The Lily: ‘I had to choose being a mother’: With no child care or summer camps, women are being edged out of the workforce
22 May 2020
By Caroline Kitchener
If day cares closed because of the novel coronavirus, Aimee expected her family to fare better than most. She worked full time as the chief executive of a tech company while her husband stayed home. He’d been taking some time off from his own tech career, managing a rental property while considering his options. He could look after their 3-year-old son, she thought — at least for a while.
“That lasted a grand total of three days,” Aimee said. (We have withheld Aimee’s last name and her husband’s name because of threats made against their family.)
Once her son was home full time, she realized they’d need a different solution. She was holed up in the guest room, wielding dual-monitors at her desk. Her husband was exhausted. “I can’t do it,” she remembers him saying: “I can’t watch him for this long.”
Aimee, 46, had been logging 70-hour weeks for years — and she was proud of the work she’d done. When she started her career in San Francisco, she was one of two women at a video game company, buying nondescript jeans and hoodies so she could be “one of the guys.” Eventually she came to run a company she co-founded, building open-source websites for clients like Stanford University. Aimee, who oversaw software development, co-led a diverse team of 13 employees. She was intentional about hiring women, minorities and others who challenged the stereotypes about Silicon Valley.
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