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Making Her Way
One of the most important elements in the happiness and success of the single woman is the work which she does for a living. Most American girls work before they are married but the role of work during this period has less importance than it has for the woman who is permanently single.
Saving Money
It was our impression that the single women with whom we talked had given less thought to saving money than to making it. This disposition is generally believed to be characteristic of our nation as a whole and we have no means of knowing whether single women are more prodigal spenders than other gainfully employed persons.
Getting Ahead
It is evident that the long period of waiting for marriage which in other eras inhibited so many women in their efforts to find suitable work or to prepare themselves for business and the professions is less common today. The average girl expects to work after leaving school and this occupational experience usually stands in her in good stead if she marries or if she remains single.
Pleasure in Work
Persons who have a form of employment which allows for the development of special skills or craftsmanship usually enjoy their work and take pride in it. Other women who are able to be immediately useful to others, such as nurses and social workers, possess a fortunate element in their work situation.
The Long View
The working career of many women with whom we talked had evolved without plan. They had accepted the first job which was offered after leaving school and the succeeding years of their working life had been determined by the circumstances of the moment.
The Single Woman and Children
The most generally known form of womanly interest in children is maternal affection which is the deep, intense, and protecting love which a mother may have for her child. It is often assumed that all women have this form of affection for children and that it is one of the distinguishing marks of a womanly character.
General Love of Children
The notion which some people have that single women are filled with a deep and intense maternal love of children which is constantly frustrated by their single state causes much pity to be wasted on them. As a rule a single woman's interest and affection in children remains general and diffused in nature.
Rearing Children
More single women rear children than is commonly supposed. In the course of our conversations with single women it was found that a considerable number had assumed a major share of the responsibility for the support and rearing of young children. Several women had assumed the responsibility of younger brothers and sisters upon the death or desertion of parents.
Adopting Children
Very few single women adopt children not of their kinship group. The reasons are varied. Very few employed women haye an income sufficient for the support of a child. Others have occupational duties so exacting in nature that they have neither the inclination nor the energy to assume additional obligations.
The Big Sister Role
Many single women who do not wish to assume a major responsibility for a child and who cannot do so are nevertheless able and willing to play a lesser role in being of service to a child or a young person. One single woman with whom we talked had paid the entire college expenses of three girls over the period of twenty years since she had begun to work.
Toil and Play
The single woman of mature years, engaged in business or to professions, usually lives in a furnished room or a small apartment. She works in an office, she rides to work on a street car or bus, and she eats in a restaurant or cafeteria. For her diversion she reads, she attends theaters, lectures and concerts.
Over-Concentration on Work
It seems clear that the streamlining of the city woman's existence to render her efficient on the job has reached the point of diminishing returns. While club living, restaurant eating, and other phases of the business and professional woman's streamlined life in the city relieves her of some of the impediments of life, it relieves her of some of its values, too, and some of its balance.
Lack of Visible Accomplishment
Much of the work that is done by women in clerical and professional pursuits does not allow even at best the satisfaction of visible accomplishment. A woman of intelligence may perform one small part of one small task the relation of which to a larger whole she has no means of learning.
Much of the emphasis placed upon normal living in recent years has been directed toward the development of sociability. It is assumed that an individual who is interested in others will forget about herself and her problems and that this in itself will serve as a factor in promotion of good mental health.
Achieving the Balance
Some women have refused to accept the limitations of an attenuated and over-intellectualized indoor existence and they have assumed for themselves the task of making a saner and more satisfying mode of life. They have been too shrewd to pay out money merely to discover themselves single but they have invested their savings in insurance and bonds, chuckled to themselves, and gone about the business of living.
The Joys of Toil
For women of the intelligentsia who have come back to it admit the values and satisfactions, physical, mental and spiritual, of working with their hands. Some of them do hard manual work and like it, and tasks, usually considered menial, are not despised.
The Joys of Puttering
This woman spoke of the joys of puttering and lamented the fact that the strenuous pace of modern working and living had deprived women of this form of leisurely and pleasant approach to their recreation. A number of small tasks which she found to do about the farmhouse she could perform as she liked and without regard to a time schedule.
Many women develop hobbies which allow for some diversion of a personal and individual nature. Needlework of various types comes into vogue at times and provides some sitting still work for those who like it. Stamp collecting proves amusing to persons of both high and low estate, as well as various other forms of collecting.
On Making a Garden
Gardening has been discovered by many single women as an avocation which grows in interest and in value. As housing developments have increased the opportunities for single women to escape from a too-gregarious existence an increasing number of them have found it possible to do some gardening.
The Learned Woman
Strong-minded women have always prized and sought a scholar's life and some of them have been able to attain it even under the most adverse circumstances. Mediaeval women of scholarly renown and personal force set themselves up as professors in some of the leading universities and drew large numbers of scholars to hear the fruits of their learning in an age when learning was rare even for men.
Both the scientific research worker and the creative artist require as their normal condition for effective work a large measure of solitude at intervals and the ability to enjoy and profit from solitary effort.
The Exceptional Woman
The prevailing cult of the normal or average individual and the normal or average adjustment makes it difficult for the person of exceptional ability to achieve a form of adjustment which is normal for him. The average group, which is the majority group, assumes the prerogatives of its position and attempts to impose its standards of life and adjustment upon all those in minority groups.
Prolongation of Schooling
It has become evident that the school experience had been over-developed and too prolonged for many women. While the woman, whose core of living is her interest in her professional development and her research and scholarly work, may find her greatest happiness in her work and the life which she builds about her work, she is, and will remain, the exceptional woman.
The Single Woman and Men
Men constitute for single women the other side of the ledger which seems in some way to have been omitted from their book of life. But the omission is more apparent than real. For single women are as dependent upon men for their livelihood, for their position in life, and for their security as are married women.
Getting on with Men
Work situations involving rivalry with men sometimes occur. With so many positions open to women today, however, rivalry situations between men and women are relatively infrequent and women usually avoid them whenever possible.
Friendship with Men
There are many popular misconceptions about mature single women and men. Some of these are that single women fear men and avoid them whenever possible, that they hate men, and that they do not know men or understand them. Others assume that they understand men all too well and that they are therefore dangerous.
The Aged Single Woman
Old age is a period of quiet happiness and peace for some single women. The possibilities of the end of life as an integral and vital part of life's span seemed to have been realized in the way in which a fortunate few were living the years of their old age.
Making Financial Provision
Since a disproportionate number of single women become dependent in their old age it is obvious that this aspect of their planning requires special attention.
Mental and Spiritual Provision
Facing alone an old age unprovided for is a situation which tries even the staunchest spirit. Many single women from the lower economic groups are confronted with it as they grow older and its effects upon them are seen in diminished physical and mental health.
Growing Interest In Dramatic Productions
The annals of amateur play production are crammed with weird stories of eruptions and disruptions.
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