Women are not achieving their career goals, not because they are opting out of the workforce after they have kids, but because they are allowing their partners’ careers to take precedence over their own, a new Harvard Business School study points out.
The study’s authors interviewed 25,000 men and women who graduated from Harvard Business School over the past several decades.
The male graduates were much more likely to be in senior management positions and have more responsibility and more direct reports than their female peers.
It’s not because women are leaving the workforce. That figure is lower for women of colour—only 7 percent stopped working. The vast majority (74 percent) of Gen Xers, women who are currently 32-48 and in the prime of their child-rearing years, work full time, an average of 52 hours a week.
When they graduated, more than half of male grads said they expected their careers would take precedence over their partners’. The majority of women said they assumed they would have egalitarian marriages in which both spouses’ careers were taken equally seriously.
As the study was published on social platform two commentators brought a fresh perspective to the debate, Steve Beene wrote that “men’s choices are work from the time you hit adulthood until you have enough to retire or work until you die.
“And all the talk of men taking time off, for some folks that works – but for a lot of couples it seems that a lot of women lose respect for the guy if he’s not out making the money.
“But – it’s all men’s fault.
“See – I don’t think it’s anyones “fault” – people make choices. A relationship is two people. Neither should be able to make unilateral decisions.
“At least women have the option of taking time off – but it comes at the price of not advancing a career. That’s not a punishment – it’s a choice.
“Google a study of female Harvard Business grads who graduated from 1980, 1985, and 1990. Less than 15% are working full time now. And this is the “go getter group” if there ever was one. Is that men’s fault too?
“Did all the guys telepathically get together to be “regressive” of did those women all make the individual choice to not work full time?
In response to the argument, Jane Beagley, a comentator said ‘that men’s fears about staying home are not that their spouses will look down on them but their other social and work connections will. Men who do stay home bear this out, receiving gratitude and pride from their partners, but skepticism and disrespect from society’
“Women entering the workforce faced (and still face) similar social sanction for “neglecting” their home duties, particularly if they prioritize their careers and accomplishments, but the support of feminism and their own desire for financial independence have bridged their gap.
“The primary reason for divorce cited (and corroborated) by working wives with non-working spouses is that husbands refused to take on caregiving and housekeeping even if they were unemployed. It only exacerbated their sense of being “unmanned” by unemployment and it tore their families apart.
“And on the contrary, many women have worked to support men engaged in non-paying endeavors. Struggling writers, students, painters, and accomplished men of all stripes have had spouses throughout time who took in laundry, co-signed their loans, and labored to support their husbands’ endeavors. While there is indeed reluctance to support caregiver husbands, those tides are changing too, and well they should.
“What I primarily desire is that ALL people take some responsibility for change and justice. I expect all individuals to do what is right, to have the courage to buck social norms that are unjust or hurtful to their loved ones. And I have no patience with people willing to let a wife sacrifice her career because they can’t bear the jeering of the guys at the bar. S*** it up and cry me a river.”
Source: National Post