Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Another thing this has me thinking about is the assumption that well-paying, career-type jobs aren't compatible with motherhood, which leads a lot of women, probably subconsciously in many cases, to pursue less demanding work because they figure they can't balance those responsibilities with motherhood as well. So they take jobs that aren't as satisfying, don't pay as well, etc. The classic "mommy track."
I agree 100%. There are several factors at play.
First off, if you have kids young, you are not able to work the stupid long hours that most professional positions require of young employees. The older I get, the more I realize those positions are "cannon fodder" in many companies (non-profits and for profits, btw). I was able to travel for a month at a time, work until 8 or 9 pm at the drop of a hat, etc, because I had no other responsibilities. And I didn't get paid very well, either.
But it allowed me to earn my stripes, as it were. I sometimes get asked by other women how to get into consulting, and frankly, you need about 10 years at mid-professional level work to do it (and a graduate degree). You also need to know people who know you.
Secondly, I think the lack of female mentors does harm women in general. Many women in senior positions who have kids either went two extremes -either were at home for most of their kids' youths, or they went back to work at 6 weeks. I had a colleague in her late 50s scold me for taking the full 16 week FMLA I had coming to me for my first child because "they won't take you seriously if you take that amount of time off".
But another friend of mine was treated so well during her pregnancy by her boss (a woman who'd had kids too) - she treated her so well, letting her work from home, very lax about arrivals, etc. (she even bought my friend a pillow so she could sleep in her office!). My friend felt so supported that she knew going back to work for this boss would not destroy her life.
Just some thoughts - off to make dinner!