On Degree Hogging and Career Change among Women

To continue a recent post about going back to school, there is this unwieldy notion that women cannot be both fabulous moms and high-achieving professionals.

Recent research shows that caucasian women are having babies later, at 26 on average, and the number of moms over 35 has grown considerably in the last three decades. So why not have it all?

Still, I found it curious that the more educated a woman, the less likely she is to have kids. “Childlessness is most common among highly educated women,” the Pew Research Center claims in a recent study.

Nearly a quarter of women aged 40-44 with a graduate degree had no kids in 2008, the study says.

"Soviet women: be at the forefront of the nation's crusade to finish the fourth year of our five-year plan!" (Source: http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/archive/fullsize/1974%20sovetskie_cea8d79157.jpg)

Of course, the society might remind us that nobody wants a smart chick, the “bluestocking” intellectual, as a mate. Enough schooling already! It’s almost like once you register for class, a Hallmark invitation shrivels and explodes into tiny little pieces somewhere. Men are said to fear the ball-busting female. In professional and personal lives, smart alpha-type chicks have an unfortunate canine reputation, while similar men are just awesome leaders.

Perhaps those overeducated chicks are actually making a decision to have book babies, music babies, law firm partner babies. Full-time motherhood is also a choice, just as it is a choice to be both (Once upon a time there was no place for the empowered, nurturing female at all: Tolstoy killed off his Anna Karenina, as did his literary contemporaries).

Rather than a predicament of a graduate degree (“Oops, I was so busy studying integrated marketing that I’ve just completely forgotten to reproduce!” or “Talk dirty in Latin to me, or don’t talk to me”) these statistics signify a hard-earned choice.

Brains do not cause barrenness. It’s how a gal uses them.

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2 thoughts on “On Degree Hogging and Career Change among Women

  1. Interesting post. 🙂 I’m childless by choice and I made that decision long before I ever got a college degree. I admire people who have children, but I’ve always known its not something meant for me to do.

    • It’s wonderful that you made that decision so early on. Self-knowledge is key, even in our progressive society – otherwise we can easily get bogged down by fulfilling or dodging the expectations of others.

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