Every once in a while I have the same discussion, with different people though - not too long ago I had one on my Facebook wall - about women and careers. Is it so that there are too few women in high places, because society makes it so hard for them to get there? Or is it that women just don't want to face their own fears and fight their way to the top? Or maybe most women are just not that ambitious? I often fear the latter.
Up until now, I find it a truly confusing debate only getting stranger as my friends and acquaintances are having babies and my own biological clock is supposedly ticking. I see women losing all interest in their work or ambitions from their pregnancies way past their maternity leave. I hear some women say it may be easier when you have a child, since then there would not be so much pressure to succeed outside of motherhood (mindboggling, I tell you). The need to nurture is bigger than the need to do anything else it seems. Or maybe not?
Fortunately, I do also know some women that stay their ambitious selves despite their motherhood and that seek for a balance of the different roles they have in life: mother, wife, manager, friend. No offense: if your one goal in life has been to be a mother; enjoy it, be a great mom! But if you, as a little girl dreamed of having your own company or being the head of a school, why trash these dreams now that you have children?
Is it really because it is still so difficult for women to access the real playing field? This talk by Sheryl Sandberg says a lot about how women position themselves and how society takes certain behavior for granted. It gives me hope that a combination between motherhood and a career is possible. Also, it gives me the hope that women are more ambitious than I see most of them to be.
Nice detail: she mentions that studies show that households with equal earning and equal responsibility have half the divorce rates and apparently also have a better sexual life. Where did she get this data?