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Balancing motherhood and a career (published in the ChiBus)

November 15, 2010

Balancing motherhood and a career

By Gila Tolub ‘11

Do you know what is the fastest growing segment of the US workforce today?


And because we know Chicago Booth students like numbers, here are some!

  • The number of mothers in the workplace has increased by 80% over the last 20 years
  • 70% of mothers with kids under three-years-old worked full time in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
  • Twenty-six million working mothers contribute greatly to America, representing many of this country’s most highly educated workers since women account for the majority of students in colleges and graduate schools

But being a mother in the workplace is not easy! The numbers show that being a mother while maintaining a career is more frequent but that does not mean it is simple… and we have more numbers for you!

  • Having children is very expensive…. Not only because of the diapers! Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of, explains that women without kids make 90 cents to a man’s dollar, while married moms make 73 cents to a man’s dollar and single moms make about 60 cents to a man’s dollar!
  • What does the U.S. have in common with Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, Lesotho and Liberia? These are the only FIVE countries with no guaranteed paid maternity leave policy…!
  • In the U.S., the percentage of people in favor of moms working full time dropped to 38% down from 51% in 1994 according to a Cambridge University research in 2008

This is why, this year, Mothers@Booth (M@B) decided to organize a series of panel sessions on the topic.

We have invited mothers from firms such as Accenture, American Express, Bain, BCG, Walmart, Wrigley, McKinsey and MillerCoors. Karen Parkhill, CFO of Commercial Banking at JP Morgan Chase will also be there! The main objective is for these mothers to share their experience, lifestyle, and the challenges they have faced as they have tried to balance motherhood and a career. We hope to show how they made it work: the support system they had in place (supportive husbands, dedicated grandparents or exceptional nannies) and the ways in which the firm they work for support mothers within the company (supportive management, flextime, telecommuting, time-off policies, etc.).

By hearing mothers from different backgrounds, industries, and firms who have found ways to balance a career and a family, we hope to show students there isn’t one magic recipe. But it is possible and there is an array of possible solutions; each mother should find the one that is right for her!

We also wanted to give a shout-out and congratulate three of the Class of 2011 M@B members! Besides keeping up with deadlines and homework, taking the time to study and attend endless study groups, putting effort into creating a polished paper, attending a few student-events and parties, networking and recruiting – and everything business-school students are busy with – these ladies started their second-year with a major additional responsibility: a child!

Lindsay Winn gave birth to Knox Henry Winn on July 14th, our very own M@B co-chair Dena Koren gave birth to Maya Jordan Koren, on July 15th and Jovanne Johnson Smith gave birth to Jonavan Andre Smith on August 9th. Dena and Lindsay ended up in the hospital together and sent a great snapshot.

Don’t forget to congratulate them!

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