In the newest segment of the Broad Experience, a show on women, workplace, and success, Ashley Milne-Tyte , a regular contributor to Femme-O-Nomics, leans in.
Like many others, we support each other professionally and take nearly equal care of the kids, but those competing demands can squeeze a relationship out. What’s left can feel like a strangely polyamorous relationship between a couple and their smartphones. It’s something to think about next time you sneak a peak at your BlackBerry during dinner. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg once famously said, “the most important career choice is who you marry.” That sentiment superficially glosses over the thousands of decisions a couple makes throughout their lives that impact not only their career but also their relationship.
Despite the fact that the recession ended in June 2009, employment in the childcare industry still isn’t looking up, Michelle Jamrisko of Bloomberg writes. And women, who occupy 9 out of 10 positions in the industry, are feeling the crunch. The employment rate in the sector has fallen to 1.8 percent—that’s in the same level as it was five years ago—even if total U.S. payrolls have risen to 2.1 percent.
The amount of time an entrepreneur puts into his/her business is directly correlated with the amount of reward as a result. The same goes for motherhood. However, running your own business allows for one of the most important words in the Mother’s Dictionary: flexibility. If I need to come into the office early because I know I have a baseball game to catch later, I will do that. The time is still there, just in a different slot.
One line in Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter’s landmark piece in the Atlantic really caught my attention: “Make school schedules match work schedules.” She explained that a career in academia, although demanding, afforded her the opportunity to set her own schedule. When she moved to her dream job as director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department, she experienced what many of us already know: being at the mercy of someone else’s work schedule as a parent raises many complications. The overall tone of the article suggests that society needs to change to accommodate women’s advancement but to what degree does that include our school system?
In a landmark article in the Atlantic, Anne-Marie Slaughter concludes: “If women are ever to achieve real equality as leaders, then we have to stop accepting male behavior and male choices as the default and the ideal. We must insist on changing social policies and bending career tracks to accommodate our choices, too.”
I applaud the media focus on this changing dynamic of families and how that impacts the professional lives of women, we need to ensure that this transition appears in a positive light. To gain equal status at work, we desperately need it at home and that won’t happen unless we stop treating dads who raise children as a curiosity that requires our pity.
For many people, infertility remains to some degree a source of embarrassment or a sign of failure. Adding that stress to existing obligations can spell disaster. Only those forced into the world of infertility realize how common it is.