Careers Working With Refugees


This book has focused on the demands mothers face in the workplace, but caregiving isn’t just about children. A large segment of the Women on the Rise survey shared they could have handled working if children were the only issue, but when their parents became ill, they couldn’t juggle the double burden.

Public relations executive Liz O’Donnell never paused to care for her children, but when her parents fell ill, she put her career on hold. In an article for The Atlantic, Liz wrote, “Working daughters often find they need to switch to a less demanding job, take time off, or quit work altogether

in order to make time for their caregiving duties.”108 Sound familiar? “As a result,” Liz said, “they suffer loss of wages and risk losing job-related benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, and Social Security benefits.”

According to Anne Tumlinson, a health care policy analyst and consultant who also runs a website called, “Eldercare requires a high amount of emotional engagement that only a family member can provide. It’s not a situation where economically advantaged women are spared. I know lots of very accomplished women with lots of degrees who have dropped out.”109

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Sharon Marts has been forced to create a “patchwork quilt” career, as she calls it she’s been a data analyst, a supply chain manager, a hospice trainer, a marketing executive, and an author because of the ongoing caregiving needs related to her parents. Both her mother and her father were diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The compounding effect of trying to deal with the needs of her children and the needs of her parents meant she couldn’t hold down a full-time job.

“It was too expensive to hire full-time help for my children and then different full-time help for my parents. So I ended up having to put my career on hold to care for them all,” she said when I interviewed her.

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