Do childless career women suffer because their co-workers think they’re cold and strange? According to the May 18, 2009 Daily Mail online site, that’s what Dr. Caroline Gatrell found in researching her book Embodying Women’s Work. Gatrell, from the Lancaster University Management School in the UK, reported that women without children are often seen as lacking “an essential humanity.” Plus, if they’re of child-bearing age, their bosses don’t promote them because they might still get pregnant.
Okay, but how about all those moms trying to juggle child-care and work and getting turned down for promotions and dissed by co-workers because they can’t work late and have to dash out to pick up the kids at pre-school?
It appears to be a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation, doesn’t it?Whether you’re a mother or not, ownership of a working uterus appears to make you suspect. If you’ve got children, you can’t be totally loyal to the company. If you haven’t, either you’re going to spring a baby on them one of these days or you’re just plain weird. Is this the 21st century or not?
Personally, I have certainly experienced sexism and ageism, but I don’t think I have missed out on anything at work because I did not have children. I did have some moms drop their work on me because of their mothering needs. But I also saw moms who worked more hours than I did.
I’m a clock-watcher. I admit it. What employers really needed to worry about with me was that I would always rather be doing my freelance writing and music than working for anyone else. In essence, my books are my babies. And if I was in the middle of writing a song when it was time to go to work, I was going to be late. The song took precedence.
What do you think? Do you believe employers see childless women, especially those who are childless by choice, as heartless and odd? Have you experienced moms slacking because of their kids? Have you noticed women getting stuck in their careers because they carry ticking time bombs in their bellies? Let’s talk about it.