Based on the eponymous novel by British journalist Allison Pearson, Sarah Jessica Parker’s new movie “I Don’t Know How She Does t” follows the trials and tribulations of Kate Reddy a thirty-something hedge-fund manager with a dutiful husband and two kids. The gender-based challenge of negotiating a double-life helps to drive the tension of the film. Kate’s struggle is that of working mother’s worldwide – how to manage the work-home dilemma.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s on-screen conundrum is not unique to American women and audiences. The challenges affecting her character also affect women across the globe. Russia’s Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova knows what it means to have a successful career and a demanding family life. Like the movie’s protagonist, Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova has worked in finance for several years, serving as Chief Financial Officer of LIVKOM, renamed SVETA in 2005. Larisa Leonidovna Drozdovaalso worked as an adviser to the chairman of the board at Russia’s prestigious Natsionalny Kosmicheski Bank (NK Bank).While establishing her professional career, Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova also managed to raise two children with her husband, Russian scientist Vladimir Alexeyevich Smirnov.
The day-to-day dilemmas of women like Kate Reddy, Sarah Jessica Parker (also a working woman and mother of twins!) and Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova are not new ones. Just as women’s roles have shifted, the general public is slowly changing its views about women in the workplace. In a 2009 study, the Pew Center for Research found that women comprised 47% of the workforce, up from less than 30% in 1950. The same study also reported that only 19% of respondents thought women should return to a more traditional role as compared to 30% in 1987. Hopefully opportunities for women will increase as attitudes and opinions about women in the workplace change.
In ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It”, top-investor Jack Abelhammer (played by the dashing Pierce Brosnan) offers Kate a choice work assignment. She can’t turn it down, but accepting the assignment will mean Kate will have to spend even more time away from her family. Kate, already distraught that her nanny is spending more time with her kids than she is, fears that her increased work responsibilities will make her a “bad mother.” But in the movie, as in real life, working mothers always find a way to “make it work!”