Women at Work: ‘Having it all’ versus ‘balls in the air’

While the proportion of women in the workplace has increased, there continues to be a wide discrepancy between those women in staff and management postions. McKinsey’s MD Domic Barton’s presentation stresses the importance of women being employed throughout the pipeline in organisations

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Lack of support is often bandied about as the main reason for the fall off in the number of women in management positions. While organisations are encouraged to provide support through family-friendly and anti-discrimination policies and practices, line management support is equally important in understanding the needs of staff to work flexible hours for instance. 

Beyond organisation-based support, encouragement and support must be forthcoming from a spouse/partner, who is willing to share in the childcare responsibilities in order to enable the female to be the sole breadwinner or to play a significant part in a dual career household. Support from the extended family is also important, be in in childcare or more fundamentally in providing emotional support for the mother at work. Society at the macro level is also relevant in the perception of ‘mothers who work’ which influences the career development choices of mothers. Finally, and equally relevant, is the support required by working mothers from themselves, at the introspective level, where the challenges, guilt and stress from pursuing an active career balanced with having a family are articulated, understood and overcome.

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About Marian Crowley-Henry

Dr Marian Crowley-Henry is a lecturer in human resource management, international management and organisational behaviour/theory in the Department of Management at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. She is the programme director of the MSc HRM/HRD. Marian’s current research interests are in international human resource management, self initiated expatriation, migration, careers and identity, and supervises PhD research students in those areas.