What the Numbers Say

October 2, 2009 | NeW Staff

We’ve been creating quite a stir with our posts in the last few weeks.  We argue that many women want to stay home and many don’t find true fulfillment in a career, but a portion of society continues to insist the reverse is true.  What do women really want?

One of our readers pointed me to an article today by Mona Charen discussing the issue of mothers at home versus in the workplace. What she found is quite telling not only about the desires of women today but also about the myths that many women are convinced to believe.  
Some of the key myths she dispels…
True or False: Only women who are uneducated choose to stay home with their children.

“There isn’t a huge discrepancy between moms at home with a college degree (32 percent) and working mothers with a diploma (38 percent).”

True or False: Women and men are wired they same way and when given the opportunity will make the same decisions about a career.  
“The research group Catalyst, devoted to advancing women’s careers in business, found that 33 percent of women with MBA degrees are not working full time compared with 5 percent of men.”
True or False: Women who work outside the home full-time do not regret their decision. They feel they can parent just as effectively.

“The Pew survey also found that mothers who worked full-time tended to give themselves lower grades on parenting than those who worked part-time or stayed at home.”

True or False: Women are satisfied fully by their careers even when they have children.

“A strong majority of working mothers (60 percent) say they would prefer part-time work, but only 24 percent achieve this.”

The facts don’t lie. Women, especially educated women, feel the pressure to conform to a certain “ideal” of achievement as a woman. But what is achievement really? Is it becoming a high powered CEO or is it simply being home to watch your children learning to ride their bikes? The question is not whether or not women are capable. We’ve certainly proven to be quite effective leaders. But the question is what sort of consequences do women face when they delay having children to reach the pinnacle of their career first? Does that bring true fulfillment?
I’ll let you decide.
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