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May 27, 1988 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I BUSINESS

Dive Into Summer

Join the JCC
Summer Swim Club

Jewish Community Lacks
Support For Women

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May 30 - September 4, 1988

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. Jewish Community Center
6600 West Maple Road
West Bloomfield, Michigan 48322
661-1000, ext. 265, 266

*must be paid in full in advance

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40

FRIDAY. MAY 27. 1988

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majority of Jewish
women have man-
aged to combine mar-
riage and motherhood with
successful careers, but more
than half say that the Jewish
community is not supportive
of women juggling such
multiple roles, according to a
recent survey in Lilith
magazine.
The study, co-sponsored by
the magazine and the
American Jewish Committee,
was conducted in 1987 by
Rela Geffen Monson, a
sociology professor at Gratz
College of Philadelphia.
were
Questionnaires
distributed to 4,172 Jewish
career women, and 944 were
returned, an overall return of
about 18 percent, according to
the study.
Of the 922 respondents who
reported their current
marital status, 34 percent
said they were single, 18 per-
cent never married and 16
percent formerly married.
Three-fourths of the formerly
married had been divorced
and the rest were equally
divided between separated
and widowed.
Twenty-five percent of the
respondents were over 50; 25
percent were between 40 and
50; and about a third were
between 30 and 40. Ninety
percent had some college
education and 60 percent
completed graduate school.
A "sense of alienation"
relative to the Jewish com-
munity and a desire for sup-
port services were expressed
by all of the respondents,
regardless of age or marital
status, according to Lilith.
The sociologist said in the
article that, unlike their non-
Jewish counterparts, the
working women in her study
"have not avoided childbear-
ing." The result is that these
women have become "embed-
ded in a 'superwoman' syn-
drome, daily juggling multi-
ple role obligations as wives,
mothers and business-
women!'
Monson said an alternative
is a "staggering" of potential-
ly conflicting roles. One such
alternative is marrying and
raising a family before enter-
ing the work force. Postponing
marriage and childbearing
while pursuing career goals is
a second option. But Monson
pointed to recent studies in-
dicating that marriage defer-
red "is translating into mar-
riage foregone?'

About three-fourths of the
respondents who were mar-
ried indicated their husbands
were "very supportive" of
their wives' efforts to fill
multiple roles, and that "this
strong tradition of spousal
support has made it easier for
Jewish women to counter the
myth that a successful career
woman must be single, di-
vorced or childless," a belief
widely held in the general
population.
Monson contended that the
rise in the number of single
parent and dual-career
families had created a new
need for a comprehensive sup-
port system, which she called
"a serious challenge" to the
Jewish community. She told
Wise that "these families
can't make it unless there is
a third person helping," such
as "an institutional person (as
in a day care center), a
member of the extended fami-
ly (such as a grandparent) or
someone the family pays."
She urged Women's League
members to join with other
Jewish community leaders or
federation agencies to form
coalitions to create the need-
ed programs. She said "you
must always be there,
pushing for flextime, day care
centers, Jewish nanny ser-
vices, and transportation to
day school and after-school
religious schools?'
She attributed the rise in
, popularity of the Jewish day
school movement "to the
needs of dual-career families,
as well as divorced and single
parents."
Monson warned that child
care problems become more
pronounced during after-
school hours. While many
Jewish centers offer after-
school activities for the
children, transportation- to
such programs or to afternoon
religious schools "is usually
non-existent."
She added that because
parents are not available to
car pool and provide the need-
ed transportation, sisterhoods
and synagogues "will have to
find ways to meet the need if
these programs are to remain
viable."
Single women were
reported to be "particularly
bitter," and feeling "short
changed" in their relation-
ships with the organized
Jewish community. Such
women feel that the com-
munity wants their talents
but does nothing to make
them feel comfortable or to
find mates.
"Most of these women are

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