For thirty years, Sue Shellenbarger has been writing the Work and Family column for the Wall Street Journal and I have always enjoyed reading her words. This past week, she penned a farewell article summing up what she sees as advances for working parents as well as areas where she sees problems looming.
I found the piece depressing. Perhaps the sidebar to the article helps to explain why. It highlighted four questions asked of mothers and fathers in a recent poll. They were asked if:
Being a working parent:
- Makes it harder to advance in your job or career.
- Has created a need to reduce your work hours.
- Has made you feel you couldn’t give 100% at work.
- Has caused you to turn down a promotion.
In each of these four questions, the percentage of mothers answering in the positive is larger than that of the fathers. This seems to present an underlying problem for Ms.Shellenbarger, revealing that things haven’t advanced as much as she would like over the past thirty years.
I come from a different perspective. I wouldn’t see it as an advance for the answers to be more 50/50. I actually would have liked to see the questions phrased differently.