Gender discrimination has been illegal for barely 50 years. Soon after the nondiscrimination law was passed, companies had to figure out how to address the gender gap and remedy the dearth of women in the workforce—especially in high-level career positions. Providing liberal leave benefits, on-site child care, women’s mentoring programs, and expanded recruitment channels were all typical steps advanced companies would take.
A constant question has been whether a woman can lead both a business and a family. Would she have to choose between a promotional schedule and a biological clock? Or would she opt for a part-time “mommy track”—taking time off to have a child and a reduced schedule to raise it while being relegated to a lower rung on the corporate ladder?