New Zealand women are struggling with self-esteem and managing their work-life balance says the founder of the New Zealand Women's Conference, Andrea Stewart.
Kiwi men were able to negotiate their work-life balance better than females, Stewart said – a claim supported by 72 per cent of Sunday Star-Times readers.
Many readers felt that while women were more assertive about their careers, they were still expected to oversee the running of the household.
"A lot of men my age – in spite of being brought up in the fifties and sixties when women were discovering their right to live lives the way they wanted to – still expect their wives to do most of the housework," said one reader.
Another wrote: "Some things are very slow to change. A woman is still judged on her housewifeliness as well as her career."
However, many female readers felt they had less spare time than their partners but chose to prioritise house cleanliness over relaxation. "He will clean, but his standards are different to mine, he doesn't 'see' dust in the corners, etc.
"If I adjusted my desire/expectations of the home to my husband's it would be different but because I choose not to, I have far less 'spare' time than he does."
The minority of people who did not agree with Stewart felt everybody struggled with a work-life balance.
"Work/life balance is a luxury that a lot of humans don't have. It's not so much a gender issue as a class issue," one said.
One witty reader thought a functioning household should use each gender's natural strengths. "Each gender has its own strengths in its own areas. For example, my wife can do the washing and ironing far quicker than I can hence she completes these tasks more efficiently than I.
"Comparatively, I can surf the MySky evening programmes much more efficiently than her and decide in a quicker time frame what programmes we will watch. Our work-life balance is kept in check much more efficiently by both of us working to our personal strengths."
The New Zealand Women's Conference, held yesterday in Wellington, is a day designed for Kiwi women to meet professional speakers specialising in business, psychology, sport, lifestyle and design.
One of the most popular speakers over the past two years it has been held has been clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo.
Her seminar, titled "Love yourself (In case your friends turn out to be bitches)", was a guide to building the mental toughness required to conquer low self-esteem, Stewart said.
"I think Kiwi women really knock themselves down. We set ourselves such high goals and if we don't get them done we don't just let it go.
"Blokes are different like that. They take a moment, think 'oh well, I'll do that tomorrow'. We need to find a way to pick ourselves up off the floor."
Kiwi men were also able to separate the different elements of their lives, she said.
"They go to work and they somehow switch off. It's something we need to learn."
- © Fairfax NZ News