higher. If there is a family emergency and she can’t go home (overseas to her own country) to see her family because two month’s ago she promised her boss that she wouldn’t be taking holidays during that time so that another colleague can go on holiday at that time.
- Being single you have a bit more time, whether you single by choice or not; you can pursue the career you want etc. Women who are married with kids and husbands and even men really want you out for your singlehood and again, might I stress, it may not even be your choice but, you’re condemned for it.
- The more qualifications, looks, skills, time to get a better career and study for it at the job, the more reliable you are, determined, motivated, younger, experienced the more people pile up together to drive you out or leave you without the information you need to do your job, and these people are men and women. So you better play small because how many times this has that happened already?
Not related to career
- Difficulty making friends and being invited out because the other women are scared their husbands will run after you even though you have very high integrity at ignoring their husbands and not playing their chess game.
- You’re likely not to get any help in the tough times because you look so tough and have to no choice but to be tough as a single woman that people think you’re alright after all everyone seems to think you are a free lady with no responsibilities.
- A single woman is likely to be taken advantage of when she buys a car, signs a contract, or meets a man for business because she has no ring or is not accompanied by her husband or partner. Therefore single women can’t show vulnerability without being taken advantage of.
The truth is that there is a lot of responsibilities sitting on a single women’s head because of the above challenges happening around the world as you see in all of the points above.
Point number 8 is one big serious problem.
How is a single woman supposed to get a life if no one lets her…?
Can you not see how most employers think the same from the above article all around the world which is why single women got it really hard?
There are a lot of woman who have no choice but to become self-employed because of this vicious circle.
Do you agree or disagree with the point in this article? Do comment, it would be good to hear your experience or perspective.
T. Dench Patel