Thursday 19 October 2017

The modern management of mature motherhood

The decision to have a baby in your 50s is big, says Sarah Caden, but it's bigger news if you're senior management

Parenthood: Laura Wade-
Gery, an M&S executive, is
going on maternity leave
Parenthood: Laura Wade- Gery, an M&S executive, is going on maternity leave

Sarah Caden

On Wednesday, the British stock exchange was alerted to the fact that one of the country's leading company directors was to become a parent. It wasn't a call to celebration or a baby shower, obviously, but a legally required warning, designed to avoid sending a share price into freefall with the sudden, prolonged absence of a key player.

The stock exchange and Marks & Spencer share price took it well when news arrived that from September, that company's head of retail, Laura Wade-Gery will take four months' maternity leave to welcome her first child.

Outside of the business of money, however, the reaction was more highly charged. From every side of the arguments came assertions that Wade-Gery's news shouldn't be a big deal. But from the passion in every side of the arguments, it was clear that it is. And no matter how anyone argued it, it matters that she's a woman, and 50. It matters that she's taking only four months' leave - regardless of whether you think that's plenty of time with a new baby or not.

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