Becky Hammons was 36 years old when she decided to have her second child.

She had started working at Apple about five years prior, when she was 31 and a single mother to a 6-year-old. She was in the network and communications division of the research and development team, which she knew to be predominantly male. What she didn’t know or expect was how the men in her department would react when she was visibly pregnant.

How did you decide it was okay to get pregnant? one male co-worker asked her.

With that question, Becky knew what the man was really saying: Their work was their life, and for her to choose to have a child while continuing to work was desirable but terrifying all at once.

To her, their questions about her work performance became a challenge. Throughout the pregnancy, Becky continued to do her work efficiently and held her leadership role in her department.   

Catalyst, a global nonprofit that works with CEOs and companies to create workplaces that work for women, defines a male-dominated field as a field that is composed of 25 percent or fewer women. Those same industries are prone to falling into masculine stereotypes, and those stereotypes make it significantly harder for women to excel in the company.

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