Despite the provocative headline that got you this far, I'm sure there's something to it.

So few women top executives exist that I'm sure there's some "boys club" reason behind it in the board rooms of major corporations where, not coincidentally, there are relatively few women.

But what about female line workers: the female clerks, saleswomen, scientists and engineers. Not the woman who aspires to being the CEO, but the woman who, like most men, just wants to earn a living.

I've often wondered about the statistics and have yet to find an answer to this question: are the statisticians comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges?

Here's what I mean: 

Most men are ready to travel or even relocate away from friends and family if it will improve their career opportunities. I strongly suspect that while many woman are also ready to improve their careers in this way, most women are not. 

I strongly suspect that many women still head toward careers in line with natural feminine inclinations to nurture: teaching, nursing, veterinary care and assistantship jobs, art and craft-oriented jobs.

Add to this some of the disadvantages of women in the workplace such as, greater absenteeism (female health and family commitment reasons), more likely to be a smoker (less likely to give up a break in a crisis situation), and less likely to accept a career move if it means leaving office friends behind, and...

...I wonder what the stats about advancement opportunities and pay would look like if one compared the women who were more like men against their male counterparts.

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Aw, c'mon, try it - it'll make you feel SO much better!

Or maybe we could re-read your "blowing your brains out" post - that always makes ME feel so much better.

In fact, that's my point. I think a lot of the statistics showing pay and advancement differentials exaggerate the problem by including in the statistics women who are more traditional, want to be a good mom even if it hinders their advancement, and place friends and family above career. I wonder if we took those women out of the equation what the pay and advancement differential would be. Men, on the whole, are better at being ruthless about their careers whereas women, on the whole (which means, sure there are exceptions), tend to want a balance between career advancement and their relationships with their children and extended family and their friends.

Hey Sarah,

... are always the best person to be there for their children

Wow, just wow.

- kk

Again, I admire the love you have and joy you find in being a mother. I find it a bit circular though to say mothers are the best caregivers because they're mothers. That leaves the question of why unanswered. I believe that environmental pressures first shaped it and cultural pressures now maintain it.

Colleen, I think it's time to admit that you believe that men and women are just exactly the same except for their physiology, and that any other tendencies in terms of sex roles or behavioral differences are due to pernicious social influences. No such thing as a "mothering instinct." You'll have an uphill fight convincing mothers of that one.

Of course, this leaves you to explain why these differences have appeared independently in virtually every culture since time immemorial. Even in matriarchal societies men still hunt and fish and the women cook and care for the children. If anything else worked, where is the society where the women hunt and the men cook and care for the children?

Most of us (male and female) want men to be masculine and women to be feminine. I suspect it will always be so. Here's my anecdote: her mother (an engineer, BTW) and I both encouraged our daughter to excel in school and not let her gender hold her back from pursuing her dreams. As it turned out, she's a mother of three and an elementary school teacher and her kids come first, her husband's career second (he earns so much more as a regional manager than she does as a teacher), and her own career aspirations third. That turned out to e the dream she chose to pursue. Know what? She's happy.

Thank you for telling me what I think unseen. I think that's also wonderful for your daughter. I'm glad that she's happy.

Oh, I was wrong? It seems to be what your perspective adds up to!

You're often wrong when you assume without first seeking to understand

That's why I'm seeking to understand. Refute me.

You are baiting me. There's a difference.

Again, as a single father raising daughters, I must still say there is no substitute for a loving mother's touch. Fathers can be great caregivers, but there is something that a loving mother brings to the table, a gentleness, a feminine-ness, if you will, that no matter how hard we men try, we just can't replace.

This has nothing to do with women breaking or not breaking through the glass ceiling, it has to do with the fact that once you choose to have children - and in the 21st century, it IS a choice - the children must come first, as you, not they, decided they would be here.

Four daughters and a son.  My goodness you had your hands full!

I do not have children yet myself, but as I (kinda) said in a thread before: I hope one day we (my SO and I) can say just this - the kids came first.


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