Women Are Afraid Having Children Will Harm Their Career, And Duh

Study after study and article after article show women lamenting their inability to "have it all." It seems obvious that there's no perfect formula for juggling a family and a career, but that doesn't stop the fretting over the subject. According to a new survey, a large majority of women still worry about the impact having children will have on their careers. No surprise here.

Helena Morrissey, chief executive of Newton Investment Management and mother of nine children, commissioned a study called Project 28-40, named after the age group where women's careers stall compared to men's. The study polled 10,000 women on their views on work-life balance and found that 80 percent of women think having a child will harm their career.

80 percent of women think having a child will harm their career.

Leaving the workforce is something many mothers want to avoid. 89 percent still believe being a working mom gives them balanced lives and makes them better role models, but only one third of respondents believe there are equal opportunities for advancement for women who have children and those who do not.

The survey is still ongoing and hopes to have 100,000 responses by Thursday. Focus groups including younger women, older women, men, and business leaders will then explore themes that emerge from the survey.

Balancing a family and a career is far from impossible — after all, men have been doing it for centuries. So how can we make sure women have both a successful career and a family, without going crazy?

Workplace flexibility, childcare subsidies, and mandatory paid maternity and paternity leave are a good start.

"We have to redefine success at work," says Morrissey. "It should be judged on output, not hours put in." Workplace flexibility, childcare subsidies, and mandatory paid maternity and paternity leave are a good start. And if you do the whole kids thing with a man around, make sure he does the dishes sometimes — having it all also often means having someone to help you with it all. Slowly, people might finally realize women who happen to have children are only people who want to do what they love, and be good at it, just like everybody else.

Image: Dell Inc./Flickr