Why Society Must Stop Questioning Women On Their Ability To Balance Life And Work

I’m not bossy; I’m the boss.

These words, so famously quoted by the ever-flawless Beyoncé, speak to the myriad of young (and not so young) women who idolize her as a beacon of hope and guidance for their futures.

But, how can we build futures around being “the boss” when people, especially men, keep questioning female authority? In our day-to-day lives, we see, read and hear about the question of whether or not women can have it all.

Well, yes we can. The problem is just that not everyone else seems to think so.

Last month, Matt Lauer interviewed General Motors CEO Mary Barra. In his interview, Lauer mentioned that Barra has been called “the most powerful woman in the history of the auto industry” and proceeded to ask how she handles her concurrent jobs as an auto executive and as a mother.

No one ever asks Lauer if has trouble managing his job while raising his three children.

This should come as no surprise. After the announcement of her daughter’s pregnancy, Hillary Clinton was asked whether or not she could be both the president and a grandmother.

The questioning of a woman’s authority and place as a leader reflects the antiquated notions that women are too fragile, weak and emotional. That women only get to the top via sexuality and then do not know what to do with the responsibility they’ve earned.

Pew Research trends found that more than two-thirds of mothers work outside of the home and that many other women are able to balance the responsibilities of work and home life without the benefit of an executive salary.

There are hundreds of magazine articles pointed toward women that focus on how they can get the raises or corner offices they deserve. They offer dozens of tips on how we should act and what we can do.

But, we are not the only ones who stand in the way of getting to that new office. We must rid ourselves of the ridiculous notion that a woman cannot be in a position of power.

Women in the workforce have the same skillsets and work in the same positions as their male counterparts. Yet, they are often overlooked when it comes time for promotions.

Despite having the same levels of intuition, decisiveness, creativity or other qualifying skills, women are too often subject to the question of whether or not they can do their jobs effectively — or as effectively as men.

Yes, many women do choose their careers over family or vice versa. But, this is not the problem to be addressed.

Rather, the problem is that Lauer (and others) only ask women, not men, if they are capable of doing this. It’s not about whether or not women want to take on the housewife role; it’s that we are expected to do so.

Neither motherhood nor gender should be an automatic disqualification from a job. The balance of career and home life is a personal choice that women should make for themselves.

The myth of not being able to be both a boss and a mother is just another glass ceiling we must shatter.

The constant commentary regarding whether women are good enough distracts us from the fact that women are already doing their jobs and doing them well.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It