The Challenges That Working Mothers Still Face

Sue Shellenbarger has been with the WSJ for 30 years, her Work & Family column focused on the problems and potential solutions working mothers face. This week in her final article after three decades on the beat, she looks at what’s changed and what hasn’t for women trying to manage office and home lives.

Mothers in the millennial generation are more likely to be open about their needs and to receive a respectful response, especially in fields employing lots of women. And they no longer feel compelled to dress like men. (Thank God.) Colorful dresses and stylish separates replaced those boxy suits.
The soaring cost of quality child care rivals many families’ outlays for housing. Average child-care center prices have risen 26% for 4-year-olds and 29% for infants since 2009, according to Child Care Aware, a research, referral and advocacy organization.
The culture of long hours in some male-dominated industries is another powerful counterforce. Campus recruiters for tech companies tout such perks as free meals, haircuts and on-site chiropractors, enabling employees to avoid leaving the office, according to a 2018 Stanford University study of 84 companies’ presentations. Recruiters boast about employees having all-night hackathons and forgetting to sleep because they were having too much fun—a climate that working parents might find more chilling than charming, the Stanford researchers say.


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