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Women and Career Choices: It’s not what it sounds like

My daughter recently made a career choice I hope she never regrets. She left an accelerated leadership program to work in marketing as a senior data analyst. The first opportunity was preparing her for a smooth ride up the corporate ladder, so to speak. After five years of hard work and drive, she decided the executive office was not her thing.

It’s not surprising since many women wind up walking away from their careers before they see their full potential. Some have reportedly confessed that it was too much work, while others gave it all away to raise a family or pursue other goals.

A Forbes analysis that looked at the 500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies by revenue, found there were only 43 female CEOs (less than 10 percent) and 78 female CFOs (16 percent) in those positions. At a time when corporate heads have finally started hearing our rallying calls for more representation on top, we find that many women were really not interested in reaching that momentum.

I did what I usually do when it comes to my daughter’s life decisions: I minded my own business and allowed her to pave her own way. And no, I don’t burden my daughter with questions and innuendos about marriage or having children. I’ve always taught her the sky is the limit. This was all her idea.

Just goes to show you that maybe we’ve been looking at the wage gap and workplace gender inequality all wrong. Maybe there are women who are okay with laying low. Perhaps there wasn’t anyone ever holding them back. Maybe family and a simple paycheck was all they needed.

I just turned 52 years old recently. And as usual, I spent the earlier part of my birthday reflecting on the past. Where I was and where I’m going. When I look back at it all, although I’ve worked at some great jobs, fulfilled my career goals, and still look forward to progressing more in the future, my biggest success has always been having my three children. The best times of my life was when I chose to take a step back from work, refuse to go full steam ahead, so I can spend more time with them. And you know what? I have no regrets.

If my daughter, and other women like her, find the same type of joy in their choices, then I believe they’ve gone above and beyond any accomplishment any of us can achieve.

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