There is this assumption that if a woman doesn’t want to climb the corporate ladder it’s because:
a) she’s too maternal, she just couldn’t do it.
b) endemic discrimination (although there is endemic discrimination, it’s kind of sexist in itself to say that this would stop you from trying to climb the corporate ladder, even if it would affect how far you get).
c) she isn’t ambitious.
All of this assumes that in a perfect world we’d all be pursuing corporate careers and looking to be CEO or whatever. Well, for me, I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder, despite being totally non-maternal, badass, and ambitious. It just looks like a crap option. Although I’m sure making arrangements so that one giant company can merge with another giant company is less boring than it sounds, and if it’s your thing, all the power to you, but my goodness, is this what women (as a vast, monolithic category of people) are supposed to want?
Adding to that, the idea that ‘having it all’ involves being both a mother and having a career (the more corporate the better) is entirely depressing. Especially coupled with the fact that so few women can ‘have it all’ in this incredibly narrow sense (I should point out that many women DO in fact have very successful careers and a family, it’s just that those careers are outside the corporate sector and are typically undervalued but still incredibly awesome and hard work).
I say, screw those definitions. ‘Having it all’ would surely involve something beyond your obligations to others (your boss, your family) and into creating an awesome life for yourself. Your own way. Always your own way.