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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

For women, it's really lonely at the top

Forty-five years after the women's movement started, women are finally penetrating upper most roles in business, government, and non-profit arenas. But progress hasn't charged ahead at the rate expected, nor have women reached top levels without forfeit or compromise.

Many young women look at the Elena Kagans of the world and wonder, can a woman today thrive in all parts of her life? Does having a big career mean sidestepping a family life, and conversely, does leaving the workplace lead to career suicide?

Dominique Schurman, Chief Executive Officer of Papyrus, explained to me in an interview, "The tensions between work and personal areas of your life are real. I'm not sure that we talk about that enough. There's a doctrine out there that women can have it all, and while that's a wonderful message, it's not that simple."

And the "you can have it all" concept is proving unattainable for many. According to a study carried out by economist and author Sylvia Ann Hewlett, childless women are not a minority. Hewlett found that of women ages 41-55 earning more than $100,000, 49% were childless. For those women of the same age group who earned less ($55,000-$66,000), 33% were childless and 57% were unmarried.

Hewlett's research documents a disturbing trend. The higher a woman goes in her career, the more likely it is that she's without a spouse and children. The more successful a man is however, the more probable it is that he has a family.

More recent research out of the UK demonstrates that women who are well educated and come from a higher social class are also less likely to reproduce, as is a woman who has higher qualifications than her partner.

A convenient but myopic explanation is that most of those women at the top are so ambitious that perhaps they don't want partners or children. In fact, only 11 to 14 percent of those Hewlett surveyed opted out of having a family by choice.

So what forces are creating isolation for top women?

America's famous "anywhere, anytime" work model has literally and figuratively hit home, favoring employment practices that continue to disadvantage women said Hope Hanner-Bailey, a work/life balance consultant and a mother who has "off-ramped" twice from the workplace to have children. "Many organizations still view any form of maternity leave, paid or unpaid, as a gesture of generosity. The majority of organizations do not feel as if their employees have the right to expect anything when experiencing major life transitions like becoming a parent."

Hanner-Bailey's points are substantiated by research. The U.S. has one of the least generous maternity leave policies in the world. According to a study by McGill University's Institute for Health and Social Policy, the US, Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland were the only countries out of 173 assessed that do not guarantee any paid leave for mothers. Most countries studied offer mothers 14 or more weeks of paid leave.

No wonder we see so many childless women in the top ranks. Example after example shows that a woman with a family will experience more professional impediments than her single or male counterparts. Consider the research of Columbia professor Jane Waldfogel, which showed that while childless women earn almost as much as males, working mothers earn 15% less than men and working single mothers earn 40% less than men.

Being labeled "mother" does more than limit compensation. Cornell University researchers conducted an eye-opening laboratory experiment involving two job candidates who were considered equal in job experience, school attended, and level of education. The only distinguishing factor? One of the applicants was identified as a parent. Shockingly, candidates identified as mothers were perceived as being less promotable, less likely to be recommended for management, and less likely to be recommended for hire than non mothers, despite having equal credentials.

The majority of employers haven't woken up to the realization that they don't accommodate the needs of the average working mother. For every ambitious woman who's wondering if work and motherhood translate to an either/or decision, there is a company that could be planning and offering her options through one of life's most significant milestones. Ignoring working mothers' needs is bad for women, families, business, and handicaps our country's economic and competitive strength. Perhaps women can't have it all, but they shouldn't be limited to unacceptably few, outmoded, all-or-nothing options.

Could it ever happen that being a parent could one day give you an edge in the workplace? Shannon S. S. Herzfeld, VP of Government Relations at Archer Daniels Midland, told me, "Interestingly, the same qualities that have made me a good mother have made me a good executive."

By Selena Rezvani

 |  May 28, 2010; 1:33 AM ET
Category:  Women in Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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You say "if I've got two equally qualified candidates and one is a mom and the other isn't, you're dang right I'm going to hire the non-mom." If these are two equally qualified MALE candidates, are you going to hire the non-dad?

Posted by: wrybread | May 28, 2010 6:32 PM
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A very good choice for an aggressive and beautiful 28 year old woman who is intent on a career is to marry a successful man in his 50's to stay at home and raise the children. Usually, persuading such an individual to divorce a woman similarly aged is not at all a problem. Texan men in their fifties may indeed be the best choice for this.

Posted by: Martial | May 28, 2010 6:29 PM
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About six lesbians known to me objected to maternity leave, suggesting it favors heterosexuals and their families. Assume you are a person or couple who cannot or will not have children for any of a variety of reasons. Is it just to provide persons in other categories a huge financial benefit that you do not possess? Those who have children do so by choice. I lack an answer to this question.

Posted by: Martial | May 28, 2010 6:24 PM
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Isn't this a tad bit presumptive to assume Elan Kagan doesn't have someone.

Posted by: 411Tibby | May 28, 2010 5:09 PM
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GET OVER IT WOMEN! I certainly believe in equality. No doubt about it. Key points in the article: women that do not have children earn and promote the same as men. Period. That is because they are performing the same as men. They are dedicated to their company just as their male counterpart. They are putting in the same extra hours. They are not missing days to pick up children for illnesses and such. Men that do not outperform other men and are frequently absent from work, suffer the same stale career paths. If a man can not devote his life to his career, he too will not promote. He too will ultimately earn less. A man that decides to take a year or two off from his profession for whatever reason, be it travel the world or take care of his kids, will also set himself back in his career development.
Stay at home dads don't make as much money as career working women with children. Does that make life unfair to these men? No, it does not. These men made that decision to place family before their career. There's nothing wrong with that. WOMEN....GET OVER IT! Family or Career? ITS A CHOICE! So if you want to make all of the money possible, become CEO and have a family; be willing to accept that you will miss out on all of the great things your family is doing while you are at work. Men have been absent from their families for ages. Are you Women willing to make the same SACRIFICE? It doesn't seem so.

Posted by: bigDCruz | May 28, 2010 4:12 PM
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What's the point. The point is - that the women who make a lot of money are smart and you want smart women having babies because most likely (not always) they will have smart children.

You don't want to keep your smart mother home if she doesn't want to be there - that can lead to depression and child abuse.

Posted by: agapn9 | May 28, 2010 4:11 PM
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As a pretty young woman (32) who makes more than 100 k since 27, I can say that if you want you can,time is not the problem, but how many men are able to see their partners making way lot more money than them? also we tend to look for equal partners, only problem is that men like us are looking for something different most of the time.
In my own particular case I arrived to the conclusion that if I want a marriage I have to lower my expectations about my future husband, it would be great him being financially similar to me buf if it's important? not anymore...

Posted by: brosalia78 | May 28, 2010 4:09 PM
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Not all women want to be wives and mothers. Today, babies seem to be more in fashion...there are so many cute things to buy for babies.Most employers want steady workers...who wouldn't want a steady worker without all those extra responsibilities?

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | May 28, 2010 4:02 PM
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I'm so sick of hearing this "companies should pay womento stay home with their children" blather. That's not what the company is paying you for. You're being paid to DO A JOB.

In every job I've ever had, the mothers (and some of the dads) were always leaving to do something child-related (often a baseball or soccer game). There's a project with a deadline and people need to stay late to get it done? It's certainly not the moms who are staying late. They "can't" because they have children.

They do less work. And you can't do less work and expect to be promoted and given a higher salary if you're not doing the work.

And these were not high-pressure, workaholic environments. A couple of them were non-profits. In one instance, there was a mom who had to leave at 2:00-3:00 twice a week to attend her 12 year-old son's baseball and soccer games. He got too nervous to play if she wasn't there. The rest of us weren't staying particularly late, 5:00-6:00. But the mom was definitely doing less of the work.

So if I've got two equally qualified candidates and one is a mom and the other isn't, you're dang right I'm going to hire the non-mom. That person will actually be in the office doing the job that s/he is being paid to do.

Having children is a choice and when you make that choice, you're choosing to spend a certain amount of your time raising those children. That means you're going to have less time to spend on other things, including work. It's just a fact and no amount of complaining or saying "no fair" is going to change that fact.

And no, having children doesn't make you wiser or qualify you for management. It just makes you more likely to be out of the office.

Posted by: lalalu1 | May 28, 2010 3:55 PM
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Just one more thing for the women that whine in behalf of women to whine some more. These women could get married if they wanted. They have dough, a home, a life, they could find husbands if they wanted. They might not find EXACTLY the husband they want, not necessarily at their socio-economic level, but so what? How many years have men married women of lower economic and professional status and had a marriage and children?

The saddest women of all are the Maureen Douds of the world that really have NO interest in being married, but instead express their outrage that no man is good enough or can handle their "success". But who could tolerate THAT?

Posted by: JamesChristian | May 28, 2010 3:50 PM
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Let's clear the air on something here. Just because successful men have families does not necessarily mean they have successful families. I am a man at the point in my career where I need to make a decision to devote the majority of my energy to my career or to my family. I am going to sacrifice my career for the family. I have seen untold superiors I work with see their families virtually vanish. Oh they may keep the family, but is it really a family? Can any man, or woman, honestly work 18 hour days and say they have a legitimate, happy family life? The author of this article is conveniantly ignoring the fact a successful career comes at a price for men as well.

Posted by: kilgore_nobiz | May 28, 2010 3:43 PM
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girl u need some cheese with this wine.

Posted by: pofinpa | May 28, 2010 3:39 PM
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More of the same whining. Make a choice and live with it. This is tiresome.

Posted by: jckdoors | May 28, 2010 3:28 PM
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It's ok to compare the US with other countries but the author should have compared the percentage of successful women in "family friendly" countries with the US.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that the US has a higher percentage of successful women compared to more "family friendly" countries.

Posted by: trumeau | May 28, 2010 3:22 PM
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There's something very important that needs to be cleared up; no one in the feminist movement ever told women they could "Have It All". The "Have It All" meme is a strawman created by those who opposed the message that women were no longer restricted to traditional female roles. When women were critical of the impediments they faced trying to work and raise a family, there was always some snotty, Phyllis Schlafly type or self righteous televangelist who'd blame working women for their predicament by sarcastically smirking "that's what you get for believing you could "have it all". It was their way of saying "get back into the kitchen where you belong."

Once again, the job of balancing work and family is entirely placed on the shoulders of women. This is yet one more article which neglects to question the duties men owe their children. It has been my observation that even men who support equality of women in the workplace do so with the stipulation that it doesn't impact their lives. "I support my wife's decision to work outside the home and grow our family wealth...as long as no expects me to take a day off to take the kids to the dentist."

Since we know that an egalitarian society which treats women fairly isn't just around the corner, I've passed on this advice to my daughter:

1. Life is about choices and all choices have benefits and drawbacks. You can be happy with kids, and you can be happy without kids. Either choice will bring with it an assortment of joys and fulfillment along with heartbreak and disappointment. That's life.

2. When you become serious about a man, ask him if he'd take two years off work to stay home with a new baby. It doesn't matter whether you want to stay home and raise kids, or if you don't want kids at all. It's a informative litmus test which will tell you what sort of man you're dealing with. If he says no, he's not looking for an equal partner in life; he's looking for domestic help. Dump him.

3. If you come to a point in your life where you decide you want children, make sure that you're willing and able to raise them on your own. This article focuses on the growing number of working women who do not have children. It ignores the number of women who bought into the "happily ever after" fairy tale that marriage is suppose to provide, only to find themselves with a skimpy resume now trying to find a job to support themselves and their kids.

4. Support other women's choices even if they're different than yours. Don't get sucked into debates which pit woman against woman. The working mom v. stay at home mom argument is only meant to estrange women from each other and the only people it benefits are those who don't see women as equals.

Posted by: DonnaMariaInChicago | May 28, 2010 3:12 PM
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Awww, give me a call baby. I'll be your stay at home man (jk)

Posted by: johng1 | May 28, 2010 3:10 PM
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When our children enter schools and are told, from preschool, that they must "race to the top", tackle high school courses in middle school and college courses in high school and then to get into the most competitive school they can - we create a society that values money and status over family and community. Then to achieve success, one must work 80-100 hours a week (or have a legacy job from some rich/influential friend or relative). If one chooses to have children and stay at home, all that work pre-kids is discounted when he/she tries to return to employment. So, it they have children they immediately enter preschool and the cycle continues.

This cycle hurts us all. CEOs need to create workplaces that celebrate families, allow flexible hours, hire stay-at-home parents who want to reenter the work world, etc. I hope the childless women CEOs create successful models so their nieces and nephews will have more options then they had.

Posted by: lnesbitt | May 28, 2010 3:05 PM
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"The tough thing about an argument like this is that only one of the participants is a competent judge. The parent has had the experience of being a non-parent AND the experience of being a parent, while the non-parent has only had the experience of being a non-parent." - Posted by: kuato | May 28, 2010 2:09 PM

The problem with your argument is that you ignore the fact that parents also have no experience of aging without the constant "keep my body alive, please" distraction of raising children. They don't know how a person matures and evolves after 4-5 decades of life experience while having time for more than just life support functions (work to earn money, clean the house, buy food, feed and clean the kids, figure out how to get them into X school, etc.). The wisdom and scope of comprehension that can be gained when one is free to do more than just survive and keep other bodies alive is simply not understood by people who had that cut short while they were sill in their silly twenties or early thirties (when their wisdom was only just starting to develop).

Of course, this is a response to your comment, not to this article. This article is about a third type of person, someone who is still choosing a variety of survival obsessed living, where the career success, power and money that comes with it is the idea of "more life."

As a forty-something female business owner who is single and child-free, I've chosen an incredibly satisfying life in which I do what is necessary to be great at my work, but approach it in a way that allows ample time for meditation, reading newspapers from around the world, writing (including 4 books, one of which is published), dance (which I have taught), frequent volunteer service, including founding several programs, and rich relationships with friends and family. On top of that I get ample sleep, which allows me to make better decisions, and generally have a low-stress lifestyle within a peaceful and beautiful home environment. And my boyfriend is the same. He has a great life too, and we choose to share a good portion of it together without seeing any reason to get married or even cohabit one dwelling.

My point is that there are many ways to live a satisfying life that makes a contribution to our society, and just as many opportunities to miss the mark. A parent could choose to be really selfish and gain very little maturing influence from the experience. A non-parent could choose to focus all their freedom on the pursuit of endless pleasures and entertainments and learn nothing from that. And a highly successful person could choose to focus all "learning and growth" on gaining more and more career power and money, whether as a parent or non-parent. The important thing isn't to judge others and try to see how we are better. In the end, it is up to each of us to make the most out of our lives by our own standards.

Posted by: Dutton1 | May 28, 2010 2:59 PM
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"I take offense at your insinuation that being a parent makes you "better" somehow. "

Be offended all you want. My observation is that people shouldn't allowed to manage other people until they've had children.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | May 28, 2010 2:54 PM
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Kegan isn't really a good example; she's not heterosexual.

The story is trying to make something very simple seem complicated.

When you have children, to raise them properly you have to make a sacrifice. So you end up choosing a career or children.

Choose whatever you want. But don't whine about it afterward.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | May 28, 2010 2:52 PM
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Where the heck is Lethoso? And are there only 178 countries worth polling?

"The more successful a man is however, the more probable it is that he has a family." - I'd like to see those stats.

Posted by: ConfusedinAZ | May 28, 2010 2:21 PM
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The sad thing is that being a parent has changed me in so many ways, all for the better. This is true of most people I know who have become parents. There are other ways for a person to growup, but nothing works quite as well as parenting. So we end up with a bunch of fools running the world who basically lack balance and wisdom, hence BP oil spills, housing bubbles, the ecconomic meltdown of 2009.
Posted by: tiggertime1

Tiggertime 1:
I take offense at your insinuation that being a parent makes you "better" somehow. It's no different than the people who say that not being a parent makes you "better" in the workplace. You are part of the problem there.
I am 32, married, with a good career and an excellent salary. I am in the office at 7:30am and typically leave around 6pm. I work hard, I take lunch and go to the gym, but I put in my all and enjoy what I do.
Unfortunately, the choice to have a child typically still impacts women more than men. My colleagues who have children tend to arrive at the office later, and sometimes do have to leave early to tend to their children's needs. I have no issue with that, but it does make an impact whether we like it or not.
I have no children, and do not know if I even want a child, but that does not make me less of a grown-up than someone who chose to have a child. Those skills you gain as a parent, while valuable - being a parent is not the only way to gain them and I do not consider myself a fool at all.


The tough thing about an argument like this is that only one of the participants is a competent judge. The parent has had the experience of being a non-parent AND the experience of being a parent, while the non-parent has only had the experience of being a non-parent. It frustrates those adults without children that parents tend to dismiss them in discussions about parenting, but it is only logical to do so. Becoming a parent changes a person in a way that nothing else does. It, in fact, makes people better in a way that transcends explanation.

There are a lot of great things about choosing not to produce children. Non-parents certainly have a lot more flexibility in their lives, for example. But non-parents simply do not understand parenthood on any meaningful level, and they will not understand parenting unless they decide to reproduce.

Posted by: kuato | May 28, 2010 2:09 PM
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«On the marriage front, either successful women need to be more willing to date less successful men, or men need to be less willing to date less successful women. Attitudes still haven't fully adjusted to the new reality in either gender.

«Women need more accommodating maternity leave... but the need is equally as strong among men. There needs to be a standard that expects partners to take equal time off.»

«Posted by: Nissl | May 28, 2010 1:56 PM»

Four sentences, five times the word «need» or «needs» appears, and once the word «expects».

O Nissl, only those, women or men, who value equality over everything else, think there is such a «need». Those who value equality, let them be more willing to date less successful men, let them be less willing to date less successful women, let them be more accommodating with their companies' money for paid maternity leave, let them take equal time off.

But let them not expect the rest of us, who may have other values than equality, to change how we live just to conform to their vision of a gender-neutral society!

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | May 28, 2010 2:08 PM
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On the marriage front, either successful women need to be more willing to date less successful men, or men need to be less willing to date less successful women. Attitudes still haven't fully adjusted to the new reality in either gender.

Women need more accommodating maternity leave... but the need is equally as strong among men. There needs to be a standard that expects partners to take equal time off.

Posted by: Nissl | May 28, 2010 1:56 PM
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I am disturbed by the clear assumption in this article that women who are not married, and/or do not have children, are"lonely". Nowhere in the statistics did it cite evidence of loneliness. Were any of these unmarried, childless women ask whether they are lonely? How many said "yes", and that they wish they had a husband and children? How many said that they have full, rich lives and do not particularly envy their married contemporaries? Or that they think that they are no more lonely than their married contemporaries?
I thought that our culture had advanced beyond the assumption that women are destined to marry and have children, or be lonely spinsters.

Posted by: kittymeredith | May 28, 2010 1:33 PM
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Old way, nineteen-fifties, strong unions, no competition from low-wage Third World. One income, drive a truck, do union construction work, your one income, it covers the mortgage on the house made of ticky-tacky, it covers the car payment (one car, with tail fins, is all your family needs), it covers the gas & electric bill, it covers the telephone bill and even a brand new color television set in the living room! Your spouse, she can stay home, she can be full-time mother for your & her children.

New way, twenty-tens, unions busted, capitalist bosses make you compete with workers from a town (in China) where richest man in town, he owns the factory, he earns $8,000 a year (not $80,000, not $18,000, I heard $8,000 on National Public Radio!). Two incomes, you need two incomes, your one income, even if you are a middle manager, let alone a truck driver, your one income will not pay the bills, your spouse must work, too, to keep food (not bacon, please!) on your table. Children, they have no full-time mother, they get intestinal parasite diseases at the day care center.

O Christian America, listen! When one income was enough, other spouse could be full-time mother. Now that two incomes are needed, there still has to be a spouse to stay home if the two want a full-time mother for their children, but Christian America, it says there cannot be a third spouse to stay home and be a full-time mother for her children and her husband's children and her co-wife's children, because Christian-based laws say, «no polygamy». What makes sense,
two high-powered careers and one stay-at-home full-time mother in one family, this is illegal, these Christian anti-polygamy laws, they impose Christian religion, they should be struck down because they do not respect separation of state and church.

Men, they can have the high-power career and the family, it is because they can have a stay-at-home wife to raise their children, this is Male Privilege. Ladies, you can have a husband and a high-power career, two incomes to pay the bills, and a stay-at-home mother to raise your children, if you can convince the lawmakers to allow you to have a co-wife, she will raise your children and her children in one big happy family.

But if you cannot convince lawmakers to do this for you, wait a few generations, Christians, they will be a minority because of their low birth rates, non-Christian legislators, they will allow your grand-daughters to have co-wives to take care of the children. Just wait!

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | May 28, 2010 1:31 PM
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I agree with "A1965bigdog." This is not your average work/life balance issue. Two people can work at interesting careers and have a family nowadays. (i.e. http://fencetalk.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/friday-confession-i-dont-juggle/). What you are talking about is extremely successful careers, that take extreme dedication. It really doesn't translate to most of us, who won't be astronauts or President.

The reason it's harder for women to be in these roles and have a family is that when one person has a very demanding, extraordinary job, someone needs to stay home. It's still socially difficult for a man to do that, not to mention that while successful men have no problem marrying women who plan to be professional wives, successful women still tend to seek someone as ambitious and successful as themselves. And that is an error on both parts, because I absolutely believe that just as there are women who want to be President or Supreme Court Justices, there are men that would be willing to be the domestic force behind their success.

Posted by: walkeraza | May 28, 2010 1:29 PM
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The sad thing is that being a parent has changed me in so many ways, all for the better. This is true of most people I know who have become parents. There are other ways for a person to growup, but nothing works quite as well as parenting. So we end up with a bunch of fools running the world who basically lack balance and wisdom, hence BP oil spills, housing bubbles, the ecconomic meltdown of 2009.
Posted by: tiggertime1

Tiggertime 1:

I take offense at your insinuation that being a parent makes you "better" somehow. It's no different than the people who say that not being a parent makes you "better" in the workplace. You are part of the problem there.

I am 32, married, with a good career and an excellent salary. I am in the office at 7:30am and typically leave around 6pm. I work hard, I take lunch and go to the gym, but I put in my all and enjoy what I do.

Unfortunately, the choice to have a child typically still impacts women more than men. My colleagues who have children tend to arrive at the office later, and sometimes do have to leave early to tend to their children's needs. I have no issue with that, but it does make an impact whether we like it or not.

I have no children, and do not know if I even want a child, but that does not make me less of a grown-up than someone who chose to have a child. Those skills you gain as a parent, while valuable - being a parent is not the only way to gain them and I do not consider myself a fool at all.

Posted by: AutumnBanter | May 28, 2010 1:17 PM
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The part that the article ignores is that a large percentage of men would rather have a wife who has time for him and the kids than to have a wife who makes big money.

Men and women both want a fun person who has time for them right up until we graduate from college and enter the workforce.

Those professional women are single, partly because most men don't define any of a woman's value based on her salary, whereas most women do define a portion [and in some cases majority] of a man's value based on his salary.

it's all about time (or the lack thereof) to build a relationship. if you can't come cheer for me at my flag-football game [and get along with my friend's girlfriends]. if you can't come to my buddy's yearly backyard bbq blowout and drive my drunk a$$ home. if you can't come out to 9:30 with me on my birthday to see Chuck Brown, then I'm not interested and I really don't care if you had an RFP that needed to be answered. I already have money. I don't need yours.

ps. my wife is a stay-at-home mother of 4 (me + 3 kids).

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | May 28, 2010 1:15 PM
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Having re-read the original article I am of the mind that it is a somewhat schizophrenic piece. It begins with the analysis of top-earning women, the CEOs, presumably the ones who can't find family contentedness because of their very beings as high-earners. I believe that for these women (and I have known one or two in my travel), the issue of slowing down to take the time and focus energy upon building a family, is really that, a choice. And they may have earned and saved the income to "off-ramp." Only an individual woman can decide if she wants to focus her energies on child-bearing or rearing or not. Being a mother is a full-time job. Not everyone wants this job, nor should they be expected to want it.

The second half of the article discussed the lack of paid maternity leave options, etc. I cannot imagine how this is an issue for the six-figure earner. THis is THE issue dear to the hearts of most working parents (the ability to take paid or even unpaid leave), the ones who have to juggle each day with the realities of either raising a child in poverty or figuring out the delicate balance of earning wages, obtaining health insurance and finding decent affordable childcare.

As a member of the latter group of mothers, speaking only for myself, I LONG to "off-ramp" and sadly cannot. Once becoming a mother I made it crystal clear to my employer that I could never choose the interest of my career over my child. And so I do my work. I work hard and I believe I do good work on behalf of my employer. But I have willingly sacrificed any career "ambition" - I don't long for more power at my workplace. I contort myself like a pretzel to make this "balance work" and I cannot say I have it mastered because I believe it is impossible, even for those of us who are not driver by a six-figure salary and dreams of driving a jaguar.

Maybe these "ambitious" women of whom the article speaks believe the same forces that disempower the rest of us peons are at work in their inabilities to "have it all" - but I think the story is much more nuanced than that.

Posted by: claudlaw | May 28, 2010 1:01 PM
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I think this misses the point. To get into the upper echelons of management, it requires obsessive dedication to the job.
A man can be obsessive with his job, and quite frankly, spend a few minutes alone with his wife, and 9 months later will have a family. The wife and the child are ornamental pieces that are there to create an illusion.

By contrast, a woman can't do that. If she wants to become a CEO, she doesn't necessarily have to preclude marriage, but having children is an impediment. When the woman has a baby, she is typically gone on maternity leave for at least 2 months, and then after that the amount of time that she can devote to her work is limited by child rearing needs. As a result, she ends up looking slower than her peers, and from a career standpoint gets left behind.

It is a cruel and viscious truth, but it is true. If you aren't obsessive with your work, if you don't put in 70-80 hrs/week, gun for the next promotion, etc., you'll likely never become a CEO.

On the other hand, being a CEO means that you have little if any family life. You are married to your job. Your family is for show.

As for me, I want no part of it. To me, family is #1. I want enough to be a good provider. I don't need to have the 10000 sq. foot house on 50 acres. A small house on 1/3 an acre is more than adequate.

Posted by: A1965bigdog | May 28, 2010 12:41 PM
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"Having it all" is a choice and is based on values and ideals. Careers, children, marriage all take a condsiderable commitment of time and energy. You decide to which one you will devote the most time.

The biggest difference between men and women is that because women physically have to have the children, it requires for a woman to actually have to stop and take time away from other things. If men want to have a family, they don't actually have to stop.

I don't think it's a matter of intelligence or being more educated as to whether women decide to have children or not. or Women who progress in their career are more or less physically attractive than others.

Claudelaw seems to have insightful comments.

Posted by: abyd | May 28, 2010 12:30 PM
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I just wound up a long corporate career, most of it working for very large corporations, and two small family business that thought they needed management expertise. Along the way I both worked with female corporate executives, and female family members. The female family members worked things out, as of course families set their own rules. The corporate females who rose to the most senior positions, like we men, had little time for family, and friends, much less day care. We just cannot seem to come to grips with that reality. I have personal female friends who are CEO's, and they are single. They have chauffeurs, private jets, and are always on the go crackberry in hand, and by the bedside, hotel table.

Posted by: dangreen3 | May 28, 2010 12:25 PM
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I stopped reading all the comments because I tired of all the negativity... The type of antiquated and rigid gender roles and expectations argued about in many of these comments may have more to do with why so many people (not just women) are single and lonely. Maybe we need a redefintion of "successful", for example, being a kind and repsectful person.

I'm a 34-year-old woman with a masters degree and I'm working on a second advanced degree. I live in a town where most men are local or military, and few have education beyond a bachelors. Somehow my supposed status is a turn-off, when in fact I'm just trying to move through life like everybody else. Since when should your level of education, your job title, or income be the sole determinants of your desirability as a partner? It all should come back to how you treat others and what qualities you can offer a partner--beyond your degree and checking account balance.

Last, I agree that the title of the article is a tease. I thought I was reading about single women, not childrearing.

Posted by: cginsd | May 28, 2010 12:23 PM
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The use of the terms "childless" and "husbandless" assume that "the norm" is to have a husband and children, and to NOT have that is somehow "less than" (i.e., missing something). Let's stop using sexist terms that demean personal life choices. Not everyone wants the same things (and thank goodness for that).

On the issue of equal earners/income compatibility, it has been the personal experience of many successful women that there are still many not-so-evolved-men out there who are threatened by a woman who earns more/is more successful. Many high-earning men do not want a high-earning spouse as they are too insecure, so they pick some secretary.

A lot of the commenters make excellent points, and I'd also like to add that in my 20+ years in corporate America, I have noticed there is a REASON parents are less promotable. Quite often, they work less and are less reliable, always taking time off for "kid stuff" while the single/child-free employees are not afforded any such luxury. And some (not all) parents take advantage of this to goof off while they're at work, too -- texting, IMing and emailing with their kids, dealing with personal stuff that relates to their kids while at work, etc. etc. etc. I had a coworker who regularly used company printers to print out his kid's school work. The list goes on and we've all seen it.

Posted by: Californian11 | May 28, 2010 12:16 PM
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The sad thing is that being a parent has changed me in so many ways, all for the better. This is true of most people I know who have become parents. There are other ways for a person to growup, but nothing works quite as well as parenting. So we end up with a bunch of fools running the world who basically lack balance and wisdom, hence BP oil spills, housing bubbles, the ecconomic meltdown of 2009. But lets just go ahead and keep denigrating and undervaluing the skills and smarts that learning to be a good parent brings to a person's character, as if the path that we've been on for the past 20 years is really leading us anywhere worth going. It may be that the ladder of success that we currently embrace is a big long path to nowhere.

Posted by: tiggertime1 | May 28, 2010 12:05 PM
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I think many people miss the point of why these women who are successful are childless or not married.

Look at Justice Kagan. She sure looks like the almighty left out good looking from the resume.

I am sorry, but appearance has a correlation with getting a man.

Thus, it would behoove the politically correct researchers to determine the factor of appearance with success by women who do not have that attribute.

I have a very successful daughter, but unfortunately for her, no man has been interested in her, probably because of her appearance. She will have a great career, but remain husbandless and childless.

Posted by: wonderfulmale | May 28, 2010 12:03 PM
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Paid maternity leave costs a company money. That company must then cut the compensation of everyone else. So the husband of a stay-at-home mom makes less money, and it is then harder for the stay-at-home mom to continue with her lifestyle choice.

Now, if a company thinks that this is in their best interest, then I say, "Go ahead. It's a free country." But if government MANDATES it, then government is FORCING stay-at-home moms to subsidize the lifestyle of working moms. That is just plain wrong.

Isn't it funny how all those "advanced" European countries have government-mandated paid maternity leave, yet those same countries have shrinking populations -- a demographic that is wreaking havoc with their societies? Am I the only one smart enough to see the connection?

Posted by: dmm1 | May 28, 2010 12:02 PM
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Corporate america is a place that at least today, doesn't care about it's employees as human beings but just the profit they make on those employees heads. As a consequence, anything perceived as lowering your availability to be at the whims of the company is frowned upon.

It's still a male-dominated world in corporate america, and I predict it will remain so long after it ceases being a white-male dominated world. Male leaders in corporate america assume that the fathers among them have someone else at home taking care of the kids, and they are usually right. Therefore, executives don't worry about fathers being unavailable because of children. They DO worry about this with women, because they KNOW that women end up bearing the most responsibility for child care. It's a fact.

The horrible bind professional women find ourselves in, is that without a husband, you have to work harder to make more to survive. You can't afford to be unavailable to the company because you need your job to support yourself. As a result, you short change your social life to "make it" so you can make more money to make it alone, thereby further reducing the time and energy you have available to find a suitable partner and build a relationship. If you want to make decent $$, changes are you have to be in an urban area where the cost of living is even higher making the pressure to earn also increase. Struggling to survive econically becomes a vicious cycle and we sacrifice our romantic lives for it. Then, around your 40s you begin to face the need to assist aging parents without the support of a spouse, since assistance of aging parents is usually left to female adult children.

The silver lining to the cloud is the number of women who opt out of the rat race to start their own businesses. As stressful as that is, they often find their way into more independence that way.

We definitely have issues with quality of life as women professionals.

Posted by: lilifreak | May 28, 2010 11:58 AM
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My doctoral research contradicts your findings. I researched high-achieving women in the United States. I did not use titles but went for personality indicators. Some were executives, others were rising in organizations, others were wandering in search of a place where they felt valued for their contribution. Sixty percent had partners. More than one third had children, with some of the younger women in the surveys said they still planned to have families. However, they had relationships where their partners shared in the child-rearing. And many hired nannies and good child care support. Smart, strong women are not denying themselves of things they want. I share my research in my new book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction. I think you will find a different picture of the new generation of high-achieving women than has been profiled in the past.

Posted by: MarciaReynolds | May 28, 2010 11:52 AM
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Can we look at this as how can we successfully marry the requirements for successful work and the requirements for a successful family? In the past, this was idealized as stay-at-home mom and a dad who brought home the bacon. Mom stayed at home to raise the kids and run the household, and dad had the outside job. Now, at least my ideal is two parents who enjoy their careers and can also be good parents.

I understand that many companies want employees to be available at all times so that they can maximize their use of their employees. So to those of you who wrote, to go up the career ladder you have to work crazy hours, that may be what you had to do and what your company wanted, but is it something that we as a society think everyone has to do to get to the top? If it is, then that has a real impact on people's choices about mates and family. And since women are the ones to get pregnant, and tend to be the lead ones in raising children (no judgment attached by me to this choice), women bear the brunt of this expectation.

I don't know what the answer is, but I question those who say, this is how I did it and that is how it must be, to look beyond that and ask, what should it be? Shouldn't we expect companies to be structured more to allow people to succeed AND be good parents?

Posted by: climategirl | May 28, 2010 11:45 AM
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This article is OK as far as it goes, but as is the usual case, it focuses on the small class of professional women with ambitions that rival that of any alpha male.

And while it's true that women of that relatively small class do suffer from the greater expectations about child raising laid upon women, that factor might come less into play if most of these women weren't so inclined to look down upon the non-alpha male, and learn to value men who aren't just as work-driven and status-obsessed as they are. One of the saddest cliches of all is also one of the truest: Men pay too much attention to looks, and women pay too much attention to status.

Posted by: andym108 | May 28, 2010 11:44 AM
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Hey ladies, do me a favor and stop whining.

your incessant complaints about men an their holding you back run a little shallow when you get what you want, then still complain.

I think it's becoming apparent that your movement does nothing but lay a larger claim on things you just need to work harder at to achieve.

Men, also, have that very same problem, but do not blame women. At least you're the least of our worries usually, as we go head-to-head with everyday, normal men in a daily competition for a livelihood.

But you want more, and more, and have taken this to a level that most early feminists cringe at.

you got your equality - didn't it EVER occur to you that you would end up in the same position MEN get into - work consmes them and they are lonely.

Booh, f'ing Hooh.

Grow up, ladies. to think that you would be any different in business than men, and the way it consumes us, is fairly presumptuous - presuming that you hcan "handle it".

By this article you prove that you cannot.

another round of Boo-hoo.

I don't think anyone has anything to be sorry for, here, save yourselves.

you got what you wanted.

not good enough, huh?

Maybe on some alternate planet - but in real life - you're only human.

Posted by: pgibson1 | May 28, 2010 11:36 AM
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Ummm, this article starts off as (what I thought) a piece focusing on career women being lonely (as in without a romantic partner or spouse). Then it does this ever so slightly transition into the hardships of being a mother in the workforce. I wished the article had stayed on its first point: career women and their love/family lives or lack thereof in comparison to men and less ambitious women(that's what I thought I would be reading).

Posted by: forgetthis | May 28, 2010 11:31 AM
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@Dr. Jones:

So what you're saying is, the problem is insecure men such as yourself, right?

I figured long ago that's the case, but thank you for confirming it by proving yourself as one of "those" men.

Posted by: shapeshifter77 | May 28, 2010 11:30 AM
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Part of the problem is that some of these hard-charging career women are pretty obnoxious and rude and make lousy partners.

Posted by: FilmMD | May 28, 2010 11:10 AM
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Women can have it all. First, they must decide what their personal "having it all" is to them. Second, they have to decide what part of "having it all" they want NOW. Yes, you can have a career, and a family and a home and a personal life. On a scale of 1-10, they will not all rank as a "10" at the same time.
As to that idiot that states you are paying some illegal aliens to raise your kids, PLEASE DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN!!!!!!!! I am blessed to have my parents watch our children during the day, so we can make a living and support our children. The trade-off? I have to ask someone else what my children had for lunch or how long they napped. It sucks. However, if I were a stay at home mother (which I would love to do), my kids would suffer. My husband gets laid off for months at a time, but not long enough to go get another job/train for another job (we have looked at the options). We need the health insurance. We need both incomes. If I don't work, I don't have a retirement income. Would you prefer that I join those receiving public assistance? Yes. I have turned down positions that require extensive travel committments. Oh well. I also come into the office on weekends, when only a few others (mainly women) are here. (Rarely do the managers show up.) I still drive a vehicle over a decade old. It is nowhere near ideal, but it beats flipping burgers and scraping by. I take my kids to the park after work. I also take them with me almost everywhere I go when I am not working. I love them. You were a child once and someone loved you or you would not be where you are today.
Employers need to realize that women are not leaving the workforce. Women do want to advance their careers. Women did go to college and can think and make decisions. Women can work smarter, not harder. Women are true assets to their organizations. Women do (and some men as well) want to participate in the lives of their children (see the Little League games, join in at Cub Scouts, watch their ballerina recitals). It is possible. I think some employers put those ridiculous demands out there as a test. Will they work 26 hour days or go to Little League? (1) What do you think? (2) If I am there 26 hours a day, your sorry *ss better be right there next to me. Not home with wife #3.
Happy Friday!

Posted by: OhioFed | May 28, 2010 11:05 AM
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If he dates her, and especially if he marries her, he is likely to be older, taller, better educated, and make more money.

Thomas L. Jones, PhD, Silver Spring

Posted by: DrJones1 | May 28, 2010 11:02 AM
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I'm also bothered by the only mention of childlessness by choice being "the ambitious career woman." I work for a nonprofit. Although I'd say I'm definitely ambitious in some ways, I'm not choosing not to do something I don't want to do so I'll rise higher at work. And I don't think my lack of desire for a child has to do with my ambition. Yeah, if I did want one, I'd probably wonder where I'd find the time. And yeah, that wondering would suck, so again I agree that the system is broken. But "OMG I don't have time" is not an explanation for why I don't want a child. I can't imagine another being growing in my body (it's a bit creepy to me, honestly) and I have no interest in being responsible for a growing human. That's an absolutely serious duty that takes absolute commitment, and that is a commitment I have no inclination to make. Don't imply someone like me is sad and empty because she *doesn't want what you want*, please.

Posted by: amm72 | May 28, 2010 10:52 AM
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I absolutely, absolutely, absolutely think the way the working world is set up disadvantages parents. Especially mothers, given cultural expectations about childcare and biological realities about mothering. I fervently hope that we as a nation will rethink this and create a setup that does not punish parents, and mothers especially, for wanting both success and healthy family lives that include children who get all the attention, love, and care they need to blosson and thrive.

However, as someone whose ideal has always been to live stably and comfortably with my partner and maybe a nice big pet dog, I'm uncomfortable with the implication that because the number of childless "career women" is large, this implies that wide swaths of women are lonely and sad. For some women (and men!) I am sure that there is a horrible "choice" they feel forced to make between two of their dreams, and that is horrible. But to talk about childlessness without even bothering to say anything like "I'm sure some of these people are happy childless, but if even a small percentage of these people are sacrificing what they really want, that's awful and wrong" upsets me.

And something about the "Successful women don't reproduce as often! OH NO!!!" worries me. That kind of "logic" has underpinned a lot of racism and eugenics, on the theory that less successful/desirable/"of good breeding" people breeding is some kind of social travesty.

Posted by: amm72 | May 28, 2010 10:45 AM
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I'm a 46 y.o. female with no kids. If you want your children to be raised by someone else, then fine, have at it with the high powered career. That's the "choice" women have, whether they like it or not.

Also, a man who does not want a capable woman is a bigger idiot than most. My husband is going on his 2nd tour to Iraq for a year very shortly. Who do you think holds down the fort at home, as well as works a full time job?

Posted by: kthoover | May 28, 2010 10:40 AM
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maybe the more educated and successful a woman is the less likely she is to have any desire to have children. perhaps caring for babies and toddlers just doesn't appeal to many intelligent women.
also, i don't like the assumption that it's bad/ sad/ tragic whatever if a woman has no husband or children. some of us really don't want children. i know no one ever wants to believe that, but it's true. we're not all obsessed with babies.
that said, it is way more difficult than it should be for women who do want children and a good career.

Posted by: anniesang | May 28, 2010 10:32 AM
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This is really a misleading article because a large number of women really DON'T WANT to climb the career ladder; they have no such ambition. This article makes it sound as if all women want to reach top positions at work which is not true.

Posted by: eugene8 | May 28, 2010 10:27 AM
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Women want and have choice in almost every thing else in their lives but not in having a man and children! Does not make any sense. Women have as much choice as men- in finding a mate and having children.

Posted by: jamaati5 | May 28, 2010 10:25 AM
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This article makes the assumption that all women are lonely with out marriage and children. Many are very happy and content without.

Posted by: jaham99 | May 28, 2010 10:23 AM
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The fact that Selena brings up this issue and receives such animosity for questioning gender issues is testimony to the patriarchal and archaic sentiment in the US. I think we should always strive to make things better, and not just remain complacent with how things are. Questioning does not mean these women are power-hungry, male hating anti-family people who want someone else to raise their babies. It is quite the opposite.

I recently read Committed by Liz Gilbert and she also poses some great questions and discusses trends that show that marriage is beneficial to men and detrimental to women, on a variety of levels and with different indicators- such as health, earning power, etc. I do agree that men also sacrifice a lot to have a family and career, that is, the ones who stick around. Selena is also correct in stating that the US is one of the only countries that does not mandate maternity leave. Though considering that birth rates in industrialized countries are decreasing, at some point, like other European countries, the government may have to initiate maternity benefits that encourage women to have babies. We'll see.

(@edbyronadams) As for someone who brought up women wanting alpha-males, the Economist just released an article about a scientific study showing that women now prefer beta-males who have a more effeminate appearance, and are therefore less likely to have diseases. It is no longer about whether or not a man can 'protect' a family in the physical realm but whether they are disease free - and since alpha-males tend to be more promiscuous and risk-takers - they have a higher chance of disease. Article: http://www.economist.com/science-technology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15717198.

Posted by: kdizzlelove | May 28, 2010 10:13 AM
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I think Jaketen2001 makes a point which gets to the heart of the article.

The most telling statement in this article was that successful men almost always have families. It's true (and a constant complaint) that they often don't get to see much of those families, but having a family in the background is very important.

The fact that as a nation we have agreed that profit trumps all other values is very very sad. I would like to see an article that addresses this issue that is not couched in inflammatory post-feminist rhetoric. Maybe then people will listen to what is being said.

The much acclaimed American puritannical work ethic has taken us too far in the wrong direction. We die early of preventable diseases, we are disconnected and depressed and, alas, not even more productive. We must do better.

Posted by: post12341 | May 28, 2010 10:05 AM
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Many bright bulbs here are saying "balancing family and work is tough on men too" but miss the author's main point: successful men are more likely to have families, while successful women are less likely. So the pressures are clearly not exactly the same.

And FWIW, I would LOVE to have a husband willing to work less than full time or not at all, and be the primary caregiver of children. I don't see too many men interested in that role, though.

Posted by: wrybread1 | May 28, 2010 10:05 AM
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jaketen2001 wrote:

"Employers are not stupid. They want employees that have more of their life to waste working for them. They know parents have other responsibilities."

On its face, this seems like a good argument. However, it is a fact (documented in research) that men are rewarded for being fathers, while women are penalized.

Your statement is only true if you substitute "women" for "parents" in the last sentence -- because the fact is that many if not most men still expect their wives to do more of the work at home, whether its housework, caring for kids, etc.

When priorities and expectations of each gender are more equal at home, employees' expectations of their employers' (and vice versa) will be, too.

Posted by: michelina0037 | May 28, 2010 9:50 AM
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Perhapes, Ms. Rezvani has not read or heard of chractor and duties of ideal woman. Read Proverb 31: A wife of noble chracter who can find It says: She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lack nothing of value. She brings him good,not harm,all the days of her life. She slects wool and flax and works with eager hands. SHE IS LIKE MERCAHANT SHIPS,bring her food from afar.She gets up while it is still dark,and provides food for her family and portion for her servant girls.. She considers a field and buys it.out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
It keeps going on and on. PLEASE READ pROVERBS 31. I URGE YOU ALL
Eric Kumar

Posted by: udhoram | May 28, 2010 9:48 AM
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"Hanner-Bailey's points are substantiated by research. The U.S. has one of the least generous maternity leave policies in the world."
Having spent time in workplaces in a few countries that have more generous maternity leave policies, I can say that this is not at all tied with how far women can advance. If a husband and wife start out in the same job and decide to have kids, it makes it a no-brainer that the wife will take 1.5 years off per kid while the husband works and advances his position. Sure, the wife will have a job, but the policy doesn't exactly lead to more women CEOs.

Now, if we were talking about *parental* leave policies, we might actually start leveling the playing field.

Posted by: hbc1 | May 28, 2010 9:28 AM
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"Shockingly!" Get a clue, Rezvani.
You want to be the boss at work and be the boss at home too? No. Go home, bosswoman, and subordinate yourself. Let your house-husband harangue you for not doing his housework as well as your job. Go home and just take out the trash like a good girl. Suffer silently under threat of paying everything to support your children's "primary caregiver" after divorce. This is equality. This is justice. Don't want it? Unsurprising.

Posted by: Religulous | May 28, 2010 9:24 AM
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One wonders whether Ms. Rezvani herself understands the notion of parenthood: the very act of bringing forth new life entails sacrifice on both the female (and male!) parental lives. No woman, or man, can have it all when it comes to bringing about a family and managing a career. Balance is the key word - and to say that career advancement and motherhood are mutually exclusive is a patent falsehood, and denigrating to women. Look at Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft. Look at Carol Bartz of Yahoo. For God's sake, put politics aside, and look at Sarah Palin. These women ascended to the peaks of their respective professions and had children.

Marriage, and children, like careers, are a choice. And in this century, you simply cannot "have it all", whether man or woman: some choose to work towards a balance juggling the "BlackBerry and the breast pump", to cite Ms. Palin, and others simply do not.

It would seem Ms. Rezvani, who would otherwise seem to be trying to champion women leaders is in fact propogating a victim mentality for women in the workplace, which is ultimately self-defeating: women can make their own choices and make them work. And choosing to have a family, regardless of one's station in life, from CEO to housekeeping staff, requires sacrifice.

Posted by: jackdonaghy | May 28, 2010 9:22 AM
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This article, which focuses on the small 100K club, misses the mark for most working women in America, and isn't necessarily the best discussion tool for addressing the issues of working families.

The reality of a one-income household no longer exists, particularly in a country where health-care and retirement income is intrinsically connected to employment. Many of the women in my generation (I am in my thirties) did everything right: we obtained higher education (which even at cheap state schools, required taking out student loans), so as to have the ability to be financially independent if we found ourselves widowed, divorced or alone. However the cost of housing and education far outpaced the average wage rates, even in the white collar world. So I know I speak for many, when I speak on behalf of women who went to school and worked to achieve economic stability. When I wanted to quit my job I discovered that living on one income would be financially untenable. And no, this would not be to support a lifestyle of an expensive home, lavish vacation and new cars (we drive old cars, live in a modest house in a cheap city, and our vacations consist of grilling in the back yard). But student loans, utility bills, health insurance and the mortage has to be paid for. So I work. The article is correct in one respect, you CAN'T have it all. The mark of success is the economic ability to work if you want to, to stay home with your children if you want to. (And this goes for husbands too, because my spouse was quite willing to stay home if we could sacrifice his income).

Success is an illusion if choice isn't part of the equation.

Posted by: claudlaw | May 28, 2010 9:19 AM
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Jimmyjimmy1's quip (May 28, 2010 7:41 AM) is right on the mark. It's not like there is an evil patriarchal scheme at work here. The motive of any successful business, especially one that can afford to pay out six-figure salaries, is primarily profit-driven. One of the best ways to be profitable is by having highly productive employees. And highly productive employees are those who are willing to sacrifice enormous tracts of their personal time to further the success of the business.

But the demands of family life are different than the demands of business life. That fact becomes even starker when we consider that only women can be mothers. Women (and men) *can't* have it all. That's a fact of life. But it's one that's been lost over the years because Americans have unfortunately been groomed to believe that they are entitled to everything.

Posted by: villarrj | May 28, 2010 8:38 AM
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When I saw the title to this article I wondered about the slant. Turned out to be "more benefits."

I read an article a while back (wish I had kept the reference) about women medical doctors. They are much more likely to pursue a medical career part-time than their male counterparts. While the need for doctors is expected to grow, we have to consider women equally, or favorably, for medical school admission.

Posted by: hipshot | May 28, 2010 8:36 AM
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It thrills me to see so many people here pointing out the fallacies in this whine by looking to biology and how women are doing it to themselves. Thank you, guys. Show me a single guy who says he wants to be a stay-at-home dad, and I'll show you a guy who stays single.

After 45 years, isn't it about time we laid this cliched gripe to rest?

Posted by: CaughtInAMosh | May 28, 2010 8:22 AM
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There is a complete double standard in the minds of professional women. They generally won't entertain marrying a man who's much younger or socioeconomically beneath them.

And worse-- with much less integrity-- they say "We want to work. We want to be equal," when they actually don't want to WORK equally long and hard. They want more flexibility and more family time.

A coworker of mine is a woman who works while her husband stays home and raises the kids. It works great. But to have both parents working-- is it worth it? How many people are paying illegal immigrants poverty-level wages under the table to raise their kids? Who's taking care of their kids, in their slums? How is that OK?

Posted by: jakemd1 | May 28, 2010 7:57 AM
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So long as the goal of business is "increased productivity," as defined by the hyper-testosterone performance of young men, anyone who's family-oriented -- including quite a few men, even in their early twenties, will fall by the wayside. Meanwhile, folks trying to "make a living" seek chemical stimulants like ritalin and Red Bull to keep up with an abnormally-driven few.

We need to redefine the function of the economy -- and its measurement -- as supporting nurturing social networks. As for those hyper-drive males, I don't see where their "successful" era on Wall Street has done anyone that much good. Regulate 'em and hold them accountable for personal growth as well as money numbers.

Posted by: revelz | May 28, 2010 7:54 AM
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"...nor have women reached top levels without forfeit or compromise."

Sure, because men need never compromise or sacrifice to reach top levels.

This is lame.

Posted by: jimmyjimmy1 | May 28, 2010 7:41 AM
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You don't get to be good at everything in this life. Employers want a docile servility to the corporate whim. Most people want to have kids and the family whim and corporate whim are at time antithetical.
As for being lonely, part of that is simply: lower your standards of perfection and remember your playground is the human race.

Posted by: citizen625 | May 28, 2010 7:25 AM
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It is not a choice? Then what is it? There are plenty of men available.

Women in this country do have a choice unlike say a Muslim nation- here women can ask a man out and pay for his dinner, chose to sleep with him, marry him, have children with.... it is all women's choice in my opinion.

Posted by: karsanghasi | May 28, 2010 7:19 AM
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Women who choose high powered careers increasingly find themselves forced to live by the same rules by men who choose high powered careers. My wife is a fine woman, a fine employee, a fine mother, and a fine wife...not! I am a high powered professional man, a fine man, a fine employee, a fine father, and a fine husband...not! Anyone who thinks they can 'have it all' on their own terms is naive and a set up for experiencing the pain that follows unrealistic expectations. After 21 years of marriage, my lovely wife and I are divorcing - it's lousy for us, lousy for the kids, and lousy for the universe - but we cannot escape the consequences of our choices!

Posted by: bloommarko4 | May 28, 2010 7:17 AM
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yes, good idea.....not pretending.....hahahahaha

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | May 28, 2010 7:11 AM
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"Being successful in a male venue requires male characteristics. Why is this surprising to some?"


Posted by: Joseph_L_Cooke | May 28, 2010 7:03 AM
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Again, this is no surprise. Many of the managing editors at my workplace (including me) are unmarried and/or childless. Several who have had children have "stepped down" to less stressful positions. I am married but would not be able to put in the hours (conference calls at night, weekend meetings, e-mail at all hours) if I had children.

Posted by: jdangelo1 | May 28, 2010 6:48 AM
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The urge to "marry up" in females is a deeply rooted biological constraint because alpha males make it more likely for her children to survive.

Posted by: edbyronadams | May 28, 2010 6:42 AM
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What is it with women? Why do they believe they are entitled to the best of both worlds? I am married and in order for me to rise to the top of my profession I had to put in some serious hours at work because my bosses (the people paying me) expected no less. My wife and I knew that in order to reach this goal (we both agreed on) that family time would suffer.

Now that we reached our goal I made the choice to spend more time with my family. The bottom line is we made the choice. Not many employers are going to allow anyone (man or woman) to reach the top levels without putting in some serious over the top work. For women to think they are entitled to not have to sacrifice something is beyond naive. This is not an anti-woman/family thing because men are forced to make the same choices.

Posted by: A-Contrario | May 28, 2010 6:34 AM
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Certainly no working woman and I doubt many working men would find the results of the Cornell experiment "shocking." Is the term "mommy track" unfamiliar to Ms. Rezvani?

Posted by: kayebee_18901 | May 28, 2010 6:28 AM
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In some cases the very traits that make a woman successful in the business world (agressive, confident, take-charge, etc.) are traits that many men find unattractive. Many men are either intimidated by such women or prefer to be with partners that will more likely acquiesce to their needs. Some of that preference may be biological for men and some of it may be cultural. For instance, as a Jewish man I find strong, independent women attractive, but that is something that is common in my culture. In my experience many men do not find strong women desireable.

Posted by: kschur1 | May 28, 2010 6:03 AM
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Big surprise! The rules were made by men for men. I disagree. It is a choice. Just how important is it to you to climb that ladder. Are your reasons just for ambition alone? Do you think that as a woman you have something unique to contribute? I just don't know how things are going to change until 1) men can no longer find that one special woman who thinks marrying a successful man is all she needs to do (no matter how old he is 2) the younger generation of men finally realize that a wife and kids are more than just an item on their resumee.

Posted by: tdoeberling | May 28, 2010 5:32 AM
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Women earning more than 100K want mates who earn at least as much. They can have it all if they choose a husband who will stay at home with the kids.

Posted by: Couvade | May 28, 2010 3:08 AM
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As the, ahem, husband of a successful woman, I can assure you, this is not news. It is just the simple axiom that there is not enough time in the day for anyone, man or woman, to have a successful career and be the primary care giver at home. Not surprisingly, most men do not want this responsibility. 'Shockingly'? Employers are not stupid. They want employees that have more of their life to waste working for them. They know parents have other responsibilities. Any of these woman could have a child if they wanted to. Want they can not find is someone to stay home to raise the child for them.

Posted by: jaketen2001 | May 28, 2010 3:02 AM
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