Only Single Women Make It To The Top

If you women really want to be successful, do not get married and do not have children. Or so suggests a recent New York Times article.

According to the article, the last three men nominated to the US Supreme Court have all been married and, among them, have seven children. The last three women — Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Harriet Miers (who withdrew) — have all been single and without children.

In essence the article suggests that women are not more successful because of a outdated work model. This model (9am-9pm with wage-less wife at home, raising kids and managing the home) does not allow women to exit and re-enter the workplace without huge setbacks. Nor does it allow women to balance work and life.

So although feminists were fairly successful at achieving equal rights and equal opportunities (at least on paper), because they did not address family responsibilities, women who are married and mothers are still not on par with men.  In other words, as long as women take time off from work, take part time work and are not able to work really long hours, they will remain out of the high paying and high status positions.

Some great solutions suggested include:

–          Supporting more modern career paths with movement in and out of jobs without major setbacks.

–          Promoting job sharing and job flexibility without loss of pay, promotion or status.

–          Universal preschool programs and paid parental leave policies.

–          Giving workers the right to request a switch to a part-time or flexible schedule.

But, even with these policies, we still need a brand new mindset such that we ALL actually WANT to create rewarding career paths for parents (mothers and fathers) who take months or years off of work. I am hopeful.

(from “A Labor Market Punishing to Mothers” by David Leonhart)

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