AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Revealing that you have a family: good for men, but bad for women?

Posted by szczcass on May 21, 2011

Having recently heard Sheryl Sandberg’s Ted Talk, my mind is racing with thoughts about the state of women, and men, today.

She offered three points of advice to women:

  • Sit at the table
  • Make your partner a real partner
  • Don’t leave before you leave

While listening to Sandberg, I immediately thought of my own office culture.

Just this last week, I sat on an interview committee for an open position. We interviewed three candidates; two women and one male. Of those three candidates, two were hoping to relocate to DC. The woman did not offer much of a reason, the male, however shared that his girlfriend had recently been accepted to a graduate program at Georgetown and they would be moving here this fall.

A colleague said something similar to this:

“You know, I almost feel like a woman should never reveal anything about their personal life in an interview. They definitely shouldn’t mention if they have children, if they are planning to have children or anything like that. But I have colleagues who actually take comfort in knowing if a man is married and has a family.”

The comment really struck me. The underlining thinking is that having a family is a positive thing for a man to share but a negative thing for a woman.

This is the type of thinking that Sandberg points out as creating challenges for women. Women should not have to keep their family a secret to advance in the workplace. Doing so only limits the opportunities we create for ourselves and reinforces the guilt and shame some women experience when they want to, or need to, return to the workplace.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: