Off site comment capture:
Schott’s Vocab , The New York Times, discussed the “hour-glass ceiling” imposed on women unable to meet the time demand required by their employers to move forward in their career. Someone wrote a response I found ignorant and potentially misleading to others, so I had to respond.
- Social roles are a mix of nature and nurture, and while they are negotiated to some extent between two people, they are also imposed on people by society around them. It is not easy for a man and a woman to “negotiate” an equal amount of time for their children, as both are judged by society. This further hurts opportunities for career advancement.
- Time is a limited resource. Companies who regularly require significantly more time than the regular work week of their employees are stealing not just hours, but opportunities and quality of life. They make it harder for employees to not only live their lives, but find alternative employment with reasonable hours. When such time is required for career advancement, they are basically requiring the employee to agree to be a victim, in order to contribute the most they can to society and the workplace.
- While mates may be chosen, they can also die, develop diseases, or simply prove to have lied about their willingness to lend support prior to marriage. Or two healthy, mutually supportive mates may choose to throw their weight behind one person to advance in their career, with the other person restricting their hours to the normal work week to care for the young. In a world where their employers take shameless advantage of them and in which men traditionally are more successful, whom do you think they will choose to support?
- You can’t have everything, but you should have a chance to succeed. Yes, if you have children you have fewer resources for other things. But if someone attempts to steal from the minimal resources you have, including time, that’s still wrong.
- It’s not necessarily so that family trumps career morally. A doctor, for example, may save lives on a regular basis. Even if it were morally correct to choose family over career, basking in the superiority of that choice is neither virtuous nor useful, and doesn’t increase your ability to contribute to society.
- For many, the desire to excel at work is a strong drive not because they want the marks of success, but because people feel good when they are able to use their skills and talents to their fullest capacity. This is neither materialistic nor immoral, and in fact it can be argued it’s immoral *not* to make the best use of your gifts possible.
If smart, talented women must continue to choose between passing on their talents genetically (quite a lottery, there!) or in the workplace, then society is losing out.