Career Woman

Job or baby … you choose


Do women have to choose between a job or a baby?

A recent study by the Human Rights Commission has shown that “Almost 50 per cent of mothers have experienced discrimination in the workplace at some point during pregnancy, parental leave or when they returned to work…”.

So what does having it all really mean? Can it be done? Or is having both a family and a career asking for too much? The reality is, ‘having it all’ means something different for all of us.

While there is nothing wrong with having a family, a job you love and a passion to be fit and healthy (all at the same time), according to author Debora L. Spar, “something has to give”.

In 2013, Spar wrote a book titled “Wonder Women: Sex, Power, And the Quest for Perfection” and in an interview with journalist Jeffery Brown she revealed her experiences with family and work. She admitted that, while her children were young, she often missed various activities and events in which they were involved. She also said that women often have to let some priorities go in order for other priorities to succeed — even if it means a choice between missing one of your kids’ activities or cutting down your hours at work.

But how much harm is this doing? The Human Rights Commission study foundwomen are being discriminated against in the workplace when they become pregnant or return from maternity leave.

In an article titled ‘Ready to create a career and life that you love?’ Megan Dalla-Camina writes:

“… So many women find themselves in a daily struggle (or full out war) with the thought of ‘having it all’ – a fabulous career, a happy healthy life and perhaps even some semblance of balance thrown in for good measure”.

She has a point. But having said that, we do just have to sometimes take stock and try to figure things out our individual goals and paths. Dalla-Camina goes on to say “I am not here to tell you what having it all looks like – the answer is different for everyone. What I would love to do is help you discover what it means for you…”.

The Human Rights Commissions research found that the consequences of discrimination for pregnant female employees were “…keenly felt, with 84 per cent of women reporting mental and physical stress, and damage to their finances and career”, a situation that can be nothing but detrimental to both the pregnancy and the work productivity.

And with such discrimination happening in the workforce, the future for having it all seems bleak, with Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick noting that “…no sector is immune from this discrimination”’ and relating the experiences she had come across in her role.

“I think probably the worst for me was a woman that I met who was working in a male-dominated industry when she said to her manager that she was pregnant. The immediate response was ‘well, your choice, the job or the baby’. For that woman and her partner, they decided they desperately needed the job”.

However a woman defines ‘having it all’, it seems things will never be easy, with criticism and discrimination still being harsh when you try to balance work and life.

About Rowena Nagy

Rowena Nagy is a Journalist at The Business Woman Media. A graduate in Journalism, Media and Communications, she is passionate about in writing, travel journalism, video journalism and Public Relations.

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  1. Olana Gui

    March 27, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Yes, why not both. But learn to juggle. LOL

  2. Caroline P

    March 27, 2015 at 7:48 am

    This is going to still be a hard decision

  3. Etienne Fabrio

    March 27, 2015 at 8:14 am

    We should never have to choose in an exclusive way.


    Toney Steinbaugh

    June 14, 2015 at 1:56 am

    I’ve read some just right stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting.

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