Women In Business: There's No Easy Choices

Illustration for article titled Women In Business: There's No Easy Choices

Carly Fiorina (rocking that suit, by the way) has an MBA, a stint as a CEO in her background, a 20+ year marriage to another executive type and 2 stepdaughters because children weren't "God's plan" for her. Like a lot of other women, Fiorina probably had to make a lot of choices about the trade-offs between her career and her family — trade-offs that anecdotal evidence (found in today's WSJ) and a recent study (discussed in a recent issue of Business Week) suggest are much more difficult to make in a MBA-track career than many others.Anecdotally speaking, even as the numbers of women in law and medical school have begun to match and even exceed the number of men, women continue to comprise less than a third of business school students. To a degree, this is because business school applicants are expected to have at least 5 years of work experience before taking on two years of additional (and expensive) schooling. What that means in a practical sense is that just as women graduates are finishing the "average" track, they're about to enter their thirties (and their prime years for marriage and child-bearing, if those are alternate goals) at the start of a new stage of their career or a new career entirely. In addition, most business careers are extremely demanding and younger workers are expected to work 60-80 hour weeks, at least, making little time for much else. As Business Week explains, a recent study showed that 30 percent of female Harvard undergrads that went on to get MBAs were stay-at-home mothers fifteen years later, compared to 6 percent of doctors and 30 percent of lawyers. Part of the problem for women in business is the lack of flex-time or part-time options, which doctors are much more likely to take advantage of. In addition, evidence suggests that businessmen with stay-at-home wives earn an average of 30 percent more than their counterparts with working wives — and businesswoman are reportedly more likely to marry businessmen. But, as many businesses are finding out, a diversity of perspectives and experiences is actually beneficial to the bottom line (not that you'll convince the MBA programs of that any time soon). Hopefully, as the upper ranks of the business world continue to bleed women and men who choose to try to find some semblance of a work-life balance, the people who run these companies like meat grinders will begin to recognize that a person looking to escape the grind is just as important an asset as those who stick around to be ground down. The Mommy M.B.A.: Schools Try to Attract More Women [Wall Street Journal] MBA Moms Most Likely to Opt Out [Business Week] Carly Fiorina [Wikipedia]


Erin Gloria Ryan

Carly Firiona was a pretty shitty CEO, in my opinion.

Additionally, while it's frustrating to be of a younger, more progressive mindset in the midst of these dinosaurs sticking to the old ways, keep in mind that the dinosaurs went extinct. The wheels of change are turning, but frustratingly slowly, but they're turning. I'm optimistic that this bullshit isn't always going to be as much of an issue.