There's a new paper out that looks at what effect having children has on a scientific, academic career. From the abstract:
We find that women are less likely to take tenure track positions in science, but the gender gap is entirely explained by fertility decisions. We find that in science overall, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor after controlling for demographic, family, employer and productivity covariates and that in many cases, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor even without controlling for covariates. However, family characteristics have different impacts on women's and men's promotion probabilities. Single women do better at each stage than single men, although this might be due to selection. Children make it less likely that women in science will advance up the academic job ladder beyond their early post-doctorate years, while both marriage and children increase men's likelihood of advancing.
The blogosphere is in a tizzy over this. (Here and here for instance.) It seems obvious to me that what this paper is really about is that choices have consequences.
I can hear the whining now, but Evil HR Lady, it says that men advance when they have children and women don't. It must be sexism! Bah! It must be who they chose to marry. My husband chose to marry someone who was more devoted to family than career. Therefore, when my income dropped by 50% after giving birth because I chose to work part time and give up my management responsibilities, he was not surprised. By me being at home, I'm able to take care of more household responsibilities, freeing up his time for work. If women want their responsibilities around the house lessened so they can devote more time to work, pick the right husband before reproducing. Don't whine about it after it's too late.
It's neither sexist nor unfair. It's a choice. There are consequences. Take a deep breath and deal with it.