In this TED talk Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, speaks frankly about the reasons why capable women often don't make it to the top. In her opinion it's got nothing to do with talent or even discrimination. It begins with the women's belief in themselves, their unwillingness to put themselves forward for opportunities especially when they are thinking about starting a family. "Don't leave before you leave" is great advice. She hopes for a day when her young son and daughter can equally choose to be successful in business and to be valued for their work in the family.
You may be very interested to read the Ernst & Young report "Untapped opportunity: The role of women in unlocking Australia's productivity potential". They come out very strongly in favour of women being able to negotiate flexible work arrangements, and the benefits to business for having flexible workers, particularly women working in part-time roles. Older workers, particularly older women workers, are often most interested in flexible working arrangements. This report could support your case in negotiations with your employer.
The broad business benefits of greater female workforce
participation are well documented. Women are a much needed addition to Australia’s labour force, not just making up numbers, but bringing valuable skills and diversity of thought. Now, new research from the Pulse suggests an additional factor: women
in flexible roles (part-time, contract or casual) appear to be
the most productive members of our workforce.
Women in flexible roles waste only 11.1%, compared to an
average of 14.5% for the rest of the working population. Given 43.2% of women in the workforce work part-time, compared to 13.5% of men4, this translates into an important productivity bonus that few employers recognise.