Added: Marshae Galvez - Date: 26.01.2022 14:18 - Views: 48431 - Clicks: 9131
But the brutal demands of ambitious careers, the asymmetries of male-female relationships, and late-in-life child-bearing difficulties conspire against them. These realities take an obvious personal toll. But companies and the overall economy also pay a ificant price. Yet in —at the height of the U. How to avoid this waste of expensively educated talent? Business leaders and federal lawmakers can establish new policies that support working parents. And young women can be more deliberate about career and family choices.
Greater work-life balance is possible. These women need reduced-hour jobs, careers that can be interrupted—and the ability to use such benefits without suffering long-term career damage. To address this situation—and win the intense loyalty of their professional women—companies must make it easier for workers to get off conventional career ladders and to get back on.
Examples include:. Young women themselves must also actively expand their life choices. Most important, they cannot assume that, as they pursue their careers, their personal lives will simply fall into place—or that medical science will extend their childbearing years into their 40s. By being more deliberate about career and family trade-offs, they take a vital first step toward having it all—or at least having what men have. There is a secret out there—a painful, well-kept secret: At midlife, between a third and a half of all successful career women in the United States do not have children.
These women have not chosen to remain childless. The vast majority, in fact, yearn for children. Indeed, some have gone to extraordinary lengths to bring a baby into their lives. They subject themselves to complex medical procedures, shell out tens of thousands of dollars, and derail their careers—mostly to no avail, because these efforts come too late. The findings presented in this article are compelling in the way that brutal statistics can be. But for me, the most powerful evidence of a problem came from the personal stories I heard while conducting the research.
Going into the interviews, I had assumed that if accomplished women were childless, surely they had chosen to be. I was prepared to believe that the exhilaration and challenge of a megawatt career made it easy to opt out of motherhood.
Nothing could be further from the truth. When I surveyed these women about children, their sense of loss was palpable. Consider Lisa Polsky, who ed Morgan Stanley in as a managing director after successful stints at Citibank and Bankers Trust; she managed to make it on Wall Street, the ultimate bastion of male market power. But when we met inour conversation focused on what she had missed. Polsky was 44 then, and her childbearing days were over. Somehow I imagined that having was something I would get to in a year or so, after the next promotion, when I was more established.
Kate, 52, a member of the medical faculty at the University of Washington, felt the same way. And there is Stella Parsons, 45, who had just been offered a chairmanship at Ohio State University the day I interviewed her. But she waved my congratulations away. In Januaryin partnership with the market research company Harris Interactive and the National Parenting Association, I conducted a nationwide survey deed to explore the professional and private lives of highly educated, high-earning women.
I include a sample of high-potential women—highly qualified women who have left their careers, mainly for family reasons. In addition, I include a small sample of men. The findings are startling—and troubling. They make it clear that, for many women, the brutal demands of ambitious careers, the asymmetries of male-female relationships, and the difficulties of bearing children late in life conspire to crowd out the possibility of having children. In this article, I lay out the issues underlying this state of affairs, identify the heavy costs involved, and suggest some remedies, however preliminary and modest.
The facts and figures I relate are bleak. But I think that they can also be liberating, if they spur action. My hope is that this information will generate workplace policies that recognize the huge costs to businesses of losing highly educated women when they start their families.
I also hope that it will galvanize young women to make newly urgent demands of their partners, employers, and policy makers and thus create more generous life choices for themselves. The research shows that, generally speaking, the more successful the man, the more likely he will find a spouse and become a father. The opposite holds true for women, and the disparity is particularly striking among corporate ultra-achievers. These figures underscore the depth and scope of the persisting, painful inequities between the sexes. Women face all the challenges that men do in working long hours and withstanding the up-or-out pressures of high-altitude careers.
But they also face challenges all their own. She gave her take on these disturbing realities when I interviewed her for the study. They find oxygen in the form of younger, less driven women who will coddle their egos. Clearly, successful women professionals have slim pickings in the marriage department—particularly as they age. Professional men seeking to marry typically reach into a large pool of younger women, while professional women are limited to a shrinking pool of eligible peers.
According to U. Census Bureau data, at age 28 there are four college-educated, single men for every three college-educated, single women. A decade later, the situation is radically changed. At age 38, there is one man for every three women.
Now add to that scarcity of marriage candidates a scarcity of time to spend nurturing those relationships.
My survey show that women are dealing with long and lengthening workweeks. Among ultra-achievers, a quarter are away on business at least five nights every three months. According to research by sociologists Jerry Jacobs and Kathleen Gerson, the percentage of women working at least 50 hours a week is now higher in the United States than in any other country. Think of what a hour week means in terms of work-life balance.
If you assume an hour lunch and a minute round-trip commute the national averagethe workday stretches to almost 13 hours. Take Sue Palmer, 49, managing director of Grant Thornton, the London-based global ing firm, and the only woman on its management committee. The reasons for this go back to when Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which institutionalized the hour work-week and required employers to pay overtime for additional hours worked. One provision, however, exempted managers and professionals and still does. For those workers, extra hours carry no marginal costs to employers.
Responding were 1, high-achieving career women ages 28 to 55; high-achieving, noncareer women ages 28 to 55; and high-achieving men ages 28 to The group of ultra-achieving men was not large enough to disaggregate. The sample was drawn from the Harris Poll on-line database of cooperative respondents.
Corporate women were defined as working in companies with more than 5, employees. The two charts below contain some of the startling—and sobering—findings. Women pay an even greater price for those long hours because the early years of career building overlap—almost perfectly—the prime years of childbearing. As policy analyst Nancy Rankin points out, the career highway has all kinds of off-ramps but few on-ramps.
In fact, the persistent wage gap between men and women is due mainly to the penalties women incur when they interrupt their careers to have children. In a recent study, economists Susan Harkness and Jane Waldfogel compared that wage gap across seven industrialized countries and found it was particularly wide in the United States. These days, only a small portion of this wage gap can be attributed to discrimination getting paid less for doing the same job or being denied access to jobs, education, or capital based on sex.
It is because it has failed to develop policies—in the workplace and in society as a whole—that support working mothers. Going back to the mid-nineteenth century, feminists in this country have channeled much of their energy into the struggle to win formal equality with men. More recently, the National Organization for Women has spent 35 years fighting for a wide array of equal rights, ranging from educational and job opportunities to equal pay and access to credit. The idea is that once all the legislation that discriminates against women is dismantled, the playing field becomes level and women can assume a free and equal place in society by simply cloning the male competitive model.
In Europe, various groups of social feminists have viewed the problem for women quite differently. Rather, it is her dual burden—taking care of a home and family as well as holding down a job—that le to her second-class status. Yes, these percentages have grown over the years—but not much. Thirty-nine percent of ultra-achieving women also feel this way, despite the fact that half of them are married to men who earn less than they do.
So this is the difficult position in which women find themselves. Young women are told that a serious person needs to commit to her career in her 20s and devote all her energies to her job for at least ten years if she is to be successful. Media hype about advances in reproductive science only exacerbates the problem, giving women the illusion that they can delay childbearing until their careers are well established. But sadly, new reproductive technologies have not solved fertility problems for older women.
This kind of information is hard to come by because the infertility industry in this country likes to tout the good news—with dire consequences. Too many career women put their private lives on the back burner, assuming that children will eventually happen for them courtesy of high-tech reproduction—only to discover disappointment and failure. They were quite prepared to shoulder more than their fair share of the work involved in having both career and family. At the end of the day, women simply want the choices in love and work that men take for granted.
Instead, they operate in a society where motherhood carries enormous economic penalties.Any woman out there want
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