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Rachel Responds

Motherhood causing inequality in workplace

Rachel Woodman

December 13, 2012

Your perceptions of inequality between the sexes in the workplace may be inaccurate.
Women are not being excluded from pay or positions within corporations because of men, but because women as a whole do not want these positions.

“Did you know only 6 percent of pilots are women?” said Turningpoint’s Executive Director Kim Wojcik. Wojcik was frustrated about inequality in the workforce.

“Let me ask you this,” I responded, “how many women actually applied to be a pilot?”
I went on to explain. All women have to do is want the position and, with a little fuss and intense media coverage, we’d get it. Many women simply do not want these positions.
Our task as women, is to show our sisters and daughters the excitement of having these jobs ourselves.

Not every woman shares the desire to work outside the home today. Many more do today than in our parent’s generation and many more will after us.

Only 6.61 percent of women are commercial pilots, according to a 2010 study listed on the Women in Aviation International website.

Wojcik is correct, few women are pilots. This may be a reflection of an inequality gap caused by motherhood.

More women work part-time or leave jobs for their families (motherhood) than men, according to the New York Times article “Motherhood Still a Cause of Pay Inequality.” The article details how difficult it is to determine a gender pay gap, due to how many factors affect a person’s pay.

Differences in education and experience result in differing pay, regardless of gender.
Women opting to mother children need flexible hours, want part-time jobs and wouldn’t have the same career path someone else would want. The pay gap that may ensue is unlikely, due to the actual gender of the candidate.

College students: how many of your female Facebook friends have children and are mothers? I have 21.

In fact, many of my hometown female friends have wanted to be full-time moms since they graduated high school.

Men are not keeping women out of certain careers. Women are simply not seeking them.
Women account for only 18 percent of engineering majors, but account for 79 percent of education majors, according to a study by the American Association of University Women.
Women aren’t studying education over engineering because they won’t be hired competitively as an engineer. More women simply want to  be teachers.

Can a woman handle a job in aviation, engineering or politics?

I have no doubt that they could.

But a woman looking to have a family may not seek such a career.

Wojcik said her husband works from home, which allowed her to travel and experience the world.

Now, not every married woman has a husband who can be so flexible to allow for non-traditional forms of rearing the children.

However, every single woman is capable of marrying a man who will allow her to travel. Although many traditional men exist (as do women), this doesn’t mean every bachelor expects a wife to stay home with children.

The number of stay-at-home dads has doubled in the last decade. According to the U.S. Census Bureau there were 81,000 full-time dads in 2001 and 176,000 in 2011.

This is 3.4 percent of total parents. Not all husbands are willing to stay at home full-time, but this doesn’t mean that many more aren’t willing to share parenthood responsibilities.

Ladies, there are bachelors who want you to be successful and don’t expect you to stay at home.

Don’t change your dreams for someone. Find someone who shares your dreams.

I graduate Dec. 15 and, going into my career, I’m confident that I will be a successful female. My success will be a combination of exploration, traveling, a career I adore and eventually a husband that won’t stifle my love for that career.

As my generation ages and our daughters grow up knowing the joy that comes with hard work, which stems from both career and family, they too will seek this same success.

Women owe it to each other to congratulate one another on successes and to build one another up, rather than compete with each other.

We also need to respect that some of us want a career as a mother, not as a rocket scientist.

We can be our own successes by the journey that we choose for ourselves.

Rachel Woodman is a senior majoring in marketing communications and minoring in journalism. She loves to work hard, play hard, and use clichés! Look for her Facebook page “Rachel Responds” and email her your questions or topic ideas to QuestionsForRachel@live.com.