I recently read an article in the Boston Herald that talked about women rising to the top-or the fact that right now, less are rising to the top than were previously. According to a study done by Conde Nast the number of female execs at Fortune 500 firms has consistently dropped in the past three years.
I have a theory about this drop. Not sure if I’m dead on, but I believe I could be somewhere in the ball park.
Perhaps my theory come because I’m a mother with two young children who are in that very dependent-upon-mom stage (oh, except for my squirrely four year old who told me yesterday, when I explained why she wasn’t going to have a piece of candy-darn that birthday pinata-that if I didn’t give her the candy, she wouldn’t like me anymore).
My kids need me right now, so my focus is on my home, my family and my children.
Of course I love my job. I love what I do. But I also know that right now, in this part of my life, I have to be here for them.
So, when I see articles that talk about how women are not rising to the top of corporations at the same rate of speed as we once did, or as society would like, I have to wonder if this not rising to the top has to do with women putting off having children until they have established their careers.
We all know that in business, the way you get ahead is by putting in long hours and making the company your top (or one of your top) priorities. We also know that once at the top you have to invest many hours to stay there, especially in the more competitive fields. You must also have the experience in which to run that company, which only comes from putting in a lot of time beforehand.
So I have to wonder if women are dropping out of the high ranking positions, or not making it there at all, because many of us that are at the age where we could be leading companies are actually having children?
If you talk to a lot of women in business, women with careers, women who are working, many of us who are also mothers have put off child rearing for a bit. In fact, studies have been done and waves have been made that show women are putting off motherhood until they hit their mid thirties, sometimes their early (or late) forties. This means many of the women who have enough experience in the workforce and could be rising to the top are actually just starting families.
Just something to think about. I’d love to hear your comments, whether you are a mom at the top of a company who has done both at the same time, a mom who was a the top but left to have children, a woman at the top who is considering having children, or just a mom whose four year old won’t like you if you don’t give in to her every whim. (I think I may need therapy after that!)