I’m confused at how many Mormon women are working outside the home. Have the counsels changed? Are the General Authorities now encouraging this? It seems like women who work outside the home are extremely sensitive when questioned about their choices especially if they have children at home.
I think that it is generally recognized that the mother’s primary responsibility is to her children and to the maintenance of the home. Traditionally, the mother maintained the home and the father earned the living. However, economic conditions have changed so much that it is very difficult to support a family and home on a single income. Therefore, many wives and mothers are obligated to help bring in needed income. This has inevitably led to the concept of women choosing a professional carrier over having children. That seems to be a misplaced priority.
The counsel from Mormon Church authorities today recognized the frequent need for women to work outside the home, but maintains the counsel of the priority of the home as the woman’s number one responsibility. Here is a statement from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism on the subject—
“The Church does not oppose women working outside the home per se, and recognizes the contributions that they make in government, professions, business, and in creative fields. Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve explained that “a woman should feel free to go into the marketplace and into community service on a paid or volunteer basis if she so desires when her home and family circumstances allow her to do so without impairment to them” (Ashton, p. 93). It is understood that some mothers are required to work for the support of their children, but it is hoped that whenever possible, mothers with children in the home will make home their priority career” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, New York: Macmillan, 1992, p.1577).