#WISPchat: What drives women to make sacrifices for their ambition?

#WISPchat: What drives women to make sacrifices for their ambition? Have you ever chosen between your personal and professional lives? Flickr: Sam Churchill.

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This week, we were thrilled to kick off ambition month by publishing a very special guest post. Great British Bake Off fans, still your beating hearts – because Kimberley Wilson, cool-as-a-cucumber 2013 finalist, told us her story. You can read it here.

Kimberley wrote about her own experience of ambition – deciding, as a teenager surrounded by people who hadn’t been to university, that she wanted to be a psychologist.

Any self-respecting Kimberley fan will know that she achieved her ambition. She’s a chartered psychologist who juggles private practice with managing the Holloway Prison psychology service.

But that’s not the end of the story – because for Kimberley, the flipside to her ambition was sacrifice. She wrote: ‘No ambition is realised without sacrifice; without time spent away from friends, family and children. And this is when things become difficult for women. What is legitimate for a woman to sacrifice in pursuit of her ambition?’

Now that, friends, is a good question. What are you willing to sacrifice in the name of your ambition? Social life? Free time? Good moods? A family?

It’s a question that will have plagued many women during sleepless, guilt-filled nights. But there’s another one they might have been asking themselves too. Why? Why do I have to make this choice? Why am I feeling so guilty? Why am I being pulled in two ways?

Kimberley's answer? ‘Social and biological edicts’ (that’s all those years in the library showing through). It’s invisible rules such as these that can tell women that without a family life, they’ve failed at womanhood; other women feel that they need a career to feel whole. ‘Women are therefore encourage to attempt both,’ says Kimberley, which leaves them feeling they’ve succeeded in neither.

What do you think? Why does ambition always come at a price? What is it that keeps women pushing themselves in two directions? Society, biology, self-imposed rules, a desire to prove that it can be done? Can we transcend these pressures?

Seasoned WISPchatters, new friends, unite: let’s talk. See you on Twitter, 2pm GMT tomorrow (Friday). Don’t forget to use the #WISPchat hashtag so everyone can keep up.




1 Comment - Add yours


I gave up some time with my Hubby back in 2004 when I departed for war torn iraq working with fellow engineers on their broken infrastructure. Only got home 2 weeks every 3rd month. Making up for it now though as we are in each others faces 24/7 him having got sick and became paralysed given up work and ambition at the moment to be a 24/7 carer. I will return though…ambition is not dead just taking a few years off.

By Angela M Cavill-Burch on 10 February 2014 at 11:36