It wasn’t until they both passed away that she was able to get her career back on track. Today, she is the director of operations for TeccSociety, an online platform and community of technology events managers.
“After so much professional chaos, I feel lucky to have found this. Now, I can finally focus on building my career. I just wish the workplace could understand the caregiving challenges women face. Kids are one thing, but with the aging population, my experience is going to become more and more common.”
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She’s right. Ten thousand people turn sixty-five every day in this country. By 2030, the AARP predicts the United States will need between 5.7 and 6.6 million caregivers to support the sick and aging.110 Who is going to do that work? Very likely, unpaid family caregivers also known as women.
Consider the next two decades. We have a tsunami of Millennial women who are about to become parents and who have been very clear that work-life balance matters to them. A significant portion of them will leave the workforce either because they have too much school debt and can’t afford child care or because they simply want and need to put family first for a period of time.
We also have a tsunami of Baby Boomers who are going to get old very quickly and need care. They are already leaving the workforce in droves. In fact, we are losing their talents and abilities at the rate of 10,000 workers per day. By 2026 nearly every Boomer is expected to have retired or died.111
What about the women who are currently overwhelmed with work and raising kids? If they aren’t already, they’ll soon likely be forced to take care of their aging parents too. What will happen to them? Like Sharon Marts and Liz O’Donnell, millions of them will probably be forced to leave the workforce. Is that what’s best for them and for our country?
Given all of this, it makes you wonder how we got to our current situation. In other words, how did the greatest country in the world become a place that makes it so difficult for mothers (and fathers) to thrive? I went back to my mother’s homeland, Norway, to find out.
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