From the December/January 2012 Issue of Working Mother
It’s easy to wish we could just forget about the rest of the world and focus solely on our own backyard. But like most wishful thinking, this cocooning won’t fix our foreclosures or grow our job markets. Global societies are now intertwined like a family scattered across a large geography—when one relative becomes seriously ill, the rest of the family feels it.
In my travels for Working Mother I’ve been struck by the universality of working motherhood across various cultures and norms. South Africa’s mothers express frustration that their constitutional right to equal pay and promotion is good on paper but no good in the real world of jobs and entrepreneurship. In India, many moms at our conference said they want to break from traditions like living in their in-laws’ home but feel they need to stick to the old ways because alternative child care is unavailable. Chinese moms, most allowed only one child, are holding tight to precious moments of motherhood while working hard to improve their families’ financial prospects. It’s all soft echoes of what many U.S. moms have felt and thought through the decades.
Women everywhere ask us to bring our magazine to their country, so we’re working with our Swedish parent company, Bonnier, to bring our ideas to as many countries as we can. We will start in Indonesia, where a publishing group will create a version of Working Mother tailored to Indonesian moms but reflecting our philosophy of embracing the complex nature of integrating family and career.
Working motherhood is a global cultural shift. It’s always been a necessity in some societies, but now it can also be a life choice to embrace. As we celebrate various holidays around the world, let’s recognize the amazing changes in the fortunes of women around the globe. We still have far to go, but we’ve shifted the world’s axis in our direction.
I wish for you, your family and the global sisterhood of working mothers happy holidays a fulfilling new year.