Keeping Mum
Dita De Boni looks at the trials and tribulations of being a parent.

Revealed: What women really want

File photo / Dean Purcell
File photo / Dean Purcell

I was reading The Woman's Day the other day (sorry Alison Mau!) and came across Greer Robson's column. I am lead to believe from reading it that she wants another child, meaning three.

Another women's mag, another celebrity with three children. Wendy Petrie. Is three the new two?

I believe, for those that can afford it (and for some who can't!) we are getting back into wanting bigger families, and women are wanting to put the brakes on high flying careers in favour a mixture of part time work and family time (and/or "me"time).

Have women turned their backs on the full time employment, work-your-way-up-the-corporate ladder grindstone?

I wonder if it is a generational thing. Both my mother and Ali's mum went back to work soon after having kids - you did in those days. And if you think of the women that climbed the journalism ladder, if they are still around and going strong I doubt they were working flexi-time schedules during the 1980s and early 90s. They worked their butts off to stay abreast of their male colleagues.

They wanted to compete with vigour in the workplace.

That doesn't mean many, many women aren't working, but it seems possible to me that more are doing it because they feel they have to rather than not wanting to loose their place in the work hierarchy. And they are looking for ways to make it fit their family lives, perhaps not so much the other way round?

This Australian article concurs.

Apparently, women have moved away from thinking they can "do it all". They value friends and family, keeping fit and community work over workplace success.

If this in fact applies to all women, rather than just those with young children, the workplace will have to eventually reflect this, and what it will probably mean is that fewer women make it to executive level of medium and large companies.

This will not, perhaps, rebound on women like the Wendy Petrie and Greer Robsons of the world, who might always have recourse to certain types of work that can accommodate their schedules (and probably also have the means to ensure lots of choice about what work they take up and when).

For individual women, their husbands and their families, this might all be good news. But for the economic health of the country it may not be such a great thing. After all, New Zealand needs entrepreneurs, strategists, and strong and capable managers to keep the business rolling in.

If half of the population has effectively opted out of this route, can New Zealand compete in the world economy, can New Zealand compete in the world to the best of our abilities?

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