Is it truly possible to have it all? This is the million-dollar question for today's woman, and Helena Morrissey thinks she has the answer: a resounding 'Yes.'
The mom-of-nine, who also happens to run an investment firm in the city of London, has another very modest ambition: to “change history” for women struggling to balance a career and family life. The chief executive of Newton Investment Management aims to populate boardrooms with more women -- at least 30 per cent of them by 2015.
But the reality, according to research from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), is that many women are pursuing careers in lieu of motherhood when their marriage prospects are scarce.
"Most women don't realize it, but an important factor in a woman's career choice is how easy or difficult it is to find a husband," said Kristina Durante, of UTSA. "When a woman's dating prospects look bleak -- as is the case when there are few available men -- she is much more likely to delay starting a family and instead seek a career."
The irony: as a woman climbs the corporate ladder, become more educated or well paid, the less likely she is to find a mate. Researchers are calling the phenomenon a case of 'choosing briefcase over baby.'
But for Mrs Morrissey, who managed to have nine children while climbing the ranks to run a company that manages £50 billion's worth of assets, there was no sacrifice.
“I have nine children and I’ve seen first hand that it can be quite difficult to combine a career and motherhood,” she said. “I’d like to help other women, particularly those who decide to have a family that do want to have a fulfilled working life.”
Hence the 30 Percent Club, which Morrissey set up two years ago. “It was obvious to me we weren’t seeing much progress in terms of numbers of women at senior levels.”
We can only speculate as to the small army employed to support Morrissey, just as we can only speculate as to how much time and attention she is able to devote to each of those children.
While admirable, is her goal realistic? Can the average woman successfully balance motherhood and a career?