Why Do Women Let A Promising Career Go?

Last updated 4 Jan 2018 . 4 min read

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When I was young, I always saw myself working, like my dad, and earning for myself as an adult. A successful career was always my dream, but growing up taught me a new side of a woman’s career. I saw women around me dropping out of work for kids and families, refusing promotions to avoid work pressure and time commitment, leaving high-end well-paying careers to take up part-time roles to keep themselves occupied and take care of their families at the same time.

Why does everyone, including women themselves, look at a woman’s career as nothing more than a well-paying job to support family income? When there’s an opportunity to grow and progress, they are expected to let it go, for the sake of family responsibilities.

Marriage, motherhood, miscarriage or someone falling ill in the family are some common reasons why women leave their work and careers. They are always competing with the opposite gender for equality at work and managing the larger share of domestic responsibilities.

Why do women let a promising career go? Are they conscious about their career?

Even the most successful woman is not able to beat the societal mentality that considers women a weaker section in terms of physical and mental strength. The gender stereotype and prejudice deeply rooted in our minds always holds it against women who prioritise work over family. Even with better education and professional development, women often struggle to sustain a long-term career. Why?

A very high number of women drop out of work after having kids. In India and most other countries, women play a major role in childcare, and the household never takes a backseat even with work and kids. Only 18-34% of women (in India) continue work after motherhood; the remaining choose to be stay-at-home moms.

Another interesting, and equally surprising, fact is that Indian women who stay out of work return with an average gap of 11 months, while in most parts of the world such as North America, this gap is 2-3 years. Even so, the Indian workplace is not very accommodating to its female workforce returning to work. Safety is another major concern for women, and that’s why most avoid working odd hours or in roles that require frequent travel.

The working female population faces a difficult time to get into well-paying jobs, beating gender inequality at work. More number of women dropping out of work or returning to work after a long career gap accounts to less women in senior/leadership roles. But those who work hard towards a career are definitely serious about it, because:

  • They sustain and grow, being one among the few female workers.

  • They find a way to balance work and family in a world where work-life balance hardly exists beyond words.

  • They understand that slowing down or taking a career break won’t change their personal life; so they do not give up work.

  • The rise of women entrepreneurs is evidence that these women do not let their dreams die; when they return, they do so all prepared to succeed.

  • Compared to men, women have a relatively small window to establish themselves in their careers, and those who do so definitely deserve to be encouraged and appreciated.

Our country, and the whole world, is witnessing the growth of women as professionals and entrepreneurs. Employers are welcoming women back at work and giving them the benefits and flexibilities to manage work and families together. The change is here.

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Meetu Khanduja
Meetu is an HR professional, writer/blogger by passion and a social media enthusiast. She loves exploring new places and making friends. When she isn't working, she loves reading fiction.

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