On Chasing The Elusive Rainbow

Image from Stocky. Image by Carolyn Laggatuta.

Image from Stocky. Image by Carolyn Laggatuta.

I grew up in a matriarchy, where women were and continue to be the key decision makers in their families. Women being 'in charge' was normal to me. It wasn't until I started working and through subsequent reads of books like Sheryl Sandberg's  Lean In, that I realized that my upbringing was far from how the world actually works as there was a definite gender gap which seemed forever skewed towards men.

More research showed that this bias was skewed even more against all brown and black women on the planet. A fact which I had considered but was saddened to get clear factual confirmation about.

But in my musings about work-live balance and the gender pay gap the same question kept popping up.

 

Can women truly have it all and be it all, or are we chasing an elusive rainbow? 

 

In other words, are we chasing what's simply impossible to achieve? Is it possible to be an amazing mother who bakes every cake sale, as well as a successful boardroom boxer who is climbing up the corporate ladder faster than there are rungs, not to mention an attentive friend who never forgets your birthday, a loving partner who still looks as sexy as she did in her 20's and a not forgetting a caring daughter ALL the time?

Yikes! 

Most women know they can't do all the above, but that doesn't stop the existing pressure to be all the above. The truth is some women at some point in their lives will need to choose between their family and their careers.  

(For the record, there's absolutely nothing wrong with choosing family over work. The point is that picking one over the other is a choice some women HAVE to make, which shouldn't be the case).

 The Atlantic recently launched a series of essays about women and work-life balance. The Ambition Interviews are an eye-opening must read, not only for career-oriented woman but for women in general.

The essays looked at the lives of top performing women, years after they graduated from University to see if they all achieved the great things they said they would. 

Granted this specific case study occurs in the States, I found many parallels with life here in South Africa. 

 

The biggest take out from the article was that most women cannot have it all. The women that can are rich enough to afford to pay for support.

 

Depressing right?

Not entirely, over the next few weeks we'll be asking a few Wonder Women outliers who have achieved this superhuman feat of work-life balance just how they do it and if they have managed to catch the elusive rainbow and 'have-it-all'.

That is of course if there is such a thing.

 

MORE SOURCES:

Here's a few more podcasts on work-life balance.

The Great Girlfriends Club

Women of The Hour

Stuff Mom Never Told You

Working Woman Entrepreneur

Magic Lessons

 

Hey Kudisco!

 

 

 

Natasha MaraComment