Childless professional women worry about the impact of motherhood on their careers

A recent study of 25,000 women between ages 28 and 40 found most women believe that having children will adversely affect their careers. The study was conducted in the UK by gender equality campaign group Opportunity Now. The study also found that two thirds of childless women surveyed said they are expected to work longer hours than their colleagues who are parents, resulting in feelings of resentment. Just over half also said they view their colleagues with children as “less committed” to their jobs, in part because they tend to work more flexible hours. Helena Morrissey, chairman of Opportunity Now said:

“There’s a widespread view that those who work flexibly will progress less quickly than their peers.”

Canadian author, Reva Seth disagrees with the messaging that motherhood is detrimental to women’s careers. Based on over 500 interviews, in her new book The MomShift, Seth argues that there are many women who are making career and motherhood work – and finding fulfillment. Seth found that flexibility and childcare were very important requirements when trying to juggle career and motherhood successfully.  She described her own experience of combining a career and motherhood:

“Having a kid really focused me. I was really ambitious… I felt like I had unlimited time. And then suddenly having a child made me feel ‘Oh my god, I’m getting old! Pull it together, do something with myself.’ You need to take yourself more seriously, and I think that makes other people take you more seriously. So there were a lot of good things that came from it.”

Read more about the UK based study here.

Read more about Reva Seth’s book here.

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