Does It Really Have To Be All Or Nothing?
New research has shed some light on the way women’s thoughts about work have shifted over the past decade. Women are increasingly aiming to reach higher positions in the workplace. Many statistics seem to prove that women on average have higher career ambitions than men. Given this information it may come as a surprise that a growing percentage of women think that successful parenting is the key to their happiness.
This two statistics underline a division common among professional women. More and more women seem to be falling into one of two categories; they are either staying home to raise their children as best as possible or they are very serious high-achieving professionals aiming to reach the top of their field. Of course there are exceptions to these categories but the divide is becoming more and more apparent.
The middle ground seems to be falling away as women are increasingly becoming partners at law firms, leading physicians and CEO’s. It seems that women want to achieve great success in at least one facet of their life. This has led women to either dedicate themselves entirely to parenting or almost entirely to work. The number of women with part-time or scaled-back careers is rapidly decreasing. For those women who have the luxury of deciding whether or not they want to work, having a mid-level or average career isn’t incentive enough to give up their precious time with their children. Nobody wants to feel like they are inadequate in every facet of their life.
This means that predicted and past success has a huge role in a woman’s decision as to whether or not they will work after giving birth. Either they are going to choose to stay home with their children or they are going to dedicate their time during the day to getting as far in their career as they possibly can. If they don’t feel like they can achieve great levels of success or are unwilling to give up at lot of time with the children then they’d rather not work at all than work at less than their potential.
Of course this trend is unlikely to be seen amongst those many women who have to work in order to keep their family financially afloat. Regardless of its somewhat limited application it is still an important shift in the psychology of working women, one to be closely watched.
Robert Boroff Executive Profile Managing Director Reaction Search International
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