The Power to Choose: Finding Validity in Being a Mother, a Boss or Both

| by Maddy Godin |

Girl Boss. ShEO. Boss Lady—all of these names have hit popular discourse and for good reason. The push for gender parity in the workplace has completely shifted in the last decade, as women choose to forgo staying at home and are taking over the working world.

Although this movement towards workplace empowerment is important, it is critical to consider what this means for stay-at-home moms, or the concept of motherhood in general. Since the 1950s, the birth rate has almost halved, which has a positive correlation with the increase of women in the workplace.

Countries where women’s rights movements have grown see a significant drop in their population replenishment rates, or even the age at which women are choosing to have children.

You’re probably wondering why this is the topic I’ve chosen to write about, why would a twenty-year old girl feel the need to write about motherhood? However, the discourse on a women’s role in society creates specific implications for young women and girls.

Growing up all I ever wanted was to be a mom—this was a common theme within my family and hometown. The desire to be a mother. Since coming to university, this has completely shifted. I am now surrounded by young women who want to pursue their post-secondary education further than ever and have goals—and the capabilities—to be CEOs of successful companies and organizations.

So, where does being a mom and a CEO fit into the discourse?

Being a mother is not synonymous with being a CEO. The big decision to choose between your career, as well as motherhood is one that will become more frequent for women of our generation.

The decision of women to choose is not limited to simply choosing to forgo motherhood and pick your career. But also applies to the choice of forgoing a career and being a mother, which there should be no shame—as there is integrity in every decision a woman makes for herself.

Women should feel empowered with whichever decision they make and to whatever degree they might choose to combine both.

I recently watched an episode of Explained on Netflix, which discussed how the gender pay gap may look a little different around the world. But what is seen throughout most of the data is that the gap is more about being a woman with a child than a woman without a child.

This motherhood penalty has been related to the fact that women who have children are often the ones that take on the childcare role, meaning that men or women without children are often able to spend more time in the office and less time at home. This fact may deter woman with children to pursue a career, deter woman who value their career to have children—or deter workplaces from hiring them.

Get you a woman who can do both may be a trending topic online, but is it feasible and will women be fulfilled with the pressure to be super mom and super employee? Women should feel no pressure in their decision and the discourse that currently exists about working women is incredible. It is important that we remember that even those women who choose to have children and stay at home still deserve our support and solidarity.

Written by Maddy Godin, third-year global development major, political studies minor