Facts of Life for Women Who Work

Here are some excerpts from “Management Women and the New Facts of Life,” an essay written by Felice N. Schwartz for the Harvard Business Review.

Career-primary women, those who put careers above all else, must “remain single or at least childless” or be satisfied to have others raise their children.

“Some 90% of executive men but only 35% of executive women have children by the age of 40.”

“The unique drawback to the employment of women is the physical reality of maternity and the particular socializing influence maternity has had.”


“Men at the top of the organization--most of them over 55, with wives who tend to be traditional--often find career women ‘masculine’ and difficult to accept as colleagues.”

After maternity leave, “part-time employment is the single greatest inducement to getting women back on the job expeditiously.”

The “glass ceiling” is a “misleading metaphor. The barriers to women’s leadership occur when potentially counterproductive layers of influence on women--maternity, tradition, socialization--meet management strata pervaded by the largely unconscious preconceptions, stereotypes and expectations of men.”