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Maryland’s payroll stats show women have options | READER COMMENTARY

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, at left, speaks with House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones during a bill signing ceremony at the State House in Annapolis on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Delegate Jones is the first woman ever chosen to lead a chamber of the Maryland General Assembly.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, at left, speaks with House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones during a bill signing ceremony at the State House in Annapolis on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Delegate Jones is the first woman ever chosen to lead a chamber of the Maryland General Assembly. (Pamela Wood)

The recent article by Jeff Barker complaining that women make up just 40% of the top-paying state jobs in Maryland was an interesting read (”Women aren’t making progress in landing Maryland’s top-paying state jobs,” June 17). However, it reminded me of an old saying about statistics: If you torture numbers long enough, they will confess to anything.

It is disappointing to me that Mr. Barker seems to think that 40% is not an amazing achievement, but rather some kind of failure simply because women make up half or slightly more than half of the population in general. That is nonsense. The major variable that is often left out of the equation is that, according to the Pew Research Center, 86% of women between the ages of 40 to 44 are mothers. Top jobs in government, medicine, law and corporate America require an extreme commitment in time, often 60 to 80 hour-plus work weeks. That kind of commitment is not conducive to motherhood.

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Many women, to their credit, elect to stay home and raise their children. Some, of course, do not have that option and remain in the workforce; many of them cut their hours back to part-time. Working a typical job with a 40-hour work week is taxing enough for working moms. The only way for a woman who is a senior executive of a Fortune 500 company who puts in 60 to 80 hour work weeks and travels extensively to have children is for her to farm out much of the “mother” duties to a nanny or family.

I’m not saying that such a woman is a bad mother, but many women just choose to be with their children before devoting their time and energy to a career. The maternal instinct is a wonderful thing that keeps the human race going. Forty percent is a major achievement, not a failure at all. Way to go, Maryland!

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Anthony Smith Johns, Upperco

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