The professional female interview will be taken from a woman who is my friend and who kindly agreed to answer all the questions I had during the coffee break at her workplace. This woman’s name is Irene, and she has been my mother’s closest friend ever since college. They used to take several classes together, shared the dormitory room and their relationship really transitioned from friendship to being true soul mates. When my mother got married and gave birth to me, Irene often helped with the babysitting and took part in my upbringing and education. So, this is a person I know very well and I expected her to answer my questions freely and without hesitation.
Irene is 44 years old, she’s been working as a government official for the last 21 year, and currently, she is the head of the financial department in the local city executive administration. She is married and has two beautiful children. She does not earn much, but for her, the stability of the job, the secure feeling that she will not lose her job in a moment of recession happens is what attracts her to the government service. Her job is a typical nine-to-five process, and most of her colleagues and counterparts have also worked at that job since graduating from college, so the atmosphere in their office is somewhat dull, but at the same time very casual, everyone is really used to seeing all the same faces every day. Irene does lots of paperwork and lots of planning, and her responsibility is to make sure every one of her subordinates does his work properly.
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However, when Irene comes home to her husband and children, she takes off the mask of a person in charge and turns into a simple woman who spends time with her family, listens to their stories, tries to give good advice, cooks an amazing meal per four people in just an hour and does everything possible in order to make the house a home for the members of her family. Irene is firmly convinced that nothing is more important for a woman that her family. Work is the second priority for her, but Irene sees the right to work and vote that women finally gained not so long ago as a pleasant bonus to the family life. She thinks that a right to vote and to have an official job is a benefit that needs to be cherished and respected and not taken for granted.
Irene is also a member of the World Peace Movement, or, more correctly, their branch they have in her neighborhood. The World Peace Movement was always associated with the feminist initiative. Women’s role in this movement was very significant due to numerous feminists groups, which were lucky to create the powerful value system that was based on ethics and caring for women and the entire society. Irene is a really passionate defender of the idea of universal peace and family values; she can spend hours talking about that and she spends much of her leisure time with the activists of the movement. Perhaps, she told me, the way they spend their free time is not a classical party routine, but they gather in different interesting and relaxing venues, discuss the relevant questions and the urgent issues, and afterward they might watch a movie or listen to some music together.
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When one asks Irene about the essence of what they do, she can go on speaking for hours. All the efforts and aims of Peace Movement were closely linked to women’s personal intentions to fight violence and oppression against women and promote motherhood and citizenship rights. The identity of woman was always affected by economic, labor, family and health care institutions in all world countries. Talking about World Peace Movement, we should mention that women were at the very heart of it. Moreover, the interpretation of Peace Movement was mostly made by women, who explained that peace was deeply rooted in nature and that essence of life and survival were essentially female attributes. The reason for this active movement was that women were regarded to be the weaker sex and, respectively, their rights were violated. Basically, World Peace Movement was at work throughout nineteenth and twentieth century under the motto to find the peaceful solution to all global problems of humanity. Women were deadly against wars, so they were aimed at establishing the non-violent approach towards conflicts. They were even successful to oppose the budget increases in deployment of new weapons and military expenditures more frequently than men (Brock-Utne, 1989). Apart from that, human aggression is directly connected with men, but not women. Additionally, women are a more sensitive sex and they want to preserve their motherhood roles, leaving their sons and husbands out of the war. Even Mahatma Gandhi said, “Peace starts in the minds of women” (Gandhi, 1992).
Irene’s family and friends are sure that if there is such thing as a perfect wife, then she is a perfect example of it. She manages to keep the delicate balance between her own social ambitions and needs, and the desires of her family members. Perhaps, she is so good at arranging her life thanks to her upbringing. In her family, girls were taught never to forget the initial female responsibility and right to run the household and make the house a place where the children and the husband can find shelter, reconciliation and peace of mind.
Leisure time that Irene spends is, of course, a little bit different from the pastimes her mother and grandmother used to have. The latter spent their free time in embroidery, sewing, reading books and having lengthy conversations with each other, which primarily happened in the evening or whenever an hour free from the household errands. Now, Irene spends quality time with her friends at coffee breaks and evenings with her family. During weekends, she often spends her time outdoors in large companies of people, which usually include her husband. The good thing that allows her to lead such an intense social life without harm to her personal life is that her husband and she share the same friend circle, and also many of Irene’s separate friends are her colleagues, so she can hang out with them during breaks and after work. She can combine the work and the social life quite successfully.
During her leisure time, she likes going to the cinema or to the theatre. She’s a big fan of visual arts and never misses a premiere or a long awaited play or movie. She often brings her husband or her friends with her for the company. In general, all her pastime is somehow connected to arts, because she’s not very fond of sports. The activities she gets engaged into are mostly indoors.
The restraints she commonly faces when planning her leisure time are all due to the lack of time. As Irene said, there are only twenty-four hours in a day, and it is almost impossible to do everything you want and still get a decent night’s rest. The sleep is what Irene often sacrifices partly to catch up with everything interesting in her life. The same thing happened in her family when she grew up. It was a common thing for a woman to sacrifice part of her time she would normally use to sleep.
In Irene’s opinion, in future, the role of women in recreation and entertainment will become more diverse. Women will take up new and exciting forms of leisure, they will get better at non-traditional types of past time like extreme sports, and they perhaps will start spending more money for that. However, the time management problem will remain nevertheless, and women will still have to find opportunities to spend time doing their hobbies without harming their family life.
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