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3 Ways Your Husband Could Be Holding You Back Professionally

If you're in a happy, committed relationship, the last thing you want to hear is that your wonderful partner might be negatively affecting your career. For working women who are married to men, however, it's important to recognize the ways in which the marriage penalty can crop up, even for childless couples -- through no fault of your husband's.

If you’re in a happy, committed relationship, the last thing you want to hear is that your wonderful partner might be negatively affecting your career. For working women who are married to men, however, it’s important to recognize the ways in which the marriage penalty can crop up, even for childless couples — through no fault of your husband’s.

couple holding hands

(Photo Credit: michaelnpatterson/Flickr)

Here are some common problems:

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1. You assumed his career would take precedent over yours — and so did he.

Jessica Grose of Slate recently wrote an article reviewing a new study of 25,000 Harvard Business School graduates, conducted by Robin Ely, Coleen Ammerman, and Pamela Stone. Grose noted that more than half of male subjects said that when they graduated, they expected their career would take precedence over their partners’. Only 7 percent of Gen X women and 3 percent of Baby Boomer women said the same. This expectation certainly impacts women’s careers down the road.

2. Women often tend to take on more responsibilities at home than men.

Another takeaway from the HBS study was that both men and women strongly value “the quality of personal and family relationships.” Nearly 100 percent of those surveyed, regardless of gender, ranked this item as “very” or “extremely” important when interviewed.

However, in many cases, it seems that women continue to hold on to the majority of the responsibilities on the home front, even when both spouses are working full-time. Women often take on a managerial role when it comes to the household and the children. Moms stay home when kids are sick, and back-burner their professional responsibilities for the family more often than dads. Naturally, this impacts their careers.

3. He doesn’t understand what you’re up against.

Despite all the progress that has been made with the gender pay gap and other issues of gender equality in the workplace, women still are not receiving equal treatment in the workplace. Women are often underappreciated in the tech industry, for example. However, if you’re a man, you likely don’t have to deal with this form of bias on a daily basis. It’s easy to assume, then, that things have improved to the point where men and women are equal at work. For men who are partnered with women, the challenge is to see the world through their eyes, and offer support.

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How can husbands do a better job of supporting their wives professionally? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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