March 12th, 2015
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I secretly rolled my eyes at a mother who couldn’t make it to last minute drinks with me and my team. I questioned her “commitment” even though she arrived two hours earlier to work than me and my hungover colleagues the next day.
I didn’t disagree when another female editor said we should hurry up and fire another woman before she “got pregnant.”
I sat in a job interview where a male boss grilled a mother of three and asked her, “How in the world are you going to be able to commit to this job and all your kids at the same time?” I didn’t give her any visual encouragement when the mother – who was a top cable news producer at the time – looked at him and said, “Believe it or not, I like being away from my kids during the workday… just like you.”
I scheduled last minute meetings at 4:30pm all of the time. It didn’t dawn on me that parents might need to pick up their kids at daycare. I was obsessed with the idea of showing my commitment to the job by staying in the office “late” even though I wouldn’t start working until 10:30 am while parents would come in at 8:30 am.
Tracy Moore adds:
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about how women can succeed in the workplace, but underneath all of it still lies the unspoken refrain that in order to appear driven and capable, you must forego a family until you’ve moved up enough to command the sort of flexibility it requires. Because trying to ask for it before you’ve snagged the corner office is a fool’s errand.
Most women internalize this thinking, not realizing it puts you at odds with the woman in the cubicle next to you whose walls are covered with smiling babies and kid birthday parties. That’s where the biased assumptions come from. If you’re telling yourself you can’t afford to have kids right now, it’s not unfathomable that you would apply the same scrutiny to her: What are her priorities? She must not want to get very far if she has kids already. Doesn’t she know she’s had kids too soon to get ahead?
Zaleski was once part of the problem, but admitting that is important, even if, on some level, it’s in the service of promoting her new company, Power2Fly, which seeks to place women and mothers in tech fields with jobs they can do remotely. But it speaks to something kind of remarkable about bias. One, women can undermine each other and internalize the patriarchal values that work against all of us. No surprise there, but it’s a reminder that we must identify and examine these types of prejudices within ourselves.