Working and Women’s Work.

Cross-posted from TAPPED.

The Washington Post has a great story today about the rise of female ambassadors in the past several years, a phenomenon called “the Hillary Effect.”

The end of the piece covers a sad truth I’ve written about before. Women who advance to such high levels in their careers often leave their husbands behind:

While male ambassadors are usually accompanied by wives, female ambassadors are often here alone. Of eight interviewed, four are divorced and four said their husbands did not accompany them to Washington because of their own jobs.

Part of what’s disturbing about this is the discrepancy in the marriage contract. Why do women follow their husbands when a job-location change would improve their careers but men don’t when their wives are moving up? But it also puts women at a disadvantage once they’re here: Those women don’t have as much help juggling children and home duties with work as their married male counterparts do.

While I’m going to assume ambassadors might be able to afford house-cleaners and don’t have to schedule in weekly laundry time, many high-achieving women who can’t maintain their husbands’ support have to balance the mundane details of child-care, dinner, homework help, and regular home maintenance in ways that can limit the number of times they can stay at work late, hang out with their bosses and coworkers for after-work drinks, join in team softball games and the other kinds of informal activities that can lead to formal advantages in the workplace.

  • It also seems pretty crappy from the pov of the kids. Which presumably is one of the big reasons why even ambitious women will move to follow ambitious men. WTF is wrong with the men that they won’t do the same?