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Sullivan, Local Working Moms Weigh In On Women In Workforce

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

June 7, 2013

Eighty UVa faculty members have signed a letter calling on school officials to respond to controversial comments made by Paul Tudor Jones about women in the workforce.

President Teresa Sullivan said she agrees that family and work should never interfere but it's a challenge millions of people deal with everyday.

One of those people is Jessica Norris, a Fluvanna County resident.

If you told her 15 years ago that she would have two kids and work out of her home, she wouldn't believe you. But now, she says she has everything she needs.

"Not only am I lucky enough to have a job in the field that I studied in, I work at home so I have the best of both worlds," Norris said sitting next to her one-year-old daughter, Olivia.

After seven years of graduate school in forensic science, she got a job at a start-up company which demanded 70-80 hours a week of work. With kids, she said that schedule would have been impossible for her, so she quit.

"Instead of being kind of melancholy about it and saying 'oh, how are we going to go down to one income?' I made an opportunity out of it."

And that's the part she says Paul Tudor Jones isn't seeing. Jones', a major donor to UVa and billionaire investor, made comments about women having children and leaving the work force which is why there aren't as many great women investors as there are men.

"More and more women are pursuing higher education so you have a lot of women who want to work but they also want to be able to juggle career and motherhood," Norris said. "Part of my job as a consultant is to go to universities and talk about job opportunities and a lot of women ask me how to juggle a career and motherhood."

With an increasing trend of both parents working nowadays and even men staying home to be with kids, Norris says it's the businesses who have to catch up.

"What you're going to end up seeing is that in order to become a competitive place to work, these companies are going to have to offer more than just the standard 6-9 weekends of maternity leave. Then they'll retain employees."


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