There was a great feature in the NY Times Magazine this weekend “The Opt Out Generation Wants Back In.” The author, Judith Warner reached out to three women that were interviewed in Lisa Belkin’s 2003 article on women that had stepped down from high paying careers to raise children. The article is a worthwhile read, and I wanted to share some highlights:
“Eighty-nine percent of those who “off-ramped,” as she puts it, said they wanted to resume work; but only 73 percent of these succeeded in getting back in, and only 40 percent got full-time jobs. “It was distressingly difficult to get back on track,” Hewlett told me.”
“Many of the women I spoke with were troubled by the gender-role traditionalism that crept into their marriages once they gave up work, transforming them from being their husbands’ intellectual equals into the one member of their partnership uniquely endowed with gifts for laundry or cooking and cleaning; a junior member of the household, who sometimes had to “negotiate” with her husband to get money for child care. The husbands hadn’t turned into ogres. Their intent was not to make their wives feel lesser. But when traditional gender arrangements were put into place, there was a subtle slide into inequality.”
“Over the last 10 years, the decades-long advancement of women to higher positions in business and politics seems to have stalled. According to the nonprofit research group Catalyst, women now account for just 4 percent of Fortune 500 chief executives, 17 percent of corporate board seats, 20 percent of law partners and 19 percent of Congress (thanks to a big bump in the 2012 elections). A younger generation of female high achievers, especially those who aren’t most highly privileged, aren’t getting a very hopeful message. And without women in powerful positions pushing for change, employers have less incentive to alter workplace practices that may encourage women to exit after they have children. “Once they leave the corporate workplace, their ability to imbue workplace culture with their values is gone,” Pamela Stone says of the women she has studied. “They leave, and the door closes behind them, and everything stays the same.”
“Men, too, are feeling the crunch of excessively demanding work. They now report more work-life stress than women do, according to the Families and Work Institute. They also may be penalized more than women if they try to accommodate their work schedules to the needs of their children, as research appearing in the June issue of The Journal of Social Issues shows. At a time when fewer families than ever can afford to live on less than two full-time salaries, achieving work-life balance may well be less a gender issue than an economic one.”
Don’t forget we have three casino nights planned this Fall in all three cities. These events will benefit the FEYW schools across the state. So grab your spouse, your friends and colleagues and come one, come all a party for a great cause! We also need sponsors and silent auction donations. If you want to help or would like additional information, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
See you all at an event soon!