Work and babies
This long piece in the New York Times Magazine has lots of stuff about highly qualified women dropping out of the full-time labor force to raise their kids. The money quote doesn’t come until near the end.
the exodus of professional women from the workplace isn’t really about motherhood at all. It is really about work. … quitting is driven as much from the job-dissatisfaction side as from the pull-to-motherhood side….Timing one’s quitting to coincide with a baby is like timing a breakup to coincide with graduation
The changes in work that have driven a good deal of productivity growth here and in the US have required steadily increased work intensity. Particularly in jobs with little in the way of intrinsic reward (most of the women interviewed were MBAs or corporate lawyers) this inevitably generates burnout. Men don’t have the socially acceptable exit of child-rearing, but their participation in the full-time labor force is still declining.