Should Career-Driven Women Make More Sacrifices?

The age-old battle between career and family continues

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For women the trade off of success and sacrifice tends to relate to making the choice between having a family or a successful career. Sometimes, that choice is a hard one to make — if women even feel there’s a need to make it. Maggie Penman of NPR takes a look at women in emerging nations who are making it work.

Statistics show that although there’s an increase in the amount of women who hold professional degrees in the United States only 14% of those women hold executive level positions. In contrast, women in emerging nations are making tremendous strides in executive level positions. Penman writes:

“In India, 11 percent of CEOs of the top companies are female,” economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett tells NPR’s Renee Montagne. “The figure here is 3 percent. In Brazil, 12 percent of CEOs are female. It’s also a country with a female head of state. So we have to understand that in some ways, women in these emerging markets are pointing the way.”

Another aspect that Penman points out is the number of women who leave their careers in their 30s in the U.S and Europe. She cites problems with childcare options being a major deterrent. Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In also mentions this phenomenon in her book stating that ”43% of highly qualified women with children are leaving careers or off-ramping for a period of time.” Paulette Light a writer for The Atlantic chronicles her experience in being the 43% and how difficult it is to re-enter the workforce.

Are you the 43%? Does a woman need to choose between a career or a family? According to Penman women lose 18% of their earning power during the time they are “off-ramping”. What do you suggest should be done to keep women in their careers in the U.S?

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