This month’s Harvard Business Review article on the topic briefly mentioned a trend of women discriminating against women. Specifically, women who had had it tough when they had young kids, feeling as though more junior employees should have to go through that, too.
My hunch is that it’s a part of the broader tendency of some managers to think that the challenges that ultimately made them stronger should be passed on to the next generation. In my profession, the equivalent would be my thinking that because I had a tough articled clerkship, today’s trainees should have the same experience. This is an attitude that I have come across. I confess that it is also an attitude that I have found in myself from time to time. But I don’t think it’s the right approach.
Adversity may make those of us who stick around stronger, but it also has the effect of causing many people to take flight. In the law, my profession, there tends to be a flight of women lawyers a few years after admission.
I am very fortunate to work at a firm that actively seeks ways to accommodate and assist employees, of all levels, who are parents of young kids. I hope that more and more workplaces will do so.