Due in large part to the release of Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg's new book "Lean In," for the first time in a long time there is a robust discussion about how to recruit and keep more women in leadership positions being had on a large scale. Underscoring these discussions is the issue of how children and work-life balance impede the advancement of women in the workplace.
Mike Winerip writes and anchors the Booming blog for The New York Times. He says that his experiences have lead him to believe that this isn't a gender issue. He was on the fast track to becoming a top editor at The New York Times when he made the unconventional decision to lean out and anchor the home while his wife worked as the breadwinner. He continued to work as a journalist but did so from home and turned down advancements in his career to accommodate running a busy house, a sacrifice made more often by women than by men.
Winerip’s experiences have lead him to believe that the blessing of children is also a major career limitation, regardless of your gender, and rightfully so. He doesn't believe that family-friendly workplace changes will reduce the burden on parents or catapult women to high-powered positions because the nature of high-powered work is just not friendly.
"Sometimes you think you have it, sometimes you think you're on top of it," says Winerip of his experiences balancing work life and home life. "You write a great story or a good story and you can still do the kids ball game you can coach and it all falls into place. And then there's an emergency the next day or a kid throws up and you're on the verge of falling apart."
"Our generation — I'm a baby boomer — we're the first ones who've done this. Some of it is a luxury. It's very, very hard but it's about having had the educational opportunities, having an economy that was mostly expanding, having all kinds of professional opportunities. And more opportunities can bring more challenges."
The Takeaway recently partnered with YouGov for a survey on work-life balance. Here are a few of the results:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2132 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th - 21st March 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+). You can view the full results of the survey here.