The grossly outdated stereotype that says a woman can either have a family or a career is DOA. Anyone who has ever met a new mom knows how strong, responsible and able to multi-task she needs to be in order to keep a tiny human alive — why wouldn’t she be able to keep a keen attention to detail in an office?
We spoke with entrepreneur and journalist Sarah Lacy about her new book, the aptly-titled “A Uterus is a Feature Not a Bug: The Working Woman’s Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy,” to learn more about erasing this bygone stigma and empowering women in the workforce and at home.
Lacy, as a Silicon Valley journalist, was subject to more than her fair share of abuse at work (and let’s be clear here — no one deserves any share of abuse in order to make a living) from men in the tech industry. But as she sees it, this toxic patriarchy has been in place for as long as the big businesses she covers have been in existence; it was only exacerbated when she became a mother.
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“When I had children, I was stunned because I had spent my entire adult life being told that having children would make me distracted and weak and a worse employee, and I would have to make all of these compromises,” says Lacy. “It was this biological distinction that would mean my years of high net-worth were behind me.”
So she decided to prove the patriarchy wrong.
“I couldn't believe the disconnect,” Lacy continues. “What explains the intensity and pervasiveness of this lie? What explains why we believe it, and what explains the reality I found on the other side? As a reporter, I wanted to explore all of those things; as a woman, I want women to know that this isn’t some death sentence.”
What’s the state of feminism in 2017? Good question — it means something different to every woman, regardless of her desire to have a family, or not. That said, “I’m 41 and most women in my generation haven't wanted to be considered only ‘feminists,’ or only ‘women’,” Lacy shares. “I would go to interview a prominent woman in Silicon Valley and if I were even to ask her a question about being a mother, about being a woman, or if she had encountered bias ever I would be thrown out of her office. Women of my generation who were pioneers of this industry didn’t want to be considered as women or support women, or to have anything to do with that narrative. Now, these same women are our most staunch and fearless advocates.”
She’s proud of her peers for finally taking a stand, blown away by how galvanized millennial feminists are, and can’t help but feel optimistic for the future. “Everything everyone has been saying for years about why millennials are so awful — they don't have a culture of paying their dues — that’s great!” Lacy beams. “Because the culture of paying our dues was exactly why women of my generation weren’t speaking out about stuff like this.”
“A Uterus is a Feature Not a Bug” is on sale from November 14th.