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.
That may be true but … and this is a big but … it’s hard to consider those stay-at-home moms victims when they reported much higher levels of overall contentment than their working peers in addition to a greater sense of control over their lives.
The study’s authors say they took up the question because they felt there was a disconnect between our generation’s view that the playing field has finally been leveled for women in the workplace and the reality that having a baby is often a career ender.
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.”
I don’t know what to think but I’d love to hear what you think …