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June 12, 2021

Why women still can't have it all: study

There's a certain pressure, particularly on educated women, to take advantage of all the gains inherited from the feminist movement or, as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently broadcast in her book of the same name to "lean in," and enjoy both a career and a family. 

While it may be increasingly possible for some women to have it all, is that really a recipe for happiness? Probably not, suggests the Boston Globe, citing the work of Marianne Bertrand, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago.

Such women, by definition of having met both professional and personal goals, should report higher levels of well-being -- except they don't, Bertrand reports.

Among college-educated women, there's pretty much "no evidence of greater life satisfaction or greater emotional well-being among those that have achieved the double goal of combining a successful career with a family life compared to their peers who have families but no career."

In fact, in order from happiest to least happy, women with only a family ranked the highest, followed by women with a family and a career, women with a career only, and then women with neither, Bertrand suggests.

All of which should come as no great surprise, suggests Anne-Marie Slaughter who penned an article for The Atlantic last summer explaining why women still can't have it all.

In it, she outlines several ways in which business culture must change in order to provide better work/life balance for professional mothers.

She discusses how staying late at the office and working weekends must be adapted to accommodate working parents (both mothers and fathers) so they can work from home when necessary.

Employers must also consider time spent with children or fulfilling other family obligations with equal respect as time spent on other outside activities — like marathon training, community outreach or religious observances.

How well have you been able to balance your life? Has this made you happier?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...