Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Opting Out or in Denial?

Attention Stay-at-home Moms who used to work.  You may believe it was your choice to leave the workplace but a new study questions whether stay-at-home moms are in denial about workplace discrimination.  Was it really a choice or was it an absence of female bosses, flex time and equal pay that pushed you, not so gently, and maybe even covertly, into your role as a full-time mother? 

This study, conducted by two women, fascinates me.  Their contention is that there is a “baby barrier” pushing women out of the workplace and deluding the same women, who were admittedly smart enough to have had careers in the first place, into thinking it was their decision to leave.    They also point out that with more women leaving their careers midstream, there are too few women left at the top to really effect change. 

The authors saw a disconnect between our generation’s view that men and women have finally leveled the playing field when it comes to career opportunities and the reality that having a baby is still a career ender for many women.  The authors believe many of those women would have chosen to remain employed had they had more mommy friendly policies and support systems available to them. 

That may be true but … and this is a big but … those some stay-at-home “victims” report much higher levels of overall contentment than their working peers … and a greater sense of control over their lives. 

One of the study’s authors, Nicole Stephens from Northwestern University says, “The discussion about women’s workplace departure could be reframed to recognize that many women do not freely choose to leave the workplace, but instead are pushed out by persistent workplace barriers such as limited workplace flexibility, unaffordable childcare and negative stereotypes about working mothers.”

Read it and let us know what you think!

 http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/News_Articles/2011/opting-out-or-overlooking-discrimination.aspx


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