The Child Care Conundrum

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May 27, 2014

Should working moms lean in, opt out, or something in between? When it comes to careers, motherhood is a condition that, rightly or wrongly, is blamed for lower earnings, slower advancement, and the absence of women from the workforce. At the crux of every discussion about the “mommy wars” or “having it all” is the overwhelming, expensive mess that is child care in the United States — and the many difficulties women who work outside the home face because of it.

“I’m 31 years old, and my career is slowly getting away from me because I have to be concerned about the child care options for my daughter and how she’s raised,” says Celia Garcia Perez, whose little girl, Nayeli, will be 2 in June.

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By:   |   May 27, 2014

3 Comments

  1. Julie Davies says:

    We discussed this at a “Young Women and the Economy” roundtable discussion presented by Generation Progress in Las Vegas this evening. Yes, motherhood can be expensive and it can derail a career path. I took the “mommy track” many times and my salary suffered, my resume may have some gaps, and I may have been paid less than a fair wage in the future because of it, However, I will never regret putting my career second to being available to be there for my children when they needed me. No one could do it better than me (but I could be replaced at work) and no one would ever appreciate what I have done for them in my jobs like my daughters appreciate the time I gave to their development. I will say, though, that I do not agree with the mindset that would justify paying a woman less because of gaps in her resume (one of the common excuses for the gender pay gap). First, we should value, as a society, the sacrifices people make to nurture the next generation. Second, motherhood and childcare can help develop extraordinary management skills and experience. Third, when I returned to a management position after a Mommy-track sabbatical, I was told that I would earn less than a man who didn’t have a gap in his resume. I asked if I would then be expected to do less of the work or achieve less of the requirements for my job. No. If the gap doesn’t affect performance then it shouldn’t affect the amount we are paid.

  2. […] Vincent’s story was featured in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Outlook. Read more about how the lack of child care is hurting women. […]

  3. […] AAUW: The Child Care Conundrum Should working moms lean in, opt out, or something in between? When it comes to careers, motherhood is a condition that, rightly or wrongly, is blamed for lower earnings, slower advancement, and the absence of women from the workforce. At the crux of every discussion about the “mommy wars” or “having it all” is the overwhelming, expensive mess that is child care in the United States — and the many difficulties women who work outside the home face because of it. […]

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