Someone shared this HuffPo piece on my Facebook feed:
The newly-combined global HR leadership team were coming together for the first time at the Zurich headquarters and the CEO was going to be opening the meeting and addressing the HR team. I was really looking forward to the meeting and the opportunity to focus on the growth and performance strategy and to hear what the CEO had to say about the role HR would play.
I then realized that my 5-year-old daughter’s birthday assembly at school would be taking place on the first day of the HR conference, at exactly the same time that the CEO would be addressing us. I had always had a full-time job and had remembered one piece of advice from another Mom: “Don’t ever miss the birthday assembly.” I went back and forth in my mind. I was concerned about getting off on the wrong foot with my new boss by not attending the start of the meeting, and wondered if would I be making a career-killing decision if I explained that I would be attending the birthday assembly and would fly to Zurich in the afternoon but would miss the CEO’s address.
Did you notice that somebody’s missing from this story? Somebody else who could have gone to the birthday assembly? Somebody with a penis?
You read articles like this all the time, usually under some heading that says, in many words or few, “Women can’t have it all.” But what these articles call “having it all” and treat as an impossible fantasy – being a good, loving parent without sacrificing work ambition — is what men call “daily life.”
And that’s part of the problem. If you start from the position that raising children is a colossal amount of work, and that fathers are not going to participate in that work, then, yeah, women have some very tough choices to make. But only one of those assumptions is a fact of nature.