Don’t leave it too late to ruin your career by having babies!

Two headlines from the Life and Style section in The Herald:

“Don’t leave babies too late, says expert”

and

“Starting a Family Still ‘Damages Careers’ “

The first one is about how many women are leaving their babymakin’ later and later, and shouldn’t expect to be able to fall back on technology to help them out if they do so. It also includes the quote

Couples beginning relationships late in life and women’s focus on career – combined with the ease of access to fertility treatments – are tempting couples to wait until later to try for a child.

Well, is the focus on careers a surprise, given that – as the second article tells me-

Despite years of equality, women who leave their jobs to have children still face a tough career progression, say unions.

Helen Kelly, president of the Council of Trade Unions, said it was difficult for women to maintain an equal foothold in the workplace, particularly after having a baby.

“Many women who return to work return to jobs where they are overqualified, or at a lower level of pay.”

and

Employers and Manufacturers Association employment services manager David Lowe says employers have made giant leaps in working with women who leave to start a family.

But he admits that anyone who takes extended leave from a business poses difficulties for their bosses.

So yeah, it really isn’t surprising that women are putting off having kids because of their career worries, as the first article told me. I was just a touch amused to see both articles posted on the same day, almost side-by-side. I feel it gives a false impression that these two issues aren’t as intertwined as they are; at least the content of the articles does acknowledge that this is the case.

3 Comments

  1. Katherine says:

    I love your headline.

    I’d like to point out that taking extended leave generally doesn’t hurt businesses; I’ve seen plenty of people take extended leave where I’m working, and it hasn’t been a problem for my employer. It’s fairly straightforward to shuffle people around within a team to cover missing people (as it should be – what if it wasn’t and then one of your staff got sick? died?) and fairly straightforward to hire people on a fixed term contract to cover a position if reshuffling isn’t an option. I realise that this doesn’t really apply to small businesses, but again, if small businesses can’t cover adequately when staff are sick, they have no business being in business. Anything like extended leave is going to have significantly more warning (noone needs maternity leave from day 1 of pregnancy, right?) and thus is going to be less damaging to the business than someone getting sick.

    • Katherine says:

      I was thinking of the comic at this link: A brief history of corporate whining when I commented.

      • steph says:

        Heh, thanks for the cartoon Katherine, I really did laugh out loud!

        I agree with your points about how working with needs for leave is actually not a big deal; once again, I suppose, it is attitudes towards women/their choices that seem to be provoking the negativity, not any actual circumstances/difficulties. Damn women, always having kids to sustain the existence of human kind, and making bosses reshuffle duties/hire a temp.