I read an interesting article the other day regarding the difference in pay between men and women.
The author wondered if perhaps part of this discrepancy was due in part to men having the ability to go out and network after hours. Golf on Saturday, beers on Friday night . . . is it easier for men to get out and socialize with pals from the workforce than it is for women to do the same?
Females who don’t have families might have an easier time stopping at Joe’s Bar for a beer on Friday evening. A female with a family? Probably not. Chances are the babysitter, daycare center or family member that is watching the child is expecting the mom to come by at some point and pick the child up – and they don’t want her driving up smelling like a bar. And once the child has been picked up mom then needs to ensure her family has dinner and gets to bed at a certain time. Not much time for socializing in that schedule!
Certainly we can hire a babysitter for a few nights out of networking, but at $10 an hour that money adds up. Before you know it a quick $4 beer turns into a $40 event. Unless you are guaranteed a sale or a raise, $40 a few times a month could really put a dent in the old wallet.
When we have a family to tend to, someone has to tend to the family. Could the dad pick up the kids and take care of them while mom socializes? Sure, and I know it happens a lot. When I regularly attended NAWBO dinner meetings each month my husband made it a point to come home early and take over the household duties so I could go network.
Mind you, I said when I attended regularly . . . because, sadly, I no longer do.
I’m still a member, and I still want to attend, but the truth is life has gotten in the way. And yes, most of that life is my family. Am I complaining? Absolutely not. I understood this when I had children so I am okay with the shift.
Which leads me to this: Could it be that the discrepancy in salary between men and women is just that many women at some point in their careers will stop and have children, and that when we pause to do so our priorities switch from climbing our way up the corporate ladder to having and taking care of our family?
I do think we can be successful in our careers and successful as parents. I do not believe that the two cannot coexist. Yet I also don’t think that you can give yourself 100% to two things all of the time.
As moms I believe that we try. We work, we cook, we attend the kids’ games. But by not slowing down in one area we are heading for a huge crash, so ultimately something has to take the backseat. Many times, that becomes our jobs.