Sheryl Sandberg: Many women give up on their careers before they even begin



I’m pretty torn about how I feel about this article referencing Sheryl Sandberg’s thoughts on women and their careers.  It states:

Sandberg says many women are quietly checking out of their careers, years before they actually start a family. She believes women rarely make a sweeping decision to give up work to look after children, but instead make a string of choices from early on that propel them towards that end result, none the less.

But rather than reinforcing firms’ grumbles over maternity leave, her point was that more openness (in companies) could actually help women themselves, as well as helping companies plan staffing and maternity leave.

I think openness is a great thing…if it is equitable.  If companies want to be able to talk to women about their family plans, shouldn’t they also ask men?

Theoretically, the answer is yes, but the problem is that the question would never be put to a man because it is assumed that having children is in no way going to alter their performance or commitment to their work. Not the case for women.

A pretty taboo subject to tackle and I commend her for it, however, I’m not sure saying women “give up” before they even try is absolutely accurate.


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  1. I absolutely agree with this article and the idea. I would love open discussion. It is far preferred to me than covert discrimination and rumours that so-and-so is going to be pregnant soon so let’s keep her on contract, etc. I work at a library with mainly women and the 20/30 somethings are fleeing for other work that gives more mat leave benefits, more security post-mat leave, and more money for that mat leave. And none are pregnant or close to it.

  2. The cultural shift that needs to happen regarding women, men and careers working with family life is epic. Taking steps and opening dialogue is crucial to all members of society. I think Sandberg is right that women look at their careers more holistically than men, we see the bigger picture. That being said many men of our generation are more family focused than their father’s were. I don’t see that way of looking at life as pulling back necessarily…each woman has to make that choice for herself. And it is true that we should wait and make it when the time comes rather than limiting ourselves but not everyone wants to be or is meant to be the CEO.\

  3. I would totally agree. It’s such a sad state. I am mid-30s, just finished my second masters degree. My husband and I moved to a new city immediately after I finished my recent masters-he was starting a phd, hence and am working the move. I was preggers when we moved. That didn’t work out as planned but we’re back at it and i’m hesitant to look for work in the hopes that i’ll be on maternity leave soon and i know as a new employee i’d be lucky to get 3 months-oh if you hadn’t guessed we’re in the US.

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