The CEO of Xerox, Ursula Burns, is making waves with her career advice for ambitious women. As reported by the Wall Street Journal on March 21, Burns, who started as an intern at Xerox and rose to become the first African American woman to head a Fortune 500 company, was speaking to an audience at a Catalyst award ceremony. Catalyst is an organization that promotes women in the workplace. But the stunning thing is, she did not say something that young women today want to hear.
Her first piece of advice is to marry an older, successful man. That way, she says, he will retire and take care of the children while you can focus on your career.
Perhaps this was meant as a joke, but outraged working women everywhere are not taking it that way.
And, unfortunately, this sort of advice has been coming from female leaders lately, much to the disappointment of young career-oriented women. In 2011, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, told Business Insider magazine that, “the most important career choice you’re going to make is who your life partner is.” Sandberg has credited a large part of her success to her husband’s willingness to split housework and childcare responsibilities.