Archive for the 'Career' Category

In the news: Women with children working more, longer

Working Mother and her childThu Jun 12, 9:08 AM ET

Women with children are working more than ever before despite the so-called “opting out” revolution popularized by the media, according to a new study.

Using data from the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey, Christine Percheski, of Princeton University, found that the number of full-time working mothers born between 1966 and 1975 has risen to 38 percent, up from 5.6 percent among women born between 1926 and 1935.

“What’s happening is that professional women’s employment rates are continuing to creep up every year, and even women with young children are increasing their employment,” Percheski said in an interview.

Less than eight percent of professional women born after 1956 have left the workforce for more than a year during their prime childbearing years, according to the finding published in the American Sociological Review.

Little boy sits patiently with his mother who is working in the hot sun, on a day when the temperature in the shade was 108 degrees. The notion that women are choosing to “opt out” of their fast-paced professional careers in favor of staying home to raise children has been vastly overblown by the media, Percheski said.

What’s more, factors such as longer working hours and societal pressure to stay home to be with the children has created a false perception among the public that women are being forced out of the workplace.

“In fact, women are feeling less pressure to stay at home, and public acceptance towards employment of mothers — even women with young children — is increasing,” she added.

But combining a professional career and motherhood doesn’t come without sacrifices, Percheski found.

“What’s amazing is that women who chose to work are not spending less time with their children, but they’re decreasing the time they spend sleeping, the time they spend on leisure activities, and the time they spend in civic participation,” Percheski explained.

“So yes, they’re successfully combining motherhood and employment but it comes at a cost,” she said.

The shift in the working dynamic has meant a renegotiation in gender roles in the family, such as men picking up more of the housework, said Percheski.Mother & Daughter - Burmese Refugee Camp

Working mothers are also spending more time at their jobs, the study found. More than 15 percent of those born after 1956 work 50 hours or more a week, compared to less than 10 percent among women born in earlier years.

The rise of women in the workforce is poised to continue as educational levels continue to rise and women seek out high-level careers, Percheski said.

“It’s getting to the point where it might not make sense to talk about the choice between work and no work, it’s about how much work,” she said.

(Reporting by Lara Hertel; editing by Patricia Reaney)

 

backing up

the only thing better than experiencing rites of passage is experiencing them again.  most people get their driver’s license in their mid to late teens — and i’m no exception.  when i was 18, i got my license and enjoyed my next 15 years of driving.  but when i moved into the city, my car became such a burden, i got rid of it.  the only time i even used the car was when i was moving it from one street to another to avoid getting tickets on street sweeping days.  my license eventually expired and i used my passport as ID for the next 6 years or so. 

it became evident that i still needed a driver’s license when my 23 year old assistant had to do all the driving on business trips.  after much public ridicule, i decided to get a driver’s license again.  late last year, i took the written test (and ACED it in 42 seconds, thankyouverymuch — which i think is a record).  at 39 years old, i proudly posessed a DC learner’s permit.  a friend loaned me her car and my boyfriend took me out for practice drives.  and today, i took the road test and am once again a legally licensed driver. 

so here i am, approaching 40 and getting my driver’s license like i’m sweet 16.  it occurred to me that i’ve been in reverse through life stages for the last decade or so.  in my early 30s, i reached the apex of my adulthood when my ex and i bought a 4 bedroom house in the burbs, where we lived with 2 cats and our slowly dying relationship.  we commuted 2 hours to work every day and spent quiet evenings at home, pretending like we were happy.  i wore suits, heels and hose with trendy handbags and a briefcase.  my greatest joy was finding that perfectly functional and aesthetic coffee table or a sale on mulch.  my weekends were spent raking leaves, cleaning gutters or drywalling.  shopping became a sport as i tried to fill that big house with stuff.  in the end, there wasn’t enough stuff to fill the house.  and there wasn’t enough love to resuscitate our dead relationship.

after 3 years, he was gone and i was working full time while finishing my master’s degree.  in need of positive cash flow, i took in roommates, making the house more like a grouphouse.  after a couple years, i sold the house, moved into an apartment in the city and traded my car for a shiny red huffy bike.  my commute went from a 2 hour drive-bus-metro combo to a 10 minute bike ride.  

in 2004, i moved to an even smaller studio apartment, roughly the size of my parents’ living room.  now, my greatest joy is exploring the city and i spend nights and weekends doing whatever the hell i want.  heels and hose have been replaced with vans and jeans.  a smart and functional messenger bag has taken the place of those trendy handbags.  in place of a dead relationship, i now have a vibrant, riotous ruckus of a relationship.  i have morphed into a 9 year old.

miraculously, i made it through adulthood and lived to tell about it.  proceed with caution.  it’s not for everyone.