Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And You Thought WE Had it Rough

I'm coming off a lovely week-long Florida vacation where I stayed (mostly) unplugged and did lots of great family things like biking, walking and reading and dove head-long into work yesterday. I was just having that return-from-vacation panic attack that results from a giant InBox, unreturned calls and more work coming in when I spied an interesting article in the Washington Post. Blaine Harden's article, With High Pressures, South Korean Women Put Off Marriage and Childbirth.

What a giant dose of perspective! Whereas on paper America has less comprehensive working mother benefits, after all we have FMLA (unpaid, after 1 year of employment, only for companies with more than 50 employees) South Korea provides a year of subsidized parental leave. South Korean culture, as described by Harden, shows a culture war of the traditional role of the wife and mother against the demands of working mothers.

Not all husbands, parents and in laws are perfect - not by a stretch- but for the most part I'm seeing working families pull together in a giant team effort. Pickups at my youngest son's noon dismissal preschool show scores of retired grandparents lining the halls. I strategically plan "Camp Grammy" during the last week in August when there are no summer camps to be found. Most fathers I know in the area do either pick-up or drop-off and the waiting room of my pediatrician's office, conveniently downstairs from our new Momentum Resources Washington, DC office, is about 50-50 women/men.

We have a long, long way to go in terms of women in the C-suite, supportive legislation and the Chore War going on at home, but I feel very thankful this morning for the women the blazed trails before us, facing the same cultural wars as South Korean women today, to make what I have possible. In honor of Women's History Month, thank you.

No comments: