That’s why professional women often quit their successful careers

November 14th, 2007 - 10:28 am ICT by admin  

Sociologist Pamela Stone has described the situations that force women to quit their careers in Contexts magazine.

“There is a choice gap between the rhetoric of choice and the reality of constraints within the workplace,” she says.

During the study, Stone studied 54 women in-depth from a variety of professions-law, medicine, business, publishing, management consulting, non-profit administration-who lived in major metropolitan areas, roughly half in their 30s and half in their 40s.

The women were highly educated, affluent, mostly white, married with children, who worked as professionals or managers and whose husbands could support their being at home. More than half of them had thriving careers in which they had worked for about a decade and had strong incentives to continue with them.

Stone found that workplace pushes were a significant reason women opted out, and “all but seven women cited features of their jobs-the long hours, the travel-as motivation for quitting.”

Women who tried to rearrange their work schedule “felt like they were being given special favours.”

Stone also found that husbands were a key factor in these women’s decisions as well.

She says: “That not all women talked about their husbands’ involvement, or lack thereof, reveals the degree to which they perceived the work-family balancing act to be their responsibility alone. But women seldom mentioned their husbands for another reason: they were, quite literally, absent,” working long hours at their own jobs.

Stone says that the prevailing misunderstanding about why women quit their careers is suppressing the will to change the modern-day workplace.

“Current demographics make it clear that employers can hardly afford to lose the talents of high-achieving women. Forget opting out; the key to keeping professional women on the job is to create better, more flexible ways to work,” she says. (ANI)

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